Lesego Tlhabi opens up about losing roles because of her weight
The recent debate about fatphobia and “exclusive” body positivity has left satirist Lesego Thlabi triggered, and the Coconut Kelz creator has asked people not to divide the movement by gaslighting the institutionalised bias that already exists against fat people.
A post by Lesego “Thickleeyonce” Legobane on the body positivity movement not being for “slim bodies already accepted by society” divided social media and sparked a fierce debate on body shaming.
As a plump-bodied person herself, Lesego weighed in on the debate, speaking from personal experiences and observations of the world around her.
“The very first thing people come at me for when they disagree with my opinions is my weight. I’ve seen it with other fat girls. Fat is seen as unattractive and unhealthy. And undesirable. We have not until now seen our bodies celebrated and been told it’s ok to love ourselves.” she said.
As the debate raged on, Lesego used some examples to emphasise that fatphobia was very real to her.
“Guys until recently we didn’t even have sizes over 16 in most high street stores. Clothing designers just said, 'you don't deserve to wear our sh**'. We had to custom make or open up 'plus-size stores'.
“You can name the plus-size models because there’s like two on supermodel status and like 4 in SA. Our sizes are not seen as normal. They’re called plus because there’s the norm and then everything else is extra. Can’t you see how even the language we use excludes us?” she asked.
Lesego explained that even if she “out-trains” and “outruns” her friends with smaller body shapes, people would always assume that she's “lazy and unhealthy”.
The comedian went on to tell a story of how she lost out on a big role just last year because even after she knocked the audition out the park she was told that they “didn’t imagine her as fat”.
Read the full thread below.
When I told a producer why I wanted to be an actress after graduating with multiple courses and a degree in theatre, he told me I’d never make it coz I was an undesirable size and would be competing for roles with “beautiful women”.— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) September 1, 2020
Almost ALL my career obstacles have been because the world is violently fatphobic despite some of these movements. Even when a fat girl gets space onscreen it’s almost never as the romantic love interest, she’s got to be sassy and funny sidekick.— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) September 1, 2020
So allow us a moment and a movement that says, we deserve to ALSO be beautiful, be represented, be cast, be celebrated, be loved, be protected, be revered just like our thin counterparts have always been.— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) September 1, 2020
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