It is amazing how many people think my fat body is their business. It seems that no matter what I do, someone has an opinion and it usually starts with “should you…?”
“Should you let your hair get long like that? Older women keep their hair short. Oh, you should lighten it too.”
“Should you wear that striped dress? Stripes make big women look bigger.”
“Should you wear leggings… I mean with your thick thighs?”
“Should you wear the that sleeveless top? I’d be afraid to show off my arms like that.”
“Should you eat that?” (Or recently when I was in the mood for sushi and got 2 rolls with a few pieces of sashimi for lunch: “Should you eat all that?”)
We fat folks often find ourselves the recipient of unwanted advice from people who make assumptions about what’s best for us when they are far from being experts. Like former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Cheryl Tiegs, who recently criticized Ashley Graham’s appearance on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue saying “it’s glamorizing” full-figured women and that Ashley’s “not healthy”. Cheryl may be an actress, entrepreneur, designer and author but she’s neither a doctor nor psychic. However, even though she has no knowledge of Ashley’s health, it doesn’t keep her from making assumptions and asking “Should you be putting a size 16 model on magazine covers?”
Where was all the concern about health during Cheryl’s heyday when models literally starved themselves or resorted to methods like eating cotton balls or snorting coke to remain thin?
It’s not easy to stand up to those who have an opinion or make assumptions about your body. It took me a while to get the confidence to look at people like that in the eye and say “Yes, I should wear a striped dress because I love the way it looks on me” or “Yes, I should eat all that sushi because it’s what I’m in the mood for” or “I’m comfortable in leggings and sleeveless tops and, if you don’t like looking at my big arms or legs, there are other things to cast your eyes upon”. Because no one should tell you what you should do with your body.
So here I am, with my long, dark, curly hair wearing leggings and a t-shirt that someone actually suggested would better suit a woman younger than my 53 years… not giving a shit about what you think I should do.