A “Wasat Girl” embraces being in-between multiple cultures, because this transcultured space is globalism living out loud. It was where culture happens, the place of power, that middle space – “wasat” culture.
Being a wasat girl is a cultural force, but there is a unique type of Third Space reserved for the overweight, the fat girls. If you grow up large, your life may be like crouching in a crevice, like in a fat roll, where you assume a type of invisibility even while knowing that people notice far more of you than they do the smaller folk. You are both inside and outside of public space: there is the sexual invisibility, the social biases, and sometimes, there is internal self-loathing because you feel that you will never measure up to Pretty Girl Space. You know that your girth enters the room before you do.
During the first few years of my marriage, there was a trip to Nairobi for an international conference. A large Maasai woman came up to me during an evening reception. She had remembered our first meeting at another reception in Washington, D.C., a few years prior.
On this African night, the Maasai woman, a Kenyan landmine activist, approached me and said hello again. She recalled that I was freshly married the last we met.
As she took my arm, she proclaimed, “Oh my! You’ve gotten so fat!”
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Love InshAllah editor Ayesha Mattu and contributor Zahra Noorbakhsh had a wonderful conversation with writer, editor and Writerland blogger Meghan Ward when they visited the SF Writers’ Grotto last week.
MW: Ayesha, do you have a favorite story?
ZN: Mine. You don’t have a favorite one besides mine, right?
AM: Each one holds a sacred space. You are all my children. You are all equal. (laughter)
Read the rest of the interview, here.