Poet Tammaka Staley has a brilliant response to the hate that thin women ― and particularly thin black women ― face so regularly in her slam poem “20 Pounds.”
She opens the poem with a comment she got from a man in a bar: “Dude in the bar says if I just gain 20 more pounds, then I’ll be good.”
“Do you know how hard I tried to gain 20 pounds?” she says in response.
Throughout her whole life, men have commented on her tiny frame, and in the slam poem she discusses how much she used to struggle. She talks about the ways that she was mocked when she was growing up. She says she never felt “full enough,” and has spent so much time trying to meet society’s (and men’s) expectations of what a woman should look like.
But she also speaks of how empowered she has become ― big things come in small packages, after all ― and reminds us that women’s bodies are not here for men’s consumption. “My body isn’t too small,” she says. “Your misogyny just comes in large portions.”