Tonight, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, occasionally clicking on a headline I wanted to read, when I came across a particularly disturbing headline. It was at the bottom of the article I had just read and a few other articles were “recommended.” There was a picture of a young girl and right beside it the same girl as an obese adult woman. The headline stated that she was now a “hideous creature.” Wow.
Instantly, I felt a stabbing pressure against my heart. That could have been me in those pictures. It could have been a number of women I know, none of whom I would ever begin to describe as a hideous creature. They are caring, loving, successful women who are wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters.
My own struggles with obesity and self-esteem all came surging to the surface for a brief moment. All the tears, rude remarks, disgusted stares, and feelings of unworthiness again fought for my attention. The men I’ve heard say to me, ” You’d be a nice looking woman if you would just lose weight” echoed in my mind. The refusal of my ex-husband to be seen in public with him because I had become an embarrassment to him ripped through my heart. Watching in my mind a replay of a man at a dollar store hold the door open for the slender blonde woman in front of me, then let it slam in my face, and it was a man from my own church. Remembering an awkward conversation with a gentleman from my church coming into my office to tell me I was fat and needed to lose weight. And then I became angry.
In a society that strives to include all races, nationalities, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations as being equal and worthy, how is it that it is still acceptable to be rude and hurtful to fat people? How is it that it is OK to make a person’s weight the subject of jokes and insults? How is it that a person’s worthiness can be based on the number on a scale? How is it that there can still be headlines describing a woman as a “hideous creature?” Why would any woman be described that way?
So many times I have asked myself these questions with no acceptable answer. These things happen because the word respect has no meaning to a large majority of our society. Overweight people are easy targets because we are so humiliated we rarely strike back. We just want the insults and embarrassing moments to be over. People laugh at all the “fat” jokes, encouraging comedian’s to tell more. Well folks, it’s not funny, and it hurts.
No matter what a person’s size, weight, or shape, they are worthy of respect and love. Our hearts are not immune to painful words. All women are beautiful and deserving of kindness. We are all God’s children in an imperfect world that keeps trying to mold us into a perfect, unobtainable image. We all have love within us just waiting to be accepted by someone else.
Ladies, if any of you ever doubt your worth, let it be only a fleeting moment. Remember that your beauty and strength runs much deeper than a headline. Your dignity cannot be destroyed by the insensitivity of the ignorant and immature. Get angry, get excited, get motivated to stand up for yourself! You are a child of God, and you are worthy.