Overcoming a social stigma: the better in being bigger


Photo by Sydney Steed

Story by Brianna O'Shaughnessy, staff writer

The blank stares and awkward, dirty looks. I am used to it. I get it, it is not acceptable to look this way. I am the pale and slightly overweight; the horror of every stereotypical fashionista in America. I do not fit into the category of a normal teenage girl. My pale Irish skins tends to reflect certain colors, my curly hair is a weird brown color, my height is average and I am (yes, maybe regrettably, openingly admitting this) overweight. I promise you it is not by choice.

I hear what is said, whether you know it or not. The little jab of insults–I’ve learned to deal with it over a period of time. Granted, I’m not directly bullied, however, I do catch those little remarks. I’m not oblivious to the comments, the looks, the gasps.

Growing up in a society so focused on being that idea of the ‘perfect’ girl, I’ve found that it is easy to be demoralized and do the same to others. The stigma attaches and feeds itself on plus-sized girls.

Society is forcing us, the female population, to grow up knowing we will never be good enough.

Knowing my clothes cost more because of my size. Knowing people doubt my abilities because of my size. Knowing people look down upon me because of my size. I’m fifteen, and, yes, I honestly wish I could be an average sized girl.

I tend to be apprehensive when going to try on dresses. I’m afraid to find that one that is beyond perfect, and I have to deal with the fact the sizes stop one or two below what I wear. I don’t have to deal with that for just clothes, it’s other aspects of life too. I’m constantly afraid that people will judge me and won’t accept me. It’s not just being afraid of judgement it’s the fear of assumption.

Fashion has put, and enforced, the flaw of being plus size to the point where it is unacceptable. It wasn’t always this way. Fashion icon Marilyn Monroe was a size 14, which is now considered plus size. ABC news did a report in the beginning of 2012, stating that the average “plus size” model is between sizes 6 and 14. Only a decade ago the criteria was 12 to 18. I’m in awe at that fact that people wonder why I have no confidence with statistics like that.

However, I am embracing what I was given, and my size is part of that. If you are not accepting of that as my physical  flaw, I’m sorry. You have to embrace yourself before you can go on with your life, I know this first hand. I did not write this to change your opinion on “bigger” people, but to let everyone know what it is like, from the perspective of someone my size.

I found that through every problem with me not being “skinny” enough I’ve found an equal number reasons to be happy. Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve managed to overcome the problems. I just realized I am the way I am. There is no changing me. I can try to battle these metaphorical demons that are sent my way, but I’m happy the way I am. I somehow found this confidence. All I know is I am happy, even though I’m not perfect.

Just remember that the next time you say something about someone’s weight or size, it is more than just your entertainment at stake. There are plus size people who are, in my opinion, pretty chill. Don’t think “ew,” because that is not what you would think if they were “normal.” If I can be taunted and still have a little confidence left. I know it is within you to do the same.

“I wish I could tie you up in my shoes make you feel unpretty too.” Sometimes that line plays in my head when I have to deal with the fact I won’t always be accepted. Although I have more pluses in my life than I do negatives, literally and figuratively. My life is a plus. As for this pale, plus size girl, all I have to say is regardless of your stigma, don’t forget to be awesome.