OPINION: It’s hard being a fat girl in a Barbie world

Maleigh Crespo, Design Chief

When you are a fat girl living in a Barbie world, every day is an uphill battle. Your head is constantly swarming, and self-loathing is all you know.

But when the loathing is over, draw yourself a bath. Slowly settle in, and let your body get used to the warmth. Drop in a bath bomb. Feel the breeze on the tops of your thighs. The cold air hitting the parts of you that the water doesn’t cover. Pull them close to you. Sit there, arms wrapped, head on your knees.

Look at the dove etched into your ivory soap. Feel the soft fibers of your washcloth against your skin, as the soap and water create a soft lather. Begin to scrub your skin like it is the icky, brown gunk at the bottom of the lake you visited as a child. Scrub as if you are peeling back the layers of your body, and you start to shrink smaller and smaller. Scour away your stretch marks and your “extra.” The extra that does not fit in the bathtub when all you want to be is submerged.

And as you sit in the bath, consider what life would be like if you were thin, the freedom you’d have, to be able to eat whatever you wanted: sweet tea with no Splenda, unlimited breadsticks from Olive Garden. There’d be no more sugar-free jello cups or fudge pops. You could drink a Coke and feel no shame.

To be thin is to be shameless. To wear a bikini and not feel the stares and glares of society sitting in beach chairs. To go on a date with a hot guy and not be asked if he’s your brother. To go to the movies, order popcorn, and want extra butter without being asked, “are you sure you want extra butter?” To have jeans that fit. To order any and everything on the menu. To actually eat “all you can eat” at an all-you-can-eat buffet. To not have a constant calorie calculator in your head. To be thin is to be beautiful.

When you are fat, you are not beautiful. You do not have such luxuries. You have oatmeal-colored Spanx and cottage cheese thighs. You have weight loss ads and metabolism pills. You have entire stores that do not carry clothing to fit your ugly. You have doctor’s visits that never fail to diagnose you as fat. You have severed belt loops and hip dips. You have a whole genre of jokes tailored to your excess.

When you are a woman and you are fat, you’re hilarious. The comical relief. When you are a woman and you are fat, you’re a world-renowned vocalist. The belly of the ball. And it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings. Except, you are the fat lady, and you have yet to sing. It’s not over. It’s never over when your body is the punchline of every joke. When being fat has become the only thing you are known for. When being fat means the only talents that you can possibly possess are the abilities to crack a joke or hum a note. When you are a woman and you are fat, you’re a preconceived idea that the world has claimed as truth. Nothing more than a body that takes up too much space. When you are a woman and you are fat, you are matter that does not actually matter.

You are the one no one sits with at lunch, the supporting role in all the best movies; second best, the one no one ever remembers. You’re never the “hot girl.” You’re the funny one. You will always be the funny one.

And they say, “big girls need love too.” As if being fat means you shouldn’t be loved already.

This world is not tailored to fit you. There aren’t enough bolts of fabric to fit your surplus of a body. But you are more than just a body.

So when your bath bomb has fizzled away, and your skin has begun to prune, watch the water drain beneath you. Feel the cold air against your soggy, wet skin. Dry yourself off, and feel the moisture escape your body. Look at yourself in the mirror, and heed these words:

Dear fat girl, do not let your circumstances be because you are not small. Do not let your size define you. Don’t let it hinder your happiness. Stop seeking validation from the mouths of predators when you are their prey. You do not owe them anything, so you eat whatever the fuck you want. Devour it. Lick the plate clean. And if they ask why, tell them because you want to.