Archive for July 19th, 2010


I am hot and tired.

But I still have a good post for y'all. ;D

I’ve almost always been bigger and taller than most people my age (or any age, once I hit adulthood). I’m a statistical outlier in both height and weight, and I’ve mostly made peace with it (although I still daydream about meeting a nice, bear-like guy who’s 7 feet tall). What I am still really sensitive about, though, is how many people equate my size with a tendency toward violence.

I believe this is partly psychological. Evolutionarily, it’s customary for men to back down to the bigger man. It’s a dominance thing, because the bigger man could potentially kick the smaller man’s ass (whether he actually intends to or not was irrelevant at the time). Thus short/small people tend to be somewhat less intimidated by me (especially women) because they’re used to being at a disadvantage. People of average height, however, especially men, feel threatened by me. They aren’t used to being towered over by a woman, and the gender divide plays in greatly here. The dominance of men over women is an accepted fact of almost every culture on earth, to the point that women are actually subtly trained to try to be meek, subservient, and weak so any given man can overpower them (regardless of whether any men intend to). Whether any given man is aware of the privilege of almost always perceiving himself as stronger than a woman, they tend to be threatened by a woman who is bigger and taller than them.

For some reason, this translates to men (and women who perceive me as they would a strong man) projecting violent thoughts onto me. Seriously, the number of times I’ve been told that I secretly wanted to do a violent thing or prompted to do something violent (I especially would love to know what genius came up with “sit on him!” for every fat kid to hear fifty times growing up) would make some people’s heads spin. And sometimes, I did snap and do something violent, just because I couldn’t stand being teased anymore (there’s a memorable story about getting detention for shoving a kid who wouldn’t move so I could get to my fucking locker in middle school). But it was almost always under duress. Really, the amount of unprovoked violence I did to anyone outside my family (my older brothers don’t count because I got just as many knocks as I gave) can be counted on one hand.

The truth is, while I can talk a big game (I like to swear and talk about “kicking ass” regularly), I am as meek as a newborn puppy. If someone actually attacked me, I would be more likely to roll over and cry from being punched/kicked than to actually fight back. Now, on the one hand, it’s kind of good that people tend not to mess with me, since I can’t defend myself worth a crap, but on the other, I don’t like having that image. Not that I mind feeling like a powerful woman, but one can be powerful and solid in their personality without having any hint of violence in their air. And I don’t like being perceived as violent. I don’t think anyone of a gentle spirit does, regardless of their gender.

What does one do, then? Should I carry a flower around and smile at everyone I meet? Should I wear a shirt that says “I promise I will not hurt you”? How do you get rid of the perceived violent nature that you don’t have?


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