Hey Persephone readers, I’m new here, so let me introduce myself. I am rosasparks. I am, among many other things a political worker bee, a frazzled, feminist mom, a lover AND a fighter. I spend a lot time at odds with the world around me and in serious thought about most of it. Recently, I have been contemplating a conversation I had with my daughter minisparks, which has me contemplating what it means to be a woman, a mother, but most importantly, what role society plays in raising children; daughters, especially.
A few days ago, minisparks mentioned something to me in passing. A friend of hers asked mini if she thought I was fat. The friend, according to mini, was saying this in all honesty and apparently, thinks that I am “˜VERY PRETTY, but FAT.’ mini said she said that she has never thought of me as fat and in her mind I am super muscly and have “˜big bewbs’.
I told her, in all honesty, that people have different definitions and opinions of body sizes and what is thin or fat and everyone’s opinion is their own. Furthermore, being “˜fat’, as her friend described, isn’t a bad thing. Being fat is no different than being blonde or tall or having freckles or anything else. We do not and cannot judge size as a plus or minus in a person’s physicality; it simply “˜IS’.
mini was totally fine with it and thankfully, she doesn’t appear to have any issues with her body, but man”¦my thoughts”¦
First of all, mini’s friend’s mom is quite thin. I don’t know her particulars, and frankly, don’t’ really care, but she has, on more than one occasion, talked about keeping her “˜figure’ and whatnot. My ma always says “˜from the mouths of babes’ and I always interpret kids having questions and discussions such as these stemming from what they hear from adults. Therefore, I wonder what the lady trying to keep her figure is saying or doing to her daughter; about me, about her child, about other women and their children, I could go on and on.
See, I am not stung, per se, by being called “˜fat’. In fact, I could give a shit. What bothers me is that being fat is perceived by these 8 year-old girls, as a thing for pause or possible negativity. Like being fat is a strike against someone and they should be concerned. But how did they get there? I know, personally, I have and will never say a thing about mini’s body to her beyond it being a source of strength and pride. We never discuss weight and most importantly, I try to NEVER say anything about my own body, negatively.
Y’know, I am sure to some, I AM fat. I am 5 feet tall and weigh almost 130 pounds. But I also clean 100 pounds and can haul 80 pounds sandbags. And I, even if I didn’t lift heavy weights, would NEVER be thin. I come from a long genealogical line of very curvy, short women. I was a professional dancer, for many years, and trained in ballet since I was 3. I have and will always struggle with my own body image. However, what I know my body is capable of and what I like it to do, so therefore, this is my body and I own it. THE END.
Adults have their baggage; literally and figuratively. But all that shit? It starts because of conversations like the one mini had today. Some adult, who as a child was left hurt and bombarded with negative body image, becomes jaded as an adult and their mindset then passes on to other young kids. Lastly, it cut to the core at the idea that pretty and fat are separate, as if a woman who is large can’t possibly be attractive or pretty. Never mind that, in totality, NONE OF THIS SHIT MATTERS, or should, to an 8 year old girl, or ANYONE.
I think about mini’s friend and all I can do is sigh. Then I think about the friend’s mother and think, “˜and so the cycle continues.’