He Called Me “Precious” …Thoughts???

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

This past Saturday I was standing on the corner of South and 4th streets in Philadelphia after seeing a fabulous concert with my sister. I felt comfy/cute in a cozy pink sweater, black mini-skirt and knee high suede boots. While attempting to hail a cab back to our hotel, a car full of people sailed past us and a voice cried “Heyyyyy Precious!” from the back window.

He was talking to me.

(If you don’t know who/what Precious is you can read up on the movie here and get images of the actress who plays Precious here).

In the spirit of everything that we talk about here on TBGB; loving ourselves, knowing that our weight doesn’t define us, etc. I’d love to say that I shrugged the comment off and went about my night, but my skin isn’t that thick yet, I’m still growing up. Being called “Precious” annoyed me to no end. A huge part of my annoyance was with myself for allowing the “Precious” comment to hurt me in the first place. Once I calmed down, I knew I had to process the insult from both directions. 1.) Why is calling a girl “Precious” proper ammunition for hurtful verbal assault? 2.) Why does being called “Precious” feel like hurtful verbal assault?

I find it interesting that people rarely refer to the actress who played Precious by her actual name, Gabourey Sidibe, instead they always call her “Precious”. Do we call Halle Berry “Catwoman”, “Monsters Ball”, or “B.A.P.S.”? No, we don’t. So why do we insist on calling Gabourey “Precious”? and why do we insist on calling fat girls with dark skin Precious… it’s clearly a punchline for many people, but why?

I actually have a lot in common with Gabourey Sidibe, we’re both big girls with dark skin, we both enjoy acting/performing, we’re both New York based, we’re both a little quirky… so if you said “Hey Gabourey!” I could see the similarities and go about my day.

Being called Precious is something different– Precious is a tragic character on many levels and her weight/eating is an outward reflection of the characters deeper issues. On a more superficial level, for many people “Precious” is synonymous with “Big Black Girl with Dark skin”. Some people might think of being big with dark skin as a double negative (fat is considered an undesirable state for most people, and in the African-American community, having dark skin can also be seen as undesirable). So they hurl the “Precious” insult at girls like me to address those characteristics. Lucky for me, I love my chocolate complexion and I stopped shedding tears about my size a long time ago, so those things are not what hurt me.

The more I think about it, when I hear Precious my mind goes to that scene in the movie when she’s running down the street eating a huge bucket of fried chicken. I think that’s what I find insulting.

I frustrates me that no matter how dolled up I get, no matter how cute my clothes are, no matter how fierce my makeup is… some people will look at me and immediately see a big black girl running down the street eating a bucket of KFC.

I’m sure I’m not the first Plus Size Princess to be called “Precious” and the issues I’m raising will take more than one little blog post from me to be explored, but I just thought I’d mention what happened to me because I found all the dynamics around it pretty fascinating.

Feel free to offer comments in the section below… thoughts???

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail
  • Elle Bee

    As much as I can relate to what your saying — and I do appreciate your candor and the complexity and thoroughness of self-analysis you’re applying to the situation– I hope you don’t mind my candidly saying that you’re giving way too much thought and value to the random comment of some castrated jackass who’s too cowardly to say insults to someone’s face or face up to the obvious self-deficiency and pain within himself that needs covering up by picking on a stranger.

    I get where you’re coming from and I admire the courage it took to talk about this frankly and process your feelings and reactions to it. But as you’ve said, he probably just said this to you because you’re a bigger woman with dark skin. And based on what you described, he sees something wrong with that and think it’s an “insultable” trait. Too bad for him. But you know he’s wrong and something’s obviously defective about his thinking and character. And if you don’t know, just ask your sister, you mom, your boyfriend Robert and the thousands of followers on this here blog. So don’t put so much weight on his lone, idiotic opinion. You don’t have to give anymore energy to his garbage, bad manners or his mother’s disservice in not teaching him to keep his unsolicited, un-constructive opinions to himself. I mean, you could’ve easily yelled back, “Hey there, probably limp-dicked jerk desperately trying to deflect from his own insecurities,” but your mom taught you better.

    Also, you said: “[It] frustrates me that no matter how dolled up I get, no matter how cute my clothes are, no matter how fierce my makeup is… some people will look at me and immediately see a big black girl running down the street eating a bucket of KFC.” But hey, don’t you do those things for you?? Don’t put value on some stranger’s (or non-stranger’s) opinion on YOU over your own. Also, most people will look at you and NOT see a big girl running down the street w/ a bucket of chicken. They don’t matter either.

    BTW, in case you want my opinion, Precious was an awesome movie! Precious, the character, was a pretty great girl who saw many tragedies but managed to rise above it all; she learned to value herself and prize her own journey. I’d be honored to be compared to her. Precious means unique and of great value. And even if this drive-by asshat may not have any of these things in mind as he called out to you, his opinion and viewpoints have no value unless you decide they do. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Elenor Roosevelt.

