I saw them before they saw me. The guys across the street. When one of them glanced at me, my little gauntlet began: he nudged his buddy and pointed his finger at me. There were six of them in total and all of them were probably still students. At that moment I just felt exposed. Of course, thanks to my 125 kilograms, I attract attention everywhere. I'm used to the looks of others. But that day I wanted to hide in some corner until the boys left. That I felt this way was due to the way I looked - I'm sure of it. I was only wearing leggings, rubber boots and a thick coat. And I was without makeup.
I heard the first "moo" when I went to the side of the street. There was no way I could avoid them. At some point I just tried to run a little faster and then I heard more “moo” from her corner. Their calls got louder and louder with every step of mine ... until they finally burst into laughter. Even when I escaped into a shop, I could still hear her laugh.
Most visibly fat people have been harassed on the street at least once in their lives. Some people call us “fat sluts” when we claim we are taking up too much of the pedestrian walkway. Others make grunting noises when they drive past us. Comparing fat people with farm animals is apparently still a real thigh-thumper - it doesn't matter that it's not particularly original ...
But then there are also those for whom verbal harassment does not seem sufficient. They show their hatred of people like me with full physical effort. In doing so, pushing past me and pushing me is still rather harmless. But with all the chicane on the street, one thing struck me personally: I am less likely to be harassed when I have apparently taken care of my appearance.
Even if I wear bright red lipstick or a thick layer of foundation, my face is still fat.
Similar to our clothes or hair, make-up also acts as protective armor. An aesthetic barrier that ensures that we feel confident and secure. But the fact is: Even if I wear bright red lipstick or apply a thick layer of foundation, my face is still fat. The only difference is, this type of fat is more sociable. She communicates to others that I take the time to make myself pretty in order to be a little more like those who would otherwise call me a “fat bitch” or who would indicate that I “let myself go”. I try hard for them. I adhere to the social ideals of beauty. Well, at least in part.
With this awareness of the world we live in, I decided to start a self-experiment. I wanted to stay without makeup for two weeks and see how people would react to me (and as a mother of two, makeup has always been a time-consuming factor for me anyway). After these two weeks I was able to draw a clear balance: I was much more often bullied or insulted by people on the street.
It is perfectly normal for some people to offend others because of their body weight.
First I had this incident with the teenagers on the street. A few days later, I went to the park with my daughter. And while I was playing with her on a soccer field, a man ran past me and just called me a "fat cow". And a few days later, in a bar, a woman called me a "fat man" for bumping my bum. People who know me personally and to whom I am important also asked me if I was okay because I look so tired and drained - just because I had no make-up on.
Of course, all of these incidents could have happened with make-up. That's the way it is with fat shaming. It is perfectly normal for some people to offend others because of their body weight. But it's amazing how often I heard such sayings during my experiment. Society divides us fat people into two categories: the good faties and the bad faties. The good ones show that they want to lose weight. Maybe they'll post a photo from the gym or tell everyone they're trying a new diet. Sometimes they also show it by taking extra care with their looks, just so that they aren't seen as ugly, undisciplined, or sloppy.
Of course, people like me should try to take a stand against the fat phobia. But first and foremost, we have to take care of ourselves and our psyche. If you'd rather ignore the comments to feel more secure, then that's your right too.
But I found my own attitude even more interesting than the reactions of others to my appearance. I was surprised at how insecure I felt without makeup. It wasn't about the question of whether I am “beautiful” or “valuable”, but rather I felt like a target.
I know the fault is not mine but with society and their hatred of fat people.
Some days I can just shake off the insults or even confront the culprits with them. But sometimes I just want to wear make-up. I could work from home, not seen by anyone, but still put on my make-up. Just. For. Me.
But there are also days when I can't deal with so much setbacks. I know the fault is not mine but with society and their hatred of fat people. Nevertheless, I don't want to have to deal with it then. And maybe I'll even put some blush on so they'll leave me alone.