October 14, 2020

How can I take up space when the world is telling me to be smaller?

Sarah Grant, 30

Growing up in the time of ‘Girl Power’, ‘This Is What A Feminist Looks Like’, ‘Me Too’ and ‘Times Up’, I am a woman who knows how to use my voice. However, whenever I have had cause to display it in a public space, my most common critique from the audience is about my body. Like, somehow, my size automatically nullifies anything I have to say. This got me thinking about the concept of ‘space’. Physical and otherwise. As I girl I was taught to cross my legs, not to raise my voice, to dress in a way that makes me appear smaller and that being plus size was a terrible personal failing. Those lessons have consequences when trying to create a safe space to exist in. I have stories to tell. I know that I deserve to take up space. The question is, will society take one look at me and decide I’ve already taken up quite enough, without ever opening my mouth. ‘Space’ was written as the first of a trio of monologues, commissioned by the Young Women’s Movement for their ‘Eat Your Words’ campaign; an artistic response to challenge the language women use around body image.

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