The size of our judgments

Rachel Hayes , Reporter

On February 29, 2016, I wore a fat pack all day at school. All through my classes. All through the hallway. All day long. Needless to say, I was as red as my shirt and 1,000 degrees hotter than the rest of the school. My point in doing this is to prove that it’s not what someone looks like, it’s what they’re doing.

In first period, I walked into the classroom and immediately got noticed and bombarded with questions. “What are you doing?” “What is that?” “Are you pregnant?”  I explained that I’m just coming to class like everyone else. After about 2-3 minutes of awkward stares and whispers, I virtually became unnoticed. I sat in my desk quietly, took notes, and acted as I normally would. And no one really cared. Every now and then I would adjust how I was sitting and move the pack of embarrassment to resting on my other leg and even then all that happened was 1 or 2 people behind me noticed that I moved. But no one cared what I looked like anymore. I actually got used to it. My first period teacher didn’t even have a reaction to my appearance.

In second period, I decided to make a little more of a big deal out of it. When I said something, so did they. I walked around the classroom occasionally and made some remarks about my size and when I did so, people noticed and commented back. After about 5 minutes, I stopped. Once again, I became virtually unnoticed.

When I walked through the hallways I traded off between blankly starring ahead and laughing and/or stumbling over and ‘falling’ into someone as a result of my overbearing size. Just like in the classroom, my peers had the same reactions. When I didn’t even acknowledge it, no one even saw a difference. But when I even made the slightest notion toward my size, you would’ve thought that my head was purple and not attached to my body.

Before arriving to my third period, I already had it set in my mind that I would draw as much attention to myself as possible. All throughout the period I continuously stood up and walked around the room, I purposefully threw random papers away in the farthest trash can from my desk, I offered for people to poke the pack and feel it, and I sat sideways in my seat to be sure that whoever wanted to see it could at any time. I also constantly talked about it, laughed at it, and always had my hands resting on it. During this class alone, I got more attention and more questions about what I was doing than I had gotten throughout the rest of the day.

In doing this “experiment”, I’ve attempted to prove that the appearance of someone is no where near as influential as the actions. Throughout three class periods, I maintained my appearance and made changes in how I acted and the difference of reactions was impeccable.

Among all of the rude and negative comments that I received from faculty, staff, and students, I heard things such as “Oh my god… are you really pregnant?” “Dang girl! You really blew up overnight!” “Wait… what happened to you?” And as I’m sure you can tell, these are not the most flattering things for an eighteen-year-old girl to hear at school about her appearance.

Trying to control how students look as far “school appropriate” outward appearances is not the issue. The behavior of said students is what is causing the distractions. Instead of trying to control things like the dress code, we need to focus on the behavior and words coming from the students. They say that actions speak louder than words. Meanwhile, appearances could basically be mute.