I have a reputation, among my sons at least, of being a little…militant?…when it comes to pointing out the equality of the sexes. I don’t tolerate machismo here. I don’t tolerate females being viewed as the weaker sex. I don’t tolerate ANY of that crap. It isn’t just because I’m the only female in the house besides the dog and the bearded dragon, either. It’s because I honestly believe that there is nothing I can’t do that I don’t want to do. It’s because I have a responsibility to my sons, their future spouses and possible future daughters to cut that shit off at the knees. My boys need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
My sons tease me relentlessly for my stance on all things equal. We were watching television one night and someone said something I had perceived as sexist (unbeknownst to me, I was doing something else as the boys watched). My oldest son said, “Uh oh, Tony. Mom made The Face.”
“Oh, no. Not The Face!” Tony said with feigned dismay. They both burst out in giggles.
“The Face?” I asked. “What face?”
Jimmy said, “You know? The one that says, ‘Feminist Powers, Activate!’ ” Again, they burst out laughing.
The next look I gave them elicited instant apologies from both of them.
Then, today, I read an article about Amy Schumer being upset about being grouped in with celebrities like Melissa McCarthy and Adele on Glamour magazine’s cover. She was angry because she was labeled “plus size.” Frankly, it pissed me off.
Yes, I hate labels. They suck. I would abolish them if possible. Let’s make that clear. You know what side of that line I stand on.
And, don’t get me wrong. I like Amy Schumer. The woman is hilarious when she isn’t sticking her foot in her mouth.
When is it okay to make your living touting the fact that you aren’t the ideal size and shape that people desire, but can still “catch a dick” –her terms, not mine–but not want the label? Last time I checked you don’t get to put yourself out there as a comedienne and make your self-deprecating humor that is supposed to be construed as body positive, and then get all hurt when someone labels you as the very thing you poke fun at yourself as being. You don’t get to play the “I’m a comic and all bets are off” when it comes to cracking jokes and hurting other people’s feelings, but then when your feelings get hurt, cry foul. This is one time I have to say that the comedy schtick she’s buttered her bread with is what earned her that placement on the cover, nothing else.
Now, more to the point. There’s a movement starting to abolish the label “Plus Size.” I get it. It’s a “nice” way of referring to someone as fat. As a plus size woman, I’m here to tell you, I’m not fooling anyone. You see a picture of me and you are seeing a woman who is overweight, fat, plus size, or any other label you want to slap on that refers to the fact that I carry around extra poundage. There is no one on this planet who is going to look at a picture of me next to Uma Thurman and say they see two women. They are going to say that they see Uma Thurman and a fat lady. End of story.
Where the difference comes in is in how I choose to use that label. Just like Uma Thurman isn’t the sum of who she is based solely on her name, I am not the sum of who I am based solely on someone else’s opinion of me being overweight, fat, heavy or plus size. I am more than the number on my scale. I am more than my weight. I am more than my BMI.
Am I overweight? Yes. I am. I am also a mother. I am a writer. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a daughter-in-law. I am a sister-in-law. I am an aunt. I am a citizen of Ohio. I am a citizen of the United States. I am a hard worker. I am a worrier. I am a million other tiny things, as well as a million other big things. And I am also fat.
So, here is how I see it. As long as when you see me you see Miranda the wife, friend, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, citizen, hard worker, writer and worrier who is overweight, we’re fine. Because, like it or not, when it all comes down to the lowest common denominator, I am a lot of labels. We all are, and not all of them we wear proudly.
And, not to get too The Help on you all here, but…
You are beautiful.
You are worthwhile.
You are amazing.
Those are all labels, too.
So, ladies, you be who you were meant to be. Let nothing stand in your way. If I let every label anyone ever stuck on me keep me from doing something, I’d have thrown in the towel somewhere around four years old. Screw them and their labels.
Melissa McCarthy is gorgeous and funny and crazy-talented. Her weight hasn’t stopped her from being amazing.
Adele is beautiful, talented, funny and so very personable. Her weight hasn’t stopped her from taking the music industry by storm.
Amy Schumer is funny and, sorry to say, so desperately in need of someone to ground her from Twitter and Instagram. However, her weight certainly isn’t standing in the way of any brass ring she sets her sights on.
So, why should yours?