When I was in college we read an article called, "Unpacking the White Knapsack," and it was about all of the aspects "white" Americans take for granted. In it, she makes a list of various assumptions white, upper middle class, heterosexual Americans can make. Some of them are...
"I am never asked to speak for all people of my racial group."
"I can choose bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin."
"I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to my experience of race."
This is what went through my mind today while standing outside of the drama room listening to 20 teenagers repeatedly sing the same bars from "Thoroughly Modern Millie" as my crazy coworker paid me what she thoroughly felt was a compliment.
So... I was walking back to my classroom, minding my own business, when a my crazy coworker made the ever so obvious statement, "You're still here?" Because I am tired, I will update this story later with several tangents about previous encounters I've had with this woman.
"It makes me so happy to see you and (insert name of other colleague here)." I was thoroughly confused, because I don't know her very well, but I have almost nothing in common with this other colleague, and I am very rarely in the same room with her.
"My husband has this daughter who is very fat," she began, "and he is worried that she will never amount to anything." Okay, I am thinking...
"But you have a job, and are successful and are getting married. You found a man who loves you, so there is hope for her, too." This is the point where my jaw drops. Am I really having this conversation? Did she really just tell me that she has hope for her fat step daughter because I am a successful individual? Perhaps I misunderstood. That's a big NO folks. I understood perfectly.
She continues... "You are such a good role model for these twiggy girls. They need to interact with people who are different from them and realize there is more to life than being skinny." Hmm. This is the point, I think, where I might have teared up, if I had enough respect for this woman to care about what she was saying..." She must have noticed the expression on my face, though, because then she launched into a five minute diatribe about how this is a compliment. After all, her favorite aunt probably weighed 600 hundred pounds, and she was the neatest woman ever. She kept telling me not to be offended. I finally just walked away. How does a person respond to that?
First of all, who walks up to a person and says that??? Second of all, I might be a little overweight, but not debilitating so, and I have certainly, in my life, overcome adversity FAR greater than finding a man who loves me for my wit, charm, intelligence and beauty.
So with that, I speak on behalf of all of the fat girls out there...
You are capable of being educated, professional, successful adults.
Men (Or women... I don't judge) will find you attractive for your beauty, inside and out.
Busybody coworkers will find ways, subtle or not, to point out your imperfections, despite the fact that they are at least two pants sizes overweight themselves, are married, and have the same job you do...