"If I breathe in public for five seconds, it’s also common that someone will feel the need to tell me, “YASSSSS!” in an attempt to cheer on my fat Black femme existence like I’m a damn animal learning how to be housebroken. People love to be voyeurs of fat Blackness, and inadvertently become more problematic by trying to “yasssss” us through anything we do. Our mere survival is read as motivational to all those witnessing our existence, and it inspires everyone who’s not us because they’re actually partaking in the subordination of our humanity. Our humanity and beauty are seen as less than thin able bodied-ness, maintaining a hierarchy even when we receive these empty-ass compliments or praises. It only reaffirms that our dehumanization validates your safety." -Ashleigh Shackelford
Not even 24 hours after reading Ashleigh's full contribution: “Fuck You, Pay Me: Reparations for Fat Black Bitches and Everything We Provide” to Wear Your Voice Mag from whence the above is excerpted, I experienced this very microaggression.
Like many millennials, I have a handful of online dating accounts and/or apps. This morning I awoke to a message from a faceless profile lauding me for my daring to be confident in my pictures. He says, “I love how proud you look in your photos. Good job!”
Sir, excuse the fuck outta you! I wasn’t aware that I was doing a job by existing in this fat, Black, femme body. And since you think I'm doing such a damn good job, fuck you, pay me! I normally would clap back and read the aggressor for filth. But I didn't even have the energy, so I just blocked him. Existing is exhausting for a fat, Black woman, girl or femme. And some mornings, you just wanna get up and get ready for work without verbally handing someone their shit.
The above excerpt is so spot on. My very existence is used as either motivation porn, or is disavowed and shamed. I can't just fucking be. A thin, White woman wouldn't encounter the same type of commentary, because her being confident, comfortable and proud in who she is is normalized. Meanwhile, the fact that I would have the audacity to take a few pictures of myself, look happy and secure and post them on a dating site is a feat in the eyes of our society. FOH with that bullshit, fam.
My existence isn't a parade for you to clap and cheer (or jeer) as I walk along living my fucking life. It has taken a lot of pain and heartache to get to where I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually with myself and the space I occupy on this earth. Even now, at my heaviest (the number is none of your damned business), I am at my most confident. I feel beautiful, sexy even--whaaat?! I am 98.9% comfortable in my skin, I have a clean bill of health from my doctor as far as you are concerned (minus these muhfuggin allergies and asthma), and it ain't none of your business who is in my bed.
My weight in pounds, my chart at the doctor's office, and who "dares" to sleep with me is none of your concern. But if you want so badly to laud my existence as me doing a good job being my gahtdamn self, cut me a check; run me my money, heaux!
I don't have much else to post here right now, as Ashleigh did a beautiful job summing up my very sentiments. But I'm sure I'll write on this subject again.