This morning, the romance novel I was reading got me pondering. You see, I've gone back to reading romances with large heroines (the few that are out there).
I remembered as I read the heroine's thoughts about who she experienced other's perception of her size a discussion that popped up on Fat Bitches who Love Trashy Novels when I asked for recommendations of such books. In the discussion, there were those who got frustrated with the theme of the heroine thinking about her weight.
Now, really, this is not an unfair criticism given that we are talking about a genre in which the heroine is meant to be unnaturally plucky and resilient. Seriously, with the histories some of them have, they should be experiencing severe PTSD. But I was angered by the criticism as well.
Hot on the heals of "the paper based on smoke and mirrors" that I might have mentioned in my last post, I am reminded of the ways in which me and my body are seen. Although there has been an increase in the size of headless and faceless fatties whose pictures adorn such articles as the one in the Sun, I still understand that someday someone may put a stock photo of my ass up on the internet and voila! my ass could become a star.
My awareness of other people's reactions to me is pretty elevated. This happens when something is experienced as a trauma...and being stigmatized is traumatic. I think about it. I wonder what other people think when they see me with S. I wonder what other people think when they see me eating in public (something I do less now that I'm gluten free, sadly). I wonder what they imagine when they see me exercising.
I hate that these are always present for me, but I get on with my life. I am proud of who I am on so many levels, including the one in which I am learning to be proud of standing up for my body (I'm not yet at the proud of my fat, yet...that's in progress). So it is a relief, and a celebration, when I find a book whose heroine, like me, is aware of the stigma she faces for her size and keeps on living her life anyway.