Plus Size Problems: Society Still Needs to Learn How to Handle the Big-Little Problem

Jaina Mosely-Lawson, Staff Writer

You don’t know me for real. I am insecure, but I am called pretty all of the time. I am a plus size fighter of the inner demon that floats on a constant cloud of insecurity over my head.

I walk and wonder if others are looking at my stomach or the rolls on my back. I criticize the way I walk and wonder whether the rolls on my side will fall out of the latest shirt I’ve bought. I walk and suppress the sickening feeling in my stomach.

However, most will never see this insecurity and self-criticism because, for me, it is important that I not show on the inside how I feel. I do this so I don’t seem weak or crazy, but in my head that is exactly how I feel.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, of course. There are many young women who fight this same demon each and every day, and have since the day they realized that society says skinny is beautiful. I feel as though I have known this since I first opened my eyes, and my ears first drank in those words of praise for the skinny girl, and witnessed the short end of the stick for chubby little girls like me.
I was poisoned into thinking that being small was okay, and that was the only way to be.

All over magazines and TV, we see women with small physiques prancing around and getting all of the attention. Contrast this with how plus size girls are shown on these platforms. all too often. These girls are, portrayed as people like Countess Vaughn, who played Kimberly Parker on The Parkers. Vaughn’s character was the funny big girl. Or they are straight up shamed like Mac Whitman, who played Bianca in the 2015 movie The D.U.F.F. (which means designated ugly fat friend). This film was nothing more than a shot at the girls who were not “bodily approved” by society — the ones you would never date.

When plus size girls who are in school, especially elementary and middle school, there is no end to the teasing and bullying they face about how big they are. It hurts. As a little girl I wasn’t the smallest person in my class and there was a girl who made it her mission to call me fat and make me feel ugly everyday as a kid being bullied can really mess with your mind. Even family members contributed to the issue by giving me nicknames such as heavyset and stomach. My family members didn’t mean anything negative, but it still hurt because I felt like anyone in my life ever looked at was my weight.

It is time that we do a better job of accepting people for who they are and encourage them to be happy with themselves. It is time that we celebrate all sizes, not just the one that has been celebrated for so long. Fortunately, this change has already started as plus size girls are seeing their needs met more when it comes to clothing and fashion.

In stores today, plus size clothes are becoming better and trendier. In film and on TV, we see more positive representations of actresses like Gabourey Sidibe and Danielle Brooks. These plus size women appear on popular shows and in blockbuster movies that show the real us– big girls going through life, facing challenges and overcoming them.

While society still has some work to do when it comes to acceptance, we are making strides toward becoming more understanding of the different bodies that exist and accepting that each is beautiful and worth celebrating.