A Big Girl Rant: Its MY Body… MINE!

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I was standing at the bus stop last Saturday wearing a new pair of jeans. As I glanced at my reflection in a store window, I realized that my new jeans were about a size too big and I needed to exchange them. As I thought about whether or not I still had the receipt a strangers voice interrupted my thoughts.

“Girl, stop looking at yourself in the window– you look fine!”

I looked over and a woman I’d never seen before in my life was staring at me, “YOU LOOK FINE!” she said again. I never know how to respond to strangers yelling at me, so I stayed quiet. Of course, she took my silence as permission to continue talking to me, “you look like you’ve lost a lot of weight, ‘cuz your jeans are REAL BAGGY in the leg area! GOOD FOR YOU!” she said, then she gave me a wave and crossed the street.

I think one of the most annoying things about being a bigger girl is that people think its okay to comment on my body. Men think its okay to say “Hey Big Girl!” instead of “Excuse me Miss…” Friends think they can grab your love handles or back rolls… I’ve had strangers stop to ask me what size I wore because they were “shopping for a friend” who’s around my size. I even had a coworker who would refer to me as “Big Sexy” all the time. Um… why couldn’t I just be “sexy”?

I can’t prove it, but I also think people touch me more because I’m big. I worked in retail during college and I found that customers were constantly reaching out and petting me, nudging me, etc. it was very strange.

Its almost as if because I take up more space than other girls, people think I’m suddenly public domain. I’m not!

Its MY Body… MINE!

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14074012631767609430 KMM

    In my experience, people nearly never touch me because of my weight. On buses, people will stay as far away from me as possible, sometimes even getting up and going to an empty seat once the bus clears out. I think that these are generally the two extremes for larger people in public areas: either people try not to touch you at all or they touch you in socially inappropriate ways as they wouldn't touch anyone else.

  • Samantha

    Wow, people really ARE rude in NYC!

  • http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com vonnie

    people are weird in general. my best friend is a size 6 and she gets stuff like that too. People feeling entitled to ask her what size she wears, comment on her long legs (she's 5'10), constantly hearing "damn girl you tall!", reaching out and grabbing her or touching her. I get public comments too and i'm a size 12, so I think people feel entitled to give WOMEN infringement into their privacy. isn't it freaking annoying?

    http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

  • http://rurealiamplus.tumblr.com/ Adrienne

    I am curious to know if the women is a plus size women? If so I wonder if she felt that it was her job to help reassure you, as if she was doing her part to support a characteristic that is typically not supported in society. However, this is a interesting insight you have on your body becoming public domain. For the fact that everyone deals with weight from their personal perspective and sometime they can project their feelings, thought, actions on to others that might resemble something that they may or may not see in their own life

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00191250739548524094 steph gas

    @samantha – people are no ruder in NYC than they are anywhere else. there are just more of them in a smaller area, so you encounter more people every day… more chances for interactions. the stereotype that new yorkers are rude is just that – a stereotype. sadly, only new yorkers seem to know that.

    i feel that people i don't know generally seem less inclined to touch me. however, my friends and i are a touchy feely group – lots of hugs and hand holding, stuff like that – so i don't know that i could say they touch me more or less than our thinner friends.

    however, i do feel that generally some people have much less respect for personal space. when i lived in new york, most new yorkers have a decent respect for your personal space – they don't crowd you unless they need to, like on a full bus.

    i now live near the tourist capital of the world, and not all cultures have that same idea of 'personal space'. when waiting on line at a store, they think that 2-3 inches – i am NOT exaggerating – is an appropriate distance to leave between my ass and their body. my husband is fond of stretching and *almost* hitting them to reclaim his space.

    i'm not sure what the point is. only that new yorkers aren't all rude. and that some people from different areas and different cultures have different views on touching strangers. i don't think it has anything to do with our size – large or small.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14894388430526839795 Janelle

    I've dealt with both…either people will stare at your problem areas and say nothing or they will comment as if they know you and have the right. I also live in NYC but it's happened to me outside of the city as well. It sucks.

    I agree with Vonnie. I don't think it's so much as they comment on big women or small women. They just comment on women and, honestly, society through television, movies, music and magazine have taught them that they have the right.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08524904005724917076 NIKKI JO

    I actually work with a girl who is about my size who goes by the nickname "Big Sexy". She even has a tattoo of it!

    I used to work in Lane Bryant, ALL the time I would get "Yeah, she's about your size." Gee, thanks.

    And Samantha, yes people are rude here. Which is why not everyone is cut out for living here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00191250739548524094 steph gas

    i hate to hijack the thread, but new yorkers are no ruder than anyone anywhere else. having been lucky enough to live in different parts of new york, as well as different states, i can say that i have experienced more rudeness from floridians than i have from new yorkers. the same way that it's wrong to assume big girls are just lazy slobs – it's wrong to stereotype new yorkers as rude.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17320984660362547600 Amanda

    I think it all boils down to a lack of respect for people in general. Whether they stare or touch, say something or don't, it is all out of personal gain. There is a selfish side of those comments that many cannot see. Like what was her point to tell you that you look fine? Did it bother her that you were pretty and looking at yourself in a mirror? That is what I want to know, what is that inner feeling that draws out these comments and unwanted attention?

    I am from Florida born and raised and each place has its own culture and way of living. I could not tell you how many times an older lady or gentleman has made comments about my weight to me. I just brush it off and move on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15862955873491545349 Carolina Girl

    I've been to NYC several times to visit, and I'm a deep fried southern girl. New Yorkers have always been SO nice! It's the visitors that are rude. I love New Yorkers!

    And yes, I agree. No one should comment on your size or touch you like that without permission. It's common courtesy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16020630690921276813 the Constantly Dramatic One

    And oh don't forget when during holidays aunts and uncles feel free to comment on how fat your still are and won't you lost all that weight already?

    Its our bodies, not frickin public properties. Assholes.

    Sorry, just have lots of anger. Just found your blog, love it and I wear a size 16 Australia so I know what I'm talking about.

  • http://viethewonderingnomad.wordpress.com/ Vie

    Oh, how I feel your pain. It is annoying as fuck that people make the assumption that because you're larger, you automatically have lower self-esteem than average, or, dating-wise, that you're more desperate. Au contraire, in my case. But even if it wasn't: it is absolutely NOT their business.

  • http://howverylucky.com Lucky Girl

    I can't speak for the inappropriate comments of a handful of idiots, but if I had to guess, lovely CeCe, you are touched by others because you are a touching person. Not to be confused with touchy. Your glow, energy, effervescence, spirit, kindness, warmth, joy – people are attracted to that. Like a moth to flame. Except you, my dear, don't burn them.

    That said, your body is just that, and no one has the right to touch you when you don't wish to be touched. And telling them so is well within your right. As long as you don't kick me to the curb when I come running with hugs for you :-)
    xxoo
    LG

  • Single Much?

    Sister, I feel ya!!
    Blogged about something similar myself.
    http://singlemuchny.blogspot.com/2010/01/pretty-fat.html

  • Teasha

    Before I graduated High School, people would love to sit beside me just so they could use my arm as their personal pillow! It was so uncomfortable for me, I would stiffen up and just feel awkward for the entire class. All they would say is “You’re so soft! Like a teddy bear or something!”. Maybe they thought they were complimenting me, but I just found it to be annoying.

  • http://mealgasm.blogspot.com Christine

    New Yorkers are more likely to speak their minds freely. The funny thing is, I think she thought she was giving you a compliment!