Don’t tell me how I am supposed to feel
In this heterosexual, sexist and racist society women of color experience multiple oppressions simultaneously. Something that I have suppressed that I would consider to be discriminatory and oppressive is how women who do not fit the “model type” body are treated in our society in a negative and “positive” way. I will explain this further. What I mean in the negative way are the typical negative comments or looks that explicitly send messages that are oppressive to people who do not fit the “model type” body. I would call these people fatphobic (people who are scared to be fat). But what I find even more interesting is how people can be oppressive when they claim to be “nice”. So, I am pretty confident to say that if you are voluptuous you have that friend who says “I am so fat” when they are not. That’s one example, but what is even more interesting to me is how men and women can assume that you have a low-self esteem because of the way you look. Excuse me, you don’t know my life. Don’t assume I have a low self -esteem. Or impose “positive” comments like “you are so beautiful”, “be more confident, you are so pretty” about your appearance because they think you need to hear those kinds of comments. Yes, these comments are “nice”…but don’t assume I need to hear them because of how you think I feel about my own body. You are just perpetuating the idea of meeting the beauty standard. Don’t impose your westernized, racist, heterosexual comments of affirmation towards me. Lately, I have been more conscious about how people view and think specifically about “overweight women”, and I have decided to analyze further and deconstruct all these beauty standard ideals that we have in our society. Although I have lived with this stigmatization, it has been just recently that I have been able to deconstruct all of this and have come to the conclusion that we as people that do not fit this “model type” body should be able to walk, dance, have sex, love and be loved like any other fucken human being! Lately, I have also been reading about just because you do not fit this body type, does not mean you deserve to be loved any less. Standards and expectations are held at the same level. Don’t expect me to be less of a woman or my body to be an exchange for your shitty acts as if I was a product that needs to be traded in for the same value. This goes way deeper than I can explain in words. I think is also very unfortunate how even women who do not meet this “model type” body have this internalized beauty standard ideals. How they define their beauty through men by stating, “well, I can get dates”, “I have a boyfriend”. Our male identified partners should not define our beauty. We are just holding them to that position of power. And hearing the argument of “is so unhealthy, is about being healthy” ok, there are people who are fucken skinny and are so unhealthy. How are we defining healthy? So many people drink and smoke and that ain’t healthy, are we holding them to the same standards? No. The politics of the body teach us that certain bodies are treated and viewed differently than others. That our oppressions are carried in our bodies. Well let me tell you, your oppressions are way heavier than my weight. We can loose the pounds, but can we loose the oppressions?
Julia Gutierrez was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. She earned her master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She served as an adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) and at Oakton Community College in Skokie IL. She is currently preparing to move to Arizona to pursue her Ph.D in Gender Studies at Arizona State University in the School of Social Transformation.
♦ ♦ ♦