    • http://twitter.com/thebiggirlblog CeCe Olisa

      Well said, thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ms.LaShanta LaShanta Batiste Holloway

    I have to agree with Elle Bee, if YOU love YOU, then any asinine comment from some jackass stranger you will most likely never even get a chance to see face to face or even glance at ever again should not be taking that much space in your brain. It should have no room at all in your brain. Ppl are rude & crude, if it doesn’t bother you, then don’t let it bother you. Not even enough to blog about it. That’s a contradiction.
    You look good, you like it, that’s all that matters.

    • http://twitter.com/thebiggirlblog CeCe Olisa

      Good points… I can see how you guys think that writing a post about this gives it more “room” than necessary, but… blogging about the awkward moments in my life is cathartic for me, it actually helps me purge the negativity and move on :-)

      • BlackbodyLogic

        Firstly, I just discovered this blog and I love it. I had a similar incident. I was going into a concert and a guy shouted out of his car window, “Go eat some ho-hos, Fat girl!” To be perfectly honest, I didn’t take it to heart. I know that some people say mean things in the moment, and may not even mean it. Seriously, every person you meet is waging some battle that you may not see, so I keep that in mind on the rare occasion that someone insults me.

        But! I WAS embarrassed!!! It was just so awkward, with all of the people headed into the concert hearing that. I looked at my best friend and said, “Um…ok. That was random” and we kind of laughed it off. I mean, it’s like when I fall down in public…it’s embarrassing, but I’m not about to internalize it at all.

        For the record, you look nothing like the Precious character, at. all. So that was a bizarre thing for him to shout. If he just wanted to call you fat, he could have done that, but the Precious thing doesn’t fit at all. Secondly, Gabrielle is very pretty to me, outside of the Precious character. She has a perfect smile and skin, and pretty almond shaped eyes.

        You are beautiful, your blog is awesome and I am living vicariously through you. I wish I could pick up at this ripe old age of 38 and move to NYC. Good for you for having the courage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/quickchapman Renee Quick-Chapman

    Well first off I am sorry that happened to you. People hurling insults while they drive by you in so infuriating!! But if people are going to make generalities based on skin color than let em. Theyre ignorance will catch up to them it always does. Precious had a horrible life and fought hard for a better one. And G.S is an effing movie star!! I am with you writing about both the good and bad things is important. I like that you give a realer view of a PSP.

  • mtgcoach

    I think its pretty awesome that you would share this story, everyone doesn’t have the confidence of people who wrote comments and what better way to offer encouragement and support than through your own stories. I don’t care who you are or how strong you are……sometimes people hurt your feelings and its OK to say so.

  • Jess

    Two things, #1 are you sure it was meant as an insult? It’s hard for me to believe anyone ignorant enough to insult a random person would know who/what Precious is. It’s not really a lite read/ movie. Sometimes men are just idiots and use random words trying to complement women. I had a guy call me thick once as a compliment (I’m a size 12), I could easily see a guy seeing you and yelling out first thing to come to his mind which was that you were precious. But maybe I’m just an optimist lol.

    #2- we could have totally hung out if I knew you were in Philly!

    • http://twitter.com/thebiggirlblog CeCe Olisa

      LOL you’re the 3rd person to suggest that maybe he meant it in a good way (got an email and a fb comment with the same optimism).

      The guy sneered “heyyyy precious!” to me and then everyone in the car cackled and laughed. It was not a positive moment.

      Thanks though… glass half full, I like it!

      xoxo

  • alovedlife

    I feel so defensive/protective about Gabourey becoming the definition of what ugly or too fat is. I think people really need to take a look at what seeing her in that way means about themselves. Also, her own refusal to be invisible is somehow seen as a threat? No one has time for these shenanigans. At all.

    I’m proud of you for not internalizing this too much because dealing with people who are ignorant is hard work. But THE BEST part about it all is that you live your life has a happy, fat, beautiful, black woman whose view of herself isn’t a reflection of some asshole trying to be funny in front of his friends!

  • Tiffany Todd

    Personally..I know how you are feeling about this situation because I have been in these type of situation a couple of times in my life. What it seems like to me it’s not the insult that hurts cause obviously it is coming from a a-hole but the fact that this is how some people view you when they see you. It can be hurtful. I encourage you to tell your story becasue trust me there are allloottt of other people who have went thru this same situation. To me they took the movie & character of Precious something that was suppose to show how a person who has been beat down and given up on advances through life to want to be better for not only herseld but for her child. With all the positive messages that came from the movie the only thing people, comedians and idiots saw was another opportunity for a Big Black Girl Joke!! (typical for some). But basically I totally agree with what Elle Bee said period…You are beautiful!!

