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A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is eight years old, she’s got pink cheeks that her grandmother calls chubby. She wants a second cookie but her aunt says “you’ll get huge if you keep eating.” She wants a dress and the woman in the changing room says “she’ll probably need a large in that.” She wants to have dessert and her waiter says “After all that dinner you just had? You must be really hungry!” and her parents laugh.

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is eleven and she is picked second-to-last in gym class. She watches a cartoon and sees that everyone who is annoying is drawn with a big wide body, all sweaty and panting. At night she dreams she is swelling like the ocean over seabeds. When she wakes up, she skips school.

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is thirteen and her friends are stick-thin ballerinas with valleys between their hipbones. She is instead developing the wide curves of her mother. She says she is thick but her friends argue that she’s “muscular” and for some reason this hurts worse than just admitting that she jiggles when she walks and she’ll never be a dancer. Eating seconds of anything feels like she’s breaking some unspoken rule. The word “indulgent” starts to go along with “food.”

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is fourteen and she has stopped drinking soda and juice because they bloat you. She always takes the stairs. She fidgets when she has to sit still. Whenever she goes out for ice cream, she leaves half at the bottom - but someone else always leaves more and she feels like she’s falling. She pretends to like salad more than she does. She feels eyes burrowing through her body while she eats lunch. Kate Moss tells her nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but she just feels like she is wilting.

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is fifteen the first time her father says “you’re getting gaunt.” She rolls her eyes. She eats one meal a day but thinks she stays the same size. Every time she picks up a brownie she thinks of the people she sees on t.v. and every time she has cake, she thinks of the one million magazine articles on restricting calories. She used to have no idea a flat stomach was supposed to be beautiful until she saw advice on how to achieve it. She cuts back on everything. She controls. They tell her she’s getting too thin but she doesn’t believe it.

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is sixteen and tearing herself into shreds in order for a thigh gap big enough to hush the screams in her head. She doesn’t “indulge,” ever. She can’t go out with friends, they expect her to eat. She damns her sweet tooth directly to hell. It’s coffee for breakfast and tea for lunch and if there’s dance that evening, two cups of water and then maybe an apple. She lies all the time until she thinks the words will rot her teeth. She dreams about food when she sleeps. Her aunt begs her to eat anything, even just a small cookie. They say, “One bite won’t make you fat, will it, darling?”

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is seventeen and too sick to go to prom because she can’t stand up for very long. She thinks she wouldn’t look good in a dress anyway. Her nails are blue and not because they are painted. Her hair is too thin to do anything with. She’s tired all the time and always distracted. She once absently mentions the caloric value of grapes to the boy she is with and he looks at her like she’s gone insane and in that moment she realizes most people don’t have numbers constantly scrolling in their heads. She swallows hard and tries to figure out where it all went wrong, why more than a granola bar for a meal makes her feel sick, why she tastes disease and courts with death. She misses sleep. She misses being able to dream. She misses being herself instead of just being empty.

A FAT LITTLE GIRL
is twenty and writes poetry and is a healthy weight and still fights down the voices every single day. She puts food in her mouth and sometimes cries about it but more and more often feels good, feels balanced. Her cheeks are pink and they are chubby and soft and no longer growing slight fur. Her hair is long and it is beautiful. She still picks herself apart in the mirror, but she’s starting to get better about it. She wears the dress she likes even if it only fits her in a large and she doesn’t feel like a failure for it. She is falling in love with the fat on her hips.

She is eating out with friends and not worrying about finding the lowest calorie item on the menu when she hears a mother tell her four year old daughter “You can’t have ice cream, we just had dinner.
You don’t want to end up as a fat little girl.”

