An Ode to the Men Who Fat-Shamed Me and to the Men Who Think Covering Up Prevents Fat-Shaming
This is dedicated to the men who have fat-shamed me in some belief that they “understood me” through my “eating habits” as well as the people in my Muslim community who believe that “covering up” prevents fat-shaming.
You look at my face, my covered hair, and my posed elbows
Watching as the folds of my lavender scarf fall upon my colored bosom.
You glance at the chiffon covering the curves of my butt,
and at the long legged jeans that spread to the creaks of my ankles
and leak into the black high-necked shoes exaggerating the slender size of my feet
You gaze at the loose garments that gently cover the curves of my hips,
The ones that, when the wind exhales and movement staggers, reveal
an imperfect hour-glass figure,
And the waist tightened by a black thin belt that falls in slant to my jeans.
You gaze at my well-formed teeth and squint through the sheer fabric
that falls upon my defined collarbones and half-covered veins that spread its fingertips across my neck
You gaze at my white face, and mixed color eyes
One perhaps blue from the covered skies
and one perhaps green from the trees that cover the contours of my cheeks
and wandering mind.
And you turn to me, face full of earnest eyes and dedication as a Muslim man looking for “his woman”
Determined to “pick the highest quality”
After all, you must raise the Muslim family, the Muslim children.
“You aren’t my body type,” you tell me,
Grinning and winking as if it’s a secret joke
“But we’re still friends, right?”
To the Man who told me in high school that “I looked like a Muffin”,
May the ever-improving Muffinesque body of mine find someone whose radar of which person deserves love and affection
rises above culinary understanding of women.
To the Man who told me last week that my body wasn’t “good enough”,
May the definition of “good enough” rise higher than the standards defined of five year old children who, upon entrance to kindergarten, were handed red and green apples,
Peeled and cut to hone the compassion of children to surpass that of apple peels.
To the Man who told me my waist wasn’t small enough,
May the ideologies and fantasized photos of Disney Princesses and Ice Princess figures that, if placed into scientific proportions, would crush the woman,
Quickly die of inability to stand and breathe in the depths of your fetishized mind
And disturbed need for sexualized perfection.
Even though the strands of my modesty are everclear
and depicted through the long garments covering my shoulders
And the curls of red hair,
it seems that my figure as a Muslim woman will not be “good enough”
How many times will my thighs, touching and curved, be swiped at
By Men judging me as if a cow awaiting slaughter
or as if a pig on display to be touched and handled by passing shoppers?
How many times will I hear the insistence,
“No no, we want a covered woman!” but then follow with,”
But I also want a woman I’m attracted to! After all,
It’s a part of making a family!”
Because it seems like we want our cake baked, eaten, and served to us on a golden platter,
Of course by the a woman,
dressed modestly and covered,
but sexy enough to arouse the natural “male desire”.
It’s only natural that a man must want a sexy woman,
But a woman who of course is “modest”.
Whose right is it to look at my body,
Especially since my very choice to cover it
was a metaphorical middle finger
To those placing first place ribbons and pedestals of “trophydom” on sexified bodies?
A child whose early sport was martial arts and,
even through the struggles of plastic bags of doritos and bright colored advertisements,
maintained an early status of a woman who grew up fighting
A woman who was taught to brandish sai knives, bos, and tomfas in class
A woman who had no shame of learning judo and taking top levels
A woman who placed third in her division within the nation
and a woman who was taught that her female body parts were no marks of her fighting ability,
it is not the status nor the privilege of a man to depict her health status,
her choices in life,
and her priorities.
Rather it is mine to say that a man who depicts a woman’s body as the fairgrounds for sexism
is one who places himself on the confines of animalistic farms
Ever consumed by butchering a woman’s self-esteem
and tanning hides of egotism
in the shades of golden-touched bronze and brightly colored blush.