  • Miss_Maven

    HE MEANT THAT AS AN INSULT.

    Precious is the new “Manny” or “Aunt Jamima”, basically the new ugly black girl. That is horrible but honestly that is how some white people think. They think they can make fun of who ever society talks ish about (ei. Howard Stern also talking bad about her)

  • http://www.theoryandpracticeblog.com/ Jasmine

    I saw the title of your new blog post on my Google Reader Feed this morning and I gasped. I gasped because I knew he meant it as an insult. My second instinct was to yell “Yo mama!” at this guy, LOL…

    • thebiggirlblog

      LOLOLOLOL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.chen.98031 Annie Chen

    It’s pretty ironic how a movie like Precious- created to reveal dark & shitty sides of society, has provided the perfect character to use as an insult. But some douchebags will just be douchbags, and they’ll do anything to put anyone down.
    you accept that you are large, and that’s all that matters.

  • Kiki

    What happened to you has been my fear ever since that movie came out. Not because I identify with the tragic character but because I know society and and that sect of assholes who would use Precious as an insult. I too am learning to thicken my skin but being called precious would still sting. The only solution is to hold your head and give em a “F-u” on as you carry on with your fab self and fab day.
    Side note: People like that make me sick and I wish you had been given the opportunity to cuss him out and chew him a new one!

  • http://twitter.com/GarnerStyle Mrs. Valentine♥

    I have often thought of how it must feel to Gabourey to be called Precious outside of that movie. That role and that character (although I refuse to watch the movie) was associated with some of the deepest darkest taboos of our of society. I was watching 2nd generation Wayans…and her line was…”you don’t think I know people call me Precious behind my back.” I’ve heard people refer to her as that and even I have myself. I really didn’t think nothing of it b/c I refer to Keisha Knight Pulliam as Rudy and even Regina King as Brenda, but after that line in the show…I was like “oh, that’s not right.”

    As for you…I’ve met you and freaking adorable and have a great spirit that shines through, unfortunately the whole world isn’t gonna see it. I truly learned that lesson after those Fatkini pictures came out. Being a blogger and even taking the time to care for your appearance will bring you attention. A lot of it will be good, but unfortunately with the good, the bad will rear it’s ugly head too.

  • disqus_Zd3XjQHtUZ

    Wow sorry that had to happen to you no matter what keep your head to the sky

  • Collard Green Curves

    Thank you for sharing that story. I’m new to this blog by just a few minutes. I just published a book titled Collard Green Curves-a fat girl’s journey from childhood obesity to healthy living. Just like Precious’s story, my story is filled with pain. I was carrying far more weigth in my heart than on my hips. I finally realized that love doesn’t have a size. I hope that those folks in that car will realize that. The book is available at Amazon.com. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

  • mumbi

    But in Kenya, being curvious is not bad. Many of us are dark and full of curves. ;) Whenever anyone tries to insult u about how u look, just brush it off coz u are perfect just the way you are. He/she is the one who is insecure and so he/she tries to put someone else down they be on the same level. Thank you for speaking out for many who go through alot of that on a daily basis.

  • Jenny Rager

    Babydoll, you ARE precious. Simply and adorably precious. Let others call you what they may, but you’re gorgeous and lovely.

  • Neenay

    I feel your pain as a fellow chocolate plus size girl who has also been called Precious. By Marlon Wayans of all people and he actually called me mini Precious but cuter like that would make it better. At a packed comedy show with a group of friends. Totally ruined my night.

  • MetalJumba

    I feel your pain@ Neenay. I’m a fat white metalhead girl and I got called “Precious” too….by a 3rd rate “metal” comedian named Don Jamieson (Perhaps you’ve heard of him from “That Metal Show” on VH1 Classic?) Only thing is, I didn’t take it lying down and insulted him back. He didn’t like it much when I informed him loudly (and in front of his own stupid crowd) that God should smite him from this earth and give us Richard Pryor and Rodney Dangerfield back in exchange because at least they were humorous and that the only reason I was there was for the band he opened for and that otherwise I wouldn’t give the sweat off my @$$ to see him perform. Needless to say, he got all red and starting spewing off more fat jokes at me, to which I replied, “I may be fat, but you’re ignorant and not funny. My fat is only on the outside, but you’re ugly and unfunny through and through!”

    Needless to say, he found me to apologize after that and even tried to come on to me, to which I replied, “Ha! Eww no, do I look THAT desperate?”

    But yeah, only an idiot feels the need to focus on one physical attribute and see someone that way.

  • meka

    I was called precious on my 24th BIRTHDAY. it hurt like hell! I was angry, pissed and annoyed! I got over it because being called racist names because I’m dark and fat and got it all my life from every race, but it always hurt more when it’s people of my own race.

  • Temicka Brown

    ……