Olive Chiemerie and her cousin were practically sisters: Neither of them had a sibling and they were raised in the same household they shared with Olive’s father, two aunts, and grandmother.
Because of their closeness, Olive expected to be named her cousin’s maid of honor but was actually overlooked. The reason? Because she was “too fat.”
Olive’s cousin had a very specific image of what she wanted her wedding to look like and she was surprised when she learned she wouldn’t be her cousin’s maid of honor.
“I guess going by the bond I thought we shared, I naturally assumed I’d be her maid of honor,” Olive said. “It was supposed to be non-negotiable, but she didn’t ask me. I also didn’t want to have to ask her, I firmly believed it’d be me.”
How One Woman Responded to Her Cousin’s Announcement
Photo by Terje Sollie
Her cousin broke the news to Olive in front of a mutual friend while the three were discussing wedding details.
“She said she’s still contemplating which of her light-skinned, slim friends to ask to be maid of honor,” Olive said. “I was stunned. Our mutual friend was stunned too. What??? She said yes, she doesn’t want me because I am fat and would ruin the maid of honor aesthetics — that it’s usually slender, light-skinned girls who gets to be maid of honor. I felt insulted. Our friend said she felt insulted on my behalf too.”
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Olive wasn’t hurt just because she couldn’t be in her cousin’s wedding party, she was upset by her cousin’s reasoning.
“If it was that she felt she had a friend she was closer with whom she shared a bond much greater than the one we did, I’d understand because of course, that we’re related shouldn’t be the sole determinant — but it was only just about the aesthetics,” Olive said.
“I should add that I wasn’t particularly enthused by the maid of honor part, I wasn’t overly looking forward to it, my angst and hurt isn’t because I don’t get to be maid of honor, I’m not upset about that. It’s the fact that she not only didn’t think me worthy, but she also doesn’t realize or understand why it hurt me.”
The Final Ultimatum a Woman Received
Olive’s cousin gave Olive an ultimatum: lose weight before the December wedding or no maid of honor role.
Instead of listening to her fat-phobic family member’s demands, Olive decided not to attend the wedding altogether.
“I told her I wouldn’t be attending the wedding because — if she felt so ashamed of and embarrassed by me — who’s to say my presence alone wouldn’t destroy the wedding aesthetics? She said I was overreacting because it really wasn’t that deep, that it was her choice to make.”
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She took to Twitter to share her experience.
“My closest cousin, the closest thing I have to a sibling, has officially confirmed I won’t be her maid of honour cos I’m too fat for a maid of honour role,” Olive tweeted.
She knew her choice to not go would upset her family, but she had to stick up for herself.
“My family will swear I’m wicked and no nonsense cos I reward meanness with the same level of vim,” Olive tweeted.
How One Woman Chose Herself Over the Opinion of Others
Photo by Antoni Shