Over the weekend I found myself watching the 2008 movie, Queen Sized, a high school dramedy about a plus sized teen dealing with body image issues and it took me down memory lane to my own run in with body Hitlers.It reminded me of an incident that happened about ten years ago and although I handled it like a boss (even if I do say so myself); it still stayed with me.
I was a cadet journalist at the time and we lived on campus at the training college so we spent most afternoons chilling and chatting. So as we’re having a great time giggling one of the girls we’re sitting with turns to me and asks: “Siya, how much do you weigh?”
The tone in the room changed and threw the entire vibe off. I looked at her and then took a real good look at her (you know that would you like to take that back before I send you to your ancestors look). I looked at the smug look on her face like she’d somehow made me come undone.
I laughed out loud as my friends reprimanded her for being insensitive and out of line but I looked at her and saw that her self esteem must be so in the depths of low that hoping to make me feel bad was probably more about her than me.
When you humiliate someone, the intention is to bring attention to what you assume are their flaws, that way that person can walk around feeling less special. I’ve seen this happen with people when they relate to plus size women. If they have nothing better to say about a plus size woman, they’ll easily gravitate towards commenting on her weight.
I remember listening to Highveld DJ, Anele Mdoda being interviewed a few years ago and she recounted about listeners and comments on social media and she found this when she had put them all in their place for whatever reason, their only comeback was “Well you’re fat.”
She laughed and said that there was nothing else that these people could say to her except point out something that’s so glaringly obvious as her weight.
It took me back to my own incident and had me thinking that what Anele said is true: “Ok so I’m fat, I’m glad you noticed. Now that we have that out of the way, can we engage like adults please?”
As I looked at the girl who asked me how much I weighed in front of friends and totally crossed a line considering we were never close. I really felt pity for her and realised that putting me down was her pathetic way of feeling good about herself and so I turned to her and replied with a smile: “I weigh as much as a baby elephant. Anything else?” She was floored and later apologised for her inappropriate behaviour but honestly it was so unnecessary in the first place that her apology was just meaningless to me.
It’s sad and pathetic that people think that by pointing out what they consider to be your flaws, it’ll somehow take away from your fabulousness. From that incident I took away two things, firstly you don’t have explain yourself to anyone. Secondly I learned that’s when you come across someone trying to steal your joy, remind them that honey, you’re queen sized and sashay away!