Bananas is in the process of repairing our aqueduct system. The water committee and I were waiting in the center for Tal to start our meeting.

“Laura! You’re looking pretty and fat!” Marcia called out, smiling at me.

“Uh…gracias.” 

“Look everyone,” Marcia nudged those sitting next to her, “look how fat Laura’s gotten.”

Everyone was nodding in approval and making noises indicating agreement.

“Okay…” I was not loving the direction of the conversation.

“Laura, how long are you going to be here again?”

“Two years.”

“By the time she leaves she won’t even be able to walk!”

I cleared my throat, “Tal? Maybe we should start now?”

He looked up from the table where he’d been writing some notes, “Oh, um, sure.”

Now, I know that 1) I can still wear the same clothes and that 2) they honestly feel like they’re complimenting me and that 3) I’m bringing a lot of cultural baggage to the issue of ‘fat,’ but we could have been sitting around waiting for a meeting to start and if they had been talking about how skinny I was, it doesn’t change the fact that it was considered appropriate to discuss my body. 

As I wrote this I feared that it might just come across as hyper sensitive, but to live every day of your life feeling eyeballs on you and having to put up with piropos really does affect the way you carry yourself and change your relationship with your body.

My body, the vessel that is me, has never before garnered so much attention, causing problems and putting me in awkward situations (Like when that old dude told me he was in love with my body while we were both attending a funeral…Classy). Suddenly, my body is a burden. And suddenly my body is given more import than me. What I’m wearing is a lot more interesting than what I have to teach. It’s a taste of what girls here have grown up swimming in and, absolutely, it’s what our society pushes on girls as well. You should know how dangerous and damaging the eroticization of body objectification is. Being hot or desirable is frequently an end in itself, and not just a goal, but the goal.

What an empty ‘end’. 

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