The small (wo)man

by David-salt Ayodele

I was having a conversation with a dear friend some weeks ago, who in previous discussions shielded away from talking about why his last relationship ended. This time, he initiated the conversation.

“I ended it when I started feeling inadequate because of my stature,” he said. “I always felt that if I looked as big as my age, just maybe I would have earned a little more respect from that relationship,” he concluded.

That moment, I realized that people with small stature go through a lot of body shaming, maybe as much as the plus-size individuals. Worst still, some societies think this abuse is okay.

That conversation brought me to the retrospect of how much emotionally abused the “small man” is.

How much people relate their size to the quality and quantity of food available to them. How people at workplaces might accord that colleague with a bigger stature with more respect and most likely asked to take on leadership positions because of their size.

How the small man is easy to disrespect.

How the society constantly reminds you in a derogatory way that “you don’t look your age,” or you don’t look like a husband or wife yet even when you are more than ready.

How some people look at those with small stature scornfully, because they don’t look like other folks within their age group. How hard society drags your age with you and asks for proof.

He then proceeded to share how hard he had tried to please the society by eating carbs at an unhealthy rate, worked out so hard at the gym like he was preparing for the Olympics, followed dietary plans that cost more than he could afford, wore bigger and starched clothes just to attain the size the society approves of him.

He said, when he met Professor Yemi Osinbajo, it dawned on him that there was nothing wrong with being a “small man” in the first place. It was then that he started accepting the genetic factor that accounts for his looks.

Now he understands that society might not change their perception about the small man, but allowing their comments to get to him is his choice to make.

Short or tall, dark, light or coloured, thick, skinny, or slim, all individuals, I believe, are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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