There are a lot of men (boys) who think it’s acceptable to comment on women’s bodies. I’m going to share this story to help bring awareness.
A group of co-workers were standing in a circle talking when one guy said “I hate this place and all of the people here.” I reply with “I like everyone here, well… mostly everyone” looking straight at him as if to say that I liked everyone, besides him.
A little backstory… anything this individual has ever said to me has been negative, rude, or downright disrespectful towards women. This time (instead of staying quiet) I put it out there that I’m not his biggest fan.
He then says, “You think you’re better than everyone here, don’t you?” I responded with “No, just better than you.” I was smiling ear to ear, but I look back and think I may have misspoke because I don’t think I’m better than anyone — but you better damn well believe my parents raised me better. Of that I am sure.
He got so twisted over it, that he proceeded to ask me if I was getting fat. I laughed.
It’s funny because I am usually too busy getting skinny-shamed (yup, it’s a thing). “Eat a cheeseburger” and “You look unhealthy”, so this was a new one for me. First I’m too skinny and then I put on ten pounds and suddenly I am a cow, moooo. So, I decided to tell him that I put on a healthy ten pounds and then I walked away. I didn’t call him names, I didn’t bother stooping to his level. Why not? It wouldn’t do anything for my character except make me feel just as immature.
I felt empowered after that happened. He has called several co-workers fat in my presence before, and now me. How was I so happy after being put down? It doesn’t make any sense — or does it? His intent was just that — to get me down, but why give him that satisfaction? He hated my smile at that moment. He wanted to make me feel inferior, intimidated even. He would have felt better about himself if I had turned bright red and stayed quiet. This time, I did not. I love my body enough to not allow him or anyone to impact my opinion of myself. I have a whole girl gang behind me that supports me and that’s all I need.
What makes me so disappointed about people like this is the fact that had I been feeling a little insecure that day, maybe it would have affected me in a negative way. What if I wasn’t in a good mood? He very well may have gotten the rise out of me that he intended to. What if he had said this to someone who may have developed an eating disorder, or worse — self-hate. Though I know words are just words, that doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want. It’s called being a decent human. For those who think bullying is for kids, I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Some people never do grow up.
The good news: there is something we can do. We can choose to be the bigger person and not allow their words to affect us. Instead, we should take it for what it is — someone trying to steal your shine because they are blinded by your radiant light. To be clear, I am nowhere near perfect and I can’t always follow my own advice, but you can bet that I try my best every single day and my hope is that I inspire others to do the same.
Surround yourself with other girls that make you strong and lift you up, they are important! In case no one in your girl gang told you today, you’re the shit. Need a powerful movement to join that supports women of all shapes and sizes? Check out this café with a cause and become a warrior for change like I did.