Feminism | Posted by Dani R on 04/29/2013
I thought I would stop being defined by my weight after middle school. When it kept happening, I thought, Okay, maybe after high school people will leave me alone. Again, I haven’t been so lucky and something that happened today only emphasizes that. While this incident is hard for me to repeat, I want everyone to know that even as an adult, I am still defined by my weight.
I went to the Pin Up BOOtique today in Ontario Mills, California and I spotted a really cute halter top that I wanted to try on. I asked a girl working there if she could get it for me in an XL and she said, “It runs small, so it’s not going to fit you.” I told her I wanted to try it on anyway. When she brought me the shirt, I went to the girl working the register (a different employee) to ask her what the price was. She said, “The XL is more like a medium. It runs small, so I can take it for you if you want,” and then reached to take it from me to put it back. By now, I was really frustrated, but still wanted to try it on. In the dressing room, a third employee (and the rudest of them all) looked at me, then the halter, and said, “It’s not going to fit you. You’re too big.” I told her that she doesn’t know my body and If I want to try it on that’s my prerogative. But she yelled — in front of a long line of people behind me, no less — “It won’t fit.”
Clearly, those employees weren’t all worried about helping me find the right size. This wasn’t about the shirt. They were all judging and shaming me. When I refused to accept their judgment, one even got angry enough to yell at me. Thoroughly embarrassed, I walked out of there as fast as I could because I could feel the tears flooding my eyes. I met up with my mom and sister, who hadn’t been with me, and went to Torrid to find a top instead, where one of the employees asked me what was wrong. Then I couldn’t keep from crying and told everybody about how the employees of the first store had treated me. My mom and sister went back to the first store to rip them a new one while I sat on a bench in the mall, embarrassed and crying. I couldn’t help but think that that very morning I had just been talking to my mom about being bullied about my weight for as long as I have been on this earth. A friend and I had even left high school early to home school because people were too mean to us.
Now, I still just want to cry. I’m trying to deal with it and the store’s owner found out what happened and reached out to me, but I just don’t know what to even say. While I feel shamed and defeated right now, I want people to know how unprofessional those employees were and how this still happens today. I hope sharing my story makes others out there feel less alone if this has also happened to you. I hope it shows how fat-shaming still happens all the time.
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