"I like a big girl in bed, baby. More room to paint on."
When recent Lewis & Clark graduate Samantha Peterson was catcalled by a man, his limbs dangling outside his car, his uncalled for words reaching out too far, she walked away. She chose not to respond immediately.
She waited, instead, to turn her anger at the catcall into eloquent defiance. At the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, inspired by the catcaller and the society that created him, Peterson delivered a body positive language critique we could all stand to hear.
Too often, she said, fat bodies are talked about in layers and layers of metaphor, as if it's not possible to appreciate them simply for being bodies. As if they have to be disguised somehow to be found attractive.
"You could hook up with a mountain of a body," she said, her gaze fixed on the audience. "You could describe it later as legs you climbed all the way up. But a fat body, a dirty sidewalk, is too big to be worthy of a human form."
Although her critique zeroed in on the language we use to talk about fat bodies, the overarching desire to make them "palatable" is all too familiar. Larger women are often fat-shamed and told to wear more clothes to hide their curves. Everything is subject to dehumanizing criticism.
Samantha Peterson, however, will not back down. "You have to take your body back from the only way people allow themselves to find it beautiful... My body is good like a body. I take up this much space. I'm not some sprawling thing in the distance. I am right here. I am right here."
Watch the full video above. That ending couldn't be more powerful.
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