It’s amazing to me how much we buy based on our insecurity. We buy creams to “correct” wrinkles. We buy makeup to hide “flaws”. We spend money on all sorts of costly cosmetic treatments to beat aging. We buy into diet program after diet program to keep weight off, instead of dealing with the “why” of the weight.
I think all of this buying into what we “should” look like or how we appear is more than vanity. It belied a great amount of fear and insecurity–fears of over not being seen, fear of being out-of-control, fear of being judged and disrespected.
A few days ago, I was hanging out in a very tony area of Los Angeles, catching lunch between meetings at a casual lunch spot. Every fear I mentioned above got triggered. I noticed right when my plus size self walked in, it was like I was immediately out of place. It was like no one saw me. This area is high traffic for tourists, but there was no line after the lunch rush. I sat for at least 10 min before a waiter approached me and then another 15 min just to get the glass of water I had asked for. No one bothered to refill it. Meanwhile, the lithe couple that was seated next to me five minutes after I arrived were served with much more attentiveness. Newsflash: the svelte woman ordered the same food I did–veggie quiche and a lightly dressed side salad.
It’s hard not to feel out of place sometimes. I felt completely unseen at this lunch spot. Normally, this would be the stuff of Yelp reviews, but instead of dumping my anger on Yelp, I wanted to see where that anger was coming from. So here it is:
I fear being unseen as a plus size woman in the world. I fear having assumptions made about my self-care. I fear having assumptions made about my personal finances due to my size. I fear being made to feel out-of-place. I fear being judged for how I appear to the world.
Though I was angry at how I was treated, I am grateful because I took a moment to understand where that anger was coming from instead of just being another unhappy, indignant customer.
And…that’s why it’s so easy to sell diet culture to the masses. Most women are plus sized and they’re told they’re “less than”. We fear being left out so we buy into the useless pills, the cosmetic offerings of the moment, all to push back against that fear of not mattering. Just for today, take a moment before you whip out your credit card and ask yourself if you’re making a fear-based purchase, especially if it’s in regards to your appearance. What made your feel that way and why?
Separating women from their hard-earned money (pay gap and all) is a means of controlling women. Don’t let someone profit from your fear and insecurity. Walk through world, proud, no matter what…even when tony tourist spots treat you like shit.
Follow Actress & Producer Kristin West on her adventures, whether on a movie set, at a film festival or on her travels.