“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.”—"Wild Geese," Mary Oliver (via commovente)
For fat women, being stylish isn’t a luxury. It’s often a necessity to get hired, to get access to healthcare, to get treated like a human being.
Fat women have all kinds of narratives about sloppiness, laziness, dirtiness to overcome. Sometimes heels are a crucial part of looking “put together” in a way that sufficiently convinces people that we care about ourselves, that manages to counteract pervasive cultural narratives that fat people don’t care about ourselves. That we have “let ourselves go.”
Being “put together” is part of the way many of us convey to a judgmental world that we are worth caring about.
I get treated completely differently at a $20 hair salon if I’m dressed up or dressed down. Two totally different experiences. I get treated differently at the doctor’s office, and at the emergency room. I can’t go to the ER in sweatpants, because I’ll get shittier treatment. In an emergency, I have to worry if I am dressed up enough to prove that I deserve respect and care.
I have heard comments like those referred to in this article SO MUCH in the last few months since I cut my hair, mostly on YouTube, the home of 12-18 year olds.
The ones that confuse and hurt me the most are like this one I got last week: “Love your videos, will be back when you grow your hair out.”
Uh, ok? My hair doesn’t affect what words come out of my mouth, dude? But he can’t see me as anything else, I guess. Guys like him tune in because I’m attractive to them. Without long hair, I’m not attractive to them. Ergo…goodbye. The substance of my work doesn’t matter because my looks are the only context they have for me in their lives. And that makes me sad, because I’ve always tried to be more than that, without screaming it in people’s faces.
And it makes me sad for THEM actually. Because with that attitude towards women, they might be missing out on meeting an awesome girl/woman for themselves in their real lives. But we exist in a culture that only treats women as paper doll cutouts we can get aroused/attracted to. Our media does that to us, men do it to women, women do it to other women. I mean, how many animated GIFS of women are reblogged on Tumblr for their WORK rather than a dress they wear or a pretty pose? It’s an interesting question, one that even I might have a bad record with.
So part of me doesn’t even blame those YouTube guys. But it does make me want to show them that there are other ways to be, even if they cut me out of their online video lives, I still exist as who I am, out of their very rigidly defined parameters of “female-dom”. And maybe that’s enough. Just to BE.
Think I’ll be keeping my hair short for a long time.
“Girls are trained to say, ‘I wrote this, but it’s probably really stupid.’ Well, no, you wouldn’t write a novel if you thought it was really stupid. Men are much more comfortable going, ‘I wrote this book because I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear.’ Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you’, you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’”—
Lena Dunham, in an interview with The Guardian (x)
“Sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re in love or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive. I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer blind luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something.”—Unknown