By Dinna Vasquez
I just watched a video where plus-sized YouTuber Elayne Peddy talked about her four-day trip to El Nido, Palawan which she described as the “worst four days of my life.”
According to Peddy, she was called everything from “fat” to “black monkey” in the four days that she stayed in the island.
Groups of people would turn to look at her, pointing and laughing. A vendor selling souvenirs held her stomach, laughing and saying, “Fat, fat, fat.” Tricycle drivers charged her double because she was fat.
Peddy said she went to Metro Manila and Cebu where “everything was okay.” It was only in El Nido where she felt bullied, although she said she didn’t want to use that word.
The video is very difficult to watch. I actually couldn’t finish it because I wanted to hug Peddy and tell her, “It’s okay. You are beautiful.”
Peddy and her friends went to El Nido because they heard so much about the beauty of the place.
“It was like being in paradise,” said Peddy.
However, she was not able to see El Nido’s attractions because during the day, she preferred to stay at the hotel than being laughed at outside.
As a plus-size person who has been overweight all my life, I know how Peddy feels. I’ve learned how to ignore children pointing at me while giggling and saying, “Taba, taba.” I avoid family reunions so I don’t get sassy with titas who will point out that I’m overweight.
Truck drivers will stop to point out what is obvious: I’m fat. Many thin people seem to be under the impression that fat people don’t know they’re carrying extra pounds. We do. We just don’t feel to need to apologize for it. In fact, when I take the UV Express vans, I volunteer to pay two fares, not one, to avoid unnecessary and unwanted remarks.
So while watching Peddy’s video, I knew she wasn’t exaggerating or lying while telling her story.
Earlier this week, actor Wentworth Miller was the subject of a fat-shaming meme showing his Prison Break photo next to one of him with extra pounds and the caption, “When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald’s monopoly…”
Miller went on Facebook to explain, but not in the way body shamers expected him to.
“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be. And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.”
The photo of Miller wearing the red shirt was taken in 2010.
“Now, when I see that image of me in my red T-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without. Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist. Anyway. Still. Despite. The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is strength. Healing. Forgiveness. Of myself and others.”
Yes, fat people like to eat. We take up more space. But we’re also human and most of us try to be productive citizens, we’re just heavier.