Long ago I went into this store to buy a new outfit. Once I got in, everybody stared at me as if I was in the wrong place. When I said that I was looking for a pair of jeans and a shirt, one of the staff girls scanned me and pointed out how sorry she was to inform me that they did not sell clothes for people my size. After that, I went to other stores and discovered that if I could find a pair of pants size 12 (that really looked like a 10), I should be thankful.
When I made it home and talked about my awful shopping experience, the only advice I got was Why don’t you hit the pregnant women’s store? You might find something there that fits you. That was the icing on the cake. I cried nonstop for hours. That was the day when I started hating my body, developed self image issues, and was on the verge of developing an eating disorder. I was only 15 years old.
Fat people get no love, at least not in this country, and if you are a woman, it is even worse. When I had the chance to live in North America, I was amazed to see how diverse people were and how almost no one was being judgmental about the way others looked like. The first time I went into a shop, I felt like I was in paradise: clothes were classified according to women’s body shape and height! There were clothing lines for petite, curvy, slim, and plus sized women. How awesome is that?
In Colombia, there are two ways to classify a woman’s shape: either she is skinny or fat. There is no place for grey areas. When I returned to our tropical nation, I was called fat after three years of being part of the so called curvy girls group in the Great North.
I asked Americans and Canadians who hit the gym and had healthy eating habits, what their real reason to exercise and eat right was. Their answers were that they wanted to reach an advanced age without health problems. I asked the same question here and I came to the conclusion that people are scared to death about gaining weight and being rejected because the only ones who love fatties are their moms. I even met a 10 year old whose mother was proud of her because she was on a diet!
I read once that for every top model there were hundreds of girls who were like me. That is probably true, but as long as the media and their standards keep on telling women how they should look, we will continue living in a Colombian society where people’s worth (particularly women’s) is measured by the size of their pants.