Life’s Musings

    Open Letter to city girl Njoki Chege
    Reading Time: 3 minutes

    Dear city girl,
     
    I am writing to you in reference to your article, ‘Fat women, let’s tackle this elephant in the room’. You set out to body-shame ‘fat’ women, in Kenya’s national newspaper. In your opinion, there is no beauty in being fat and husband’s are not attracted to their fat wives
     
    As a journalist, I am writing this rebuttal to let you know that it is not ok to troll or shame people. You hold no moral ground in telling women how they should feel about their bodies.
     
    Your article was disrespectful, sexist, myopic, demeaning, insensitive, shallow and also ill-researched.
     
    I get it; sensationalism sells newspapers. Being means is easier than being empathetic. It is also easy to condemn and troll another woman when you have little basis of what her life story.
     
    It is easy to sit behind a computer and make a judgement of other women’s experiences. It takes little to no effort to write lazy articles based on hearsay. Your body shaming article shows that you lack emotional intelligence and journalistic ethics.
    I don’t know much about the upbringing of a city girl seeing that I grew up in the village. From your articles, though, this city girl sounds like all talk no action. She is speaking on behalf of a philandering man and justifying his wayward life.

    City Girl

    You article seeks to justify why some men are not attracted to plus-size women. You write,’ I am willing to bet that there is not a single level-headed man in this world who loves a humongous woman; one so huge that she cannot bathe herself well. Surely, you take these men through so much!”
     
    Your words sadden me. The fact that they went through the approval of an editor, infuriates me.
    A faithful man will stand by his plus-size woman, through ‘thick and thin’. He knows her journey, her struggles and appreciates that the body you called ‘ugly, unsightly and unheavenly. He will lift those ‘flaps and folds’ and love her as no other man can. And yes, such gentlemen do exist.
     
    You are a mean girl with the power of the pen. There is a difference between being forward and being mean. Did you know that discourteous people are often more disliked than the so-called ‘fat’ ones?
     
    These plus-size ladies that you condemn have their stories to tell. Some have been battling with weight loss for years. Another might have had a baby. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and a thyroid deficiency contribute to weight. Every woman has her story to tell. There is no single story that can fit each person’s body image.
     
    But, you are a lazy writer, a troll, only keen to tell one side of the story. And bullies like you, enjoy calling others fat, it is your way of hitting where it hurts.
     
    Bullies crave for attention, and they will use whatever means and ways necessary. You have won in getting tongues wagging. Your article has elicited a public outcry of disapproval. Many women have felt the sting of your words.

    My body image

     
    City girl, I was once had the ‘ideal’ svelt body. And then I became pregnant. Unfortunately, I ended up with hyperemesis gravidarum and lost 25 per cent of my body weight. I could have died.
     
    After I gave birth, I ate, to sustain myself and my ever hungry son. I followed my doctor’s advice on not to worry so much about the kilos packing up.
     
    Above all, I was ok with adding weight as long as my child was healthy and fed. I drunk up the fermented uji that my mother served.
     
    As a result of hormonal increase and my regained appetite, my weight shot up. I gained stretch marks and a 4th-trimester body. Yet, I came to fall in love with my new body because it was a testament to a journey that I had taken into motherhood.
     
    Women are going through enough pressure to fit into a certain body type. It is unfortunate to see you conform to the age-old tradition of media bias towards plus size women.
     
    But, look around you and you will see that body positivity is countering body-shaming.
     
    The prejudice and misconception say more about you than the women you are shaming.
     
    City girl, I assume that you are yet to have children? Word of the wise, if you ever want children, there is something that prejudiced people like you should know.
     
    Do not laugh at and mock fellow women, unless the person you are mocking is yourself. Do not go about assuming that your shallow worldview fits into everyone‘s outlook on life. Do not throw rocks when you live in a glass house.
     
    Finally, freedom comes with responsibility. I hope that you will grow to be a better journalist. You will mature and choose a responsible tone in your narrative.
     
    Garbage in, Garbage out.
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