Reading the title above, you probably think I’m being overly sensitive. Same old accusation – what else is new? But let me walk you through what most of us chubby people always have to hear every Lebaran, then maybe you can understand where I’m coming from:
- “You’ve fasted for a month and haven’t lost weight? How come?” Or, “You’ve gained more weight after fasting the whole month? That’s weird.”
Wow, thank you for always, always observing this every year. We have no idea how important our weight is to you, even though it is our bodies, not yours.
Joking or not, it just shows what you think about fasting. Remember, people, one of the true essences of fasting during Ramadan is to watch our mouth so as not to offend or hurt others’ feelings
- “Come on, this is the Eid, eat some more to replace what you’ve lost. You can lose weight later.”
First of all, we thank you for your hospitality. It’s nothing new that whenever we visit houses, there is always food. As the host, you’re obligated to offer us something to eat and drink. However, please take our answer seriously when we say, “No, thank you.” The same sentiment goes when you offer us seconds...and/or thirds...
I have no idea why some Indonesians have a hard time saying and accepting “no” for an answer. This is even worse if you’re a woman. I believe we’re already as civil as possible. Pushing us to eat some more really makes us feel uncomfortable. The worst part is that the people who push us to eat are often the same people who remark or make comments about our weight later too. Uh, weren’t you the one who more than hinted at our “extra-baggage”?
- “I can’t finish this. Will you help me? Please?”
Okay, I can still forgive you if you’re a kid under ten – perhaps you have not self-control; and you don’t really know how much food you can finish in one go. Unfortunately, you’re not a kid anymore. And this does not just happened during the Eid feast, but also at weddings and restaurants. You take or order more than what you can actually chew, and when you can’t finish it, you turn to your fat family member or friend: “I can’t finish this. Will you help me?”
But when we refuse for whatever reason, you try to make us feel guilty: “Come on. I can’t just throw this into the garbage bin. Imagine the hungry people out there.” Oh, yeah. I bet you thought about that when you were piling up food on your plate.
And even when we insist on refusing to eat their food, this is what we are told: “Come on, I’m sure you can still finish this. You’re used to eating lots anyway.”
We’re not being overly sensitive; we’re entitled to feel how we feel. You can’t change that, so you might as well try to change.
For a start, instead of fat-shaming us, come up with neutral ice breakers that are not centered on someone’s body or appearance (How are you? Tell me about your life). Not everybody equates fasting with a diet regime.
Instead of pushing us to eat some more (making us feel bad for saying “no”, while, still, making fun of our weight anyway), why not invite your hungry neighbors over? I bet they need more food more than we do. Isn’t being charitable the whole idea of Ramadan and Eid?
Last but not least, please (and I’m asking you this very nicely), just leave our bodies alone. Like, seriously.
Eid Mubarak, everyone.
Ruby Astari is an English teacher, freelance translator, and freelance writer. Her first novel "Reva's Tale" is already in stores. She enjoys being a sexy chub, hanging out with fellow writers, and wearing froggy shades in public!