“Look, Tigger!” my baby sister cried out as we made our way through Disneyland.
I was 15 and Denise, my middle sister was 11. Disneyland is fun no matter how old you are, but Nikki, our baby sister had just turned 4, so the park was super magical for her and she was running the show. When she spotted Tigger frolicking near the bushes, we immediately rushed over to take a picture with him and our parents followed with the camera. We huddled around him, I ended up on his left side while my sisters were on the right. Tigger put his arms around us as we posed. Just as my Dad began snapping photos, I heard a whistle from inside Tiggers costume.
You know, the “hey hot stuff” whistle… WhoooHoooooooo! I thought I was hearing things, but immediately after Tigger whistled, his furry paw began to gently rub the small of my back. Being a teen Plus Size Princess, I was very insecure about my body, so having someone touch me so intimately made me tense up. The fact that it was a stuffed animal? Well that made it even more awkward. I couldn’t believe it, looking back I should have said something. I should have let someone know that I was being sexually harassed by someone from The Hundred Acre Wood, I mean… we all know that Tigger is a little feisty, bouncing on that tail and carrying on, but this was too much.
When I was a voluptuous 16, our family was at a college basketball game, we had good seats so when the Mascot came out to hype of the crowd he was very close to us. I was on the end texting my latest crush when suddenly the furry mascot was beside me on one knee “acting shy”. I looked up, saw him and laughed, thinking it was a quick moment and part of his routine, but he kept going… he took my hand, kissed it and then nodded out to the crowd. He kissed my hand again and then reached up to touch my hair… I suddenly realized that the mascot was legit flirting with me, I think my parents realized it at the same time, because my Mom yelled at the mascot “She’s SIXTEEN!” The Mascot threw his hands in the air and scurried away.
Fast Forward three years, I’m 19 and at my first Halloween Parade in New York City. As we watched the crazy characters march down sixth avenue, there was a Care Bear, Tenderheart to be exact, skipping down the street. “Awww I LOVE Care Bears!” I said to my friend. Tenderheart must have heard me because he broke away from the crowd with his arms outstretched to hug us. As his arm went around me, his hand made a pit stop on my left boob, giving it a little squeeze. “Gross!!! get outta here, Tenderheart!” I yelled and he dashed away before I could knock his furry head off.”
From that moment, I’ve avoided people in Mascot costumes like the plague.
I was telling these and other crazy mascot stories to my bff Alex last night (Yes, I have more mascot stories, smh). Alex brought up a good point, “You know the guys inside those costumes, they do what they want because they’re anonymous…” he said.
What he said got me thinking… why am I such a target for people inside of mascot costumes?
I’m going out on a limb here, but I think it boils down to a few things:
Philosopher, Michael Foucault and feminist writers like Laura Mulvey talk about the “Power of the Gaze” it’s an interesting concept that I think all women should research. I’m no expert, but I’m going to do my best to explain it a bit: Think about when you catch someone looking at you, or staring at you… that moment when you quickly look away puts that person in a dominant position. Now what if you look or stare back at them… don’t you feel like you’ve regained a bit of control/power in the situation?
Lets take that to the next level when someone is staring at you and you don’t know it (i.e. a peeping tom) the fact that they can watch you but you can’t see/watch them back creates a skewed power dynamic that’s even more intense than if they were staring at you openly on the train or in the street. In my opinion, Mascots have that type of power. That anonymity that Alex mentioned gives them a space to act out towards women from a safe and powerful place.
Now lets add the element of me being a Plus Size Princess. We all know that there are a good amount of men who are attracted to big girls but don’t want to admit it. They keep their desire for a PSP under wraps for whatever reasons and if they do get involved with a PSP, they work hard to keep it a secret (late night visits, no actual dates, etc.) Do you see where I’m going with this?
I can’t help but wonder if I’ve had all these crazy run-ins with Mascots because I’m a Plus Size Princess. I mean, a Mascot costume is the perfect hiding place for a secret chubby chaser. Instead of sitting in a dark room with the laptop and a BBW images, they can get up close and personal with their secret desire while keeping their identity hidden. Tigger can rub his paws all over me, Tenderheart can give The Twins a squeeze and then they can take off the big head, go have drinks with their buddies and talk about how hot some skinny girl is.
But then again, maybe its just me. Maybe I just attract the toothless, the homeless and now… the mascots.
Have any of you ever had a weird experience with a Mascot?
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