Fat Bottomed Girls, You Make the Rockin World Go 'Round

I want to talk about something.

A problem.

I want to talk about body positivity.

It is something I struggle with every day and probably will for the rest of my life.

I am not alone in this.

This struggle is multiplied by the fact that I am a woman with working eyes and ears.

It is then multiplied again by the fact that my chosen career path --acting-- is one that is obsessed with body image.

Let's be real. I am not thin. I will never be thin. This does not mean I am unhealthy or unattractive. Unfortunately, I have to tell myself every day that I am healthy. That I am attractive.

Every. Damn. Day.

And most days, I don't believe it.

This is not my fault. This is society's fault. Society does not show me women that look like me on television, or in films, or in magazines. And when they do it is "other". We are not the ones that fall in love. We are not the ones that get the happy ending. We are usually the ones cast aside to be laughed at, mocked, or ignored - that is if we're there at all. If we do play large roles we're probably the villain. This perpetuates the self image that I am not worthy of love. That I will be mocked for daring to look for happiness.

I am an actor. I am 28 years old. I have been called in to audition or been cast as a mother to someone my age (or close to it) as far back as high school. And that happens far more often than I get called in for or cast as characters that are actually my age. I have been told that I will not "come into my own" as an actor for several years to come. Why? Because I have large breasts and hips and somehow that makes me look older? I fail to understand this logic? I have had this body since middle school.

I am an actor. I think a talented one. I have never been offered roles many young actresses dream of.

After getting cast as the best friend, villain, mom, or string of messengers for years I told myself  "Oh you don't want to be Juliet" or "you don't actually want to play Belle. The other roles have way more fun". Which may in fact be true. But I was lying to myself to spare my own feelings from the fact that I knew I would never play these iconic roles.

I had a teacher in High School tell me that I didn't get the lead in the school musical because she needed to look young. I accepted this as good casting and moved on and prepared to play the mother of a girl a year older than me.

In graduate school at age 23 I was offered the role of Lyuba Ranevsky in The Cherry Orchard. A character at least twice my age probably significantly more. It is a wonderful role. I would love to play that role... eventually.

I was told that I was given this role because I could pull it off while my other (thinner) cast mates couldn't.

I was flattered.

(By the way... neither of these productions ever happened. Shocker.)

I don't starve myself or exercise excessively, but this is the point in someone's life where they pick it up.

Every time I get passed over for a role it might be because someone was more talented than me or better for the role... or it could be because I don't look like the standard of beauty that we have all so confusingly accepted. This in turn may effect their judgement of my talent and capabilities.

It certainly makes me question my talent and capabilities.

Every day.

Every. Damn. Day.

What would be so wrong about casting a big girl as Juliet? Please enlighten me.

Because she has to look young? Young people can't have boobs? Again. I've had these boobs since I was 13 (i.e. Juliet's age). In fact I was really struggling with them at that point. That would be a very interesting thing to watch Juliet grapple with on top of everything else. I can imagine her reading My Changing Body while her mother rambles about needing to find her a husband. Next.

Because she has to be desirable? Sure, society tells us that thin equals attractive and in order to get the guy, or be intelligent, or be anything at all really, I need to look like Claire Danes. If I were to base my self image solely on what I saw in the media, I would have a very low opinion of myself.

Oh wait.

But lets imagine a world in which Juliet is played by someone with curves. Someone fat. An average American girl. What would that look like?

I see it two ways.

I see no difference at all because she's a person and at our cores all people are the same. Her journey, her intelligence, her vast aptitude for love does not change because of her waist size.

But I also see a girl who never thought she would find love. A girl that never even thought of it as a possibility. That hid behind her books and intelligence because she never dared hope for anything else. A girl who would throw away everything for this boy because she feels like he is her only chance at love. Society told her that it wouldn't happen for her and it did. So she unconditionally loves the boy that finally saw her. Saw her not in spite of her body but because of it.

I was that Juliet.

I am that Juliet.

We all are.

Like every woman, on several occasions I have sat down to think about my insecurities and why they might exist. I can guarantee you that every single one of them stems from this issue. I'm tired of feeling as though its my job to fix myself.

Its not me.

When you don't show me girls/women/PROTAGONISTS that look like me I start to believe that I am not the protagonist of my own life.

When only the thin girl gets the guy, I begin to believe the same in my own life. For some people this means they will do anything to become the thin girl: starve themselves, over exercise, have surgery to alter their appearance.

I choose a different path.

I choose to fight.

I will exercise because I want to, not to look a certain way.

I will eat what I want and not apologize for it.

I will not be defined by the number in my jeans.

I will love my body because without it I am literally nothing.

I will speak out for women who don't fit into society's view of beauty because we are all worthy of love no matter your size or color.

I will love myself.

I will love myself because I am worthy of love.

I will love myself because that is the only guarantee any of us has in this world.


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