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- Why do we constantly do this to our children? /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

(via perks-of-being-chinese)

dynamicafrica:

Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o discusses the problematic elements of colonial languages and the hierarchical tendencies, and power dynamics, they encourage in countries that, through colonization, have adopted them as their lingua franca.
Wa Thiong’o firmly states that, “English is not an African language, period”, and that in using English as a default tongue, we are simply contributing to the expansion of this dangerous form of cultural suppression, still submitting to the hierarchy of colonial languages.
HARDTAlk host Gavin Esler notes that his form of decolonizing African minds and tongues is in stark contrast to writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who says that, “English is mine, I have taken ownership of English”.
Wa Thiong’o then goes on to say that claims made in the same vein of Adichie are related to the ‘metaphysical empire’, a sort of abstract reclaiming of ones own identity in relation to history and the power dynamics of language in the world, as opposed to penetrating the systematic structures of language as a tool of oppression.
I must agree with the stress Wa Thiong’o puts on first writing in ones mother tongue, and then translating it into other languages, as not only does it promote the importance of African languages, it also creates and stresses a need for not only Africans but people around the world to pay attention to African languages, perhaps learning them in the process, countering the idea that writing in African languages somehow limits the reach of ones work.
It’s a cultural shift that won’t happen overnight, but a transition that is very necessary and ultimately holds a great deal of weight in global cultural power systems and structures.
Watch the discussion here.
Related post.

dynamicafrica:

Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o discusses the problematic elements of colonial languages and the hierarchical tendencies, and power dynamics, they encourage in countries that, through colonization, have adopted them as their lingua franca.

Wa Thiong’o firmly states that, “English is not an African language, period”, and that in using English as a default tongue, we are simply contributing to the expansion of this dangerous form of cultural suppression, still submitting to the hierarchy of colonial languages.

HARDTAlk host Gavin Esler notes that his form of decolonizing African minds and tongues is in stark contrast to writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who says that, “English is mine, I have taken ownership of English”.

Wa Thiong’o then goes on to say that claims made in the same vein of Adichie are related to the ‘metaphysical empire’, a sort of abstract reclaiming of ones own identity in relation to history and the power dynamics of language in the world, as opposed to penetrating the systematic structures of language as a tool of oppression.

I must agree with the stress Wa Thiong’o puts on first writing in ones mother tongue, and then translating it into other languages, as not only does it promote the importance of African languages, it also creates and stresses a need for not only Africans but people around the world to pay attention to African languages, perhaps learning them in the process, countering the idea that writing in African languages somehow limits the reach of ones work.

It’s a cultural shift that won’t happen overnight, but a transition that is very necessary and ultimately holds a great deal of weight in global cultural power systems and structures.

Watch the discussion here.

Related post.

(via abstrackafricana)

nedahoyin:

didi-is-spiffy:

Every time I talk about race some white person says something like “you have to focus on the bigger issue”

at first I was like what is secret bigger issue you all keep bringing up?

But then I realized it was just code for “talk about something that affects white people too”

Ain’t it tho..

(via fyeahcracker)

dynamicafrica:

The World War I in Africa Project Sheds Light On An Often Forgotten Part of History.

As a student of history for all my years of secondary education, I can’t say that I never learned about World War I, the events leading up to it as well as the aftermath it had on Europe and to some extent the United States. Perhaps we never delved into it in quite as much depth as we did World War II, but even then, I’d be hard-pressed to think of time where my history teacher (bless her soul) ever mentioned the impact that the First World War had on Africa and Africans. Such a truth wouldn’t concern me if the circumstances were different; if I wasn’t at a school in an African country, if I weren’t an African myself, if I wasn’t one of five black students in a history class of over 20, if I didn’t come from a country that was colonized by the British (who, as history goes, love war).

But all these things were and still are a part of who I am, and it is for these reasons – and so many more, that the World War I in Africa project is incredibly important learning for me. Even beyond the personal connection of history and heritage, the ignorance of many to the involvement of Africans in World War I and the integral roles the played speak to a much broader concern of the omission and reduction of black people and Africans in many important events in Western history.

It’s been 100 years since the First World War began. 100 years since the first shot fired by British troops occurred in what is today known as Togo, on August 7th, 1914. 100 years gone by and still, the world is yet to actively include and universally commemorate the lives of the estimated two million Africans who in some way contributed to the efforts of their colonial empires during this bitter war of the 1910s. World War I was indeed what its title refers to it as – a war that saw involvement on a global scale.

From the Gold Coast to German East Africa, Algeria to the southernmost tip of Africa, a new initiative is bringing to light the forgotten ways in which European politics brought the Great War to African homes. Through the efforts of World War I in Africa project, we are provided with a multimedia database that both highlights and archives the ways in which African lives were affected by a war they had no agency in. Because what happens in Africa should be told around the world.

World War I in Africa.

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(via abstrackafricana)


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