Plus-size students too often feel like outcasts

Famu Graduate and Plus Size model Dr. Shanorri A. Phot courtesy: Shanorri A

On Sept. 2, a student at Howard University posted a TikTok explaining her negative experiences attending an HBCU as a plus-size female.

She said she was  constantly being sexualized by the male students on campus because of her body, and that organizations were not asking her to be in photos or social media stories but were asking her skinnier friends. She added that she never sees plus-size representation on her school’s website and flyers.

Many students made sure to tell the third-year college student that she is beautiful. But, plus-size students at HBCUs agreed with her, and some of these students go to FAMU.

Unfortunately, many plus-size students feel that the school fails to show off more of them on campus.

Mckenzie Louissaint, a third-year business administration student, said she always feels like an outcast among other SBI students because the only ones who are posted on the program’s social media have skinnier bodies.

“I know that there is plus-size women who are successful SBI graduates, but I never saw our school show them off. I felt really bad when I realized no one with my body type was being appreciated on social media,” Louissaint said.

Other plus-size students didn’t allow FAMU’s lack of representation to affect their confidence, but they still believe plus-size students need more acknowledgement from the university so that clothing businesses can normalize bigger sizes.

Diamond Jacskon, a fourth-year student, struggles finding FAMU clothing apparel that fits her body. She believes it’s because of the lack of representation. During Set Friday, football games, and Homecoming week, entrepreneurs who sell FAMU apparel rarely have sizes past a large because they don’t think there are many students who need a bigger size.

Famu Campus plus. Photo courtesy: Campus Plus

At Campus +, a plus- size organization on FAMU’s campus, there are already 20 plus-size students who wear a size 2x+.

“I was trying to buy a shirt during Set Friday and I couldn’t get it because the creator of the shirt admitted that she didn’t think to make bigger sizes because she didn’t know there was that many students who wear a size bigger than a large,” Jackson said.

Plus-size women also feel that male students at FAMU do not treat them with respect due to their size. Most women at FAMU have always felt this way regardless of the size, but plus-size females notice the difference in treatment compared to slimmer female students.

Asia Fields, a political science major, says that men on campus tend to be more casual when it comes to intimate relationships. Fields said that most of the men who have found her attractive only want to be intimate in order to say they have been with a thicker girl.

“It’s really sad because sometimes I think someone wants to get to know me as a person, not just my body,” Fields said.

Plus-size women at FAMU are part of the reason why FAMU women are known to be very beautiful. But unfortunately, due to lack of representation, most of these students are coping with a lack of recognition and respect.

FAMU’s campus is known to accept all students and help everyone feel welcomed, safe and appreciated. With this in mind, no one should feel like an outcast because of their body type.