This week, I had a lesson in how valuable I am. From time to time, we say to ourselves, “I’m valuable. I’m important. I have something to offer,” etc. It’s easy to pay lip service to those affirmations, but it’s a whole different matter when we actually have to calculate our worth in real terms. Yesterday night, I was crunching a bunch of numbers regarding some of my business ventures and I realized that I had a good sense of my worth. I wasn’t asking “Who would want to pay for that?” Instead, I was asking, “Who wouldn’t?”
Not everyone has had the epiphany I’ve had though. It’s been well documented that skinnier women get paid more than heavier women and all women are touched by the gender pay gap in some way as well.
Freek Vermeulen explains:
Various studies have shown that overweight people are seen as less conscientious, less agreeable, less emotionally stable, less productive, lazy, lacking in self-discipline, and even dishonest, sloppy, ugly, socially unattractive, and sexually unskilled; the list goes on and on.* The stereotypes run so deep that even obese people hold these same discriminatory beliefs about other obese people.
It’s hard to stand up for what you’re worth as a plus size woman in the world. It’s hard to fight years of stereotypes, especially the ones we’ve internalized and had used against us. The saddest thing to me is that people with weight challenges do often hold these beliefs about others with weight issues. I know I too struggle with this and I have to check myself.
Today’s the day to really ponder what you think you’re worth. Are you short-selling yourself because you’ve told your body makes you “less than”? You’re important and valuable whether you’re a size 0 or a size 5X.
Also, don’t forget to measure value in more abstract terms too. Real dollars and cents make sense, but are you treated well at your work? Do you feel valued and important? Your paycheck may be adequate but the emotional cost of your work environment may be too much. There are some things money can’t buy, and one of those things is a happy heart and an ebullient spirit.
I think one of the most freeing things that can happen for anyone struggling with body image issues is to get to that head space where you have “zero f**ks given”. You’re just doing you. That’s the zero you ultimately want to achieve. Zero is not a size to achieve but an attitude to aspire to, where you know what makes you happy and you’re not allowing others to dictate to you what you should think and feel about yourself and others. So that’s the zero that I wish all people get to–not a teensy weensy size but a big, bold attitude of self empowerment and self worth.
Follow Actress & Producer Kristin West on her adventures, whether on a movie set, at a film festival or on her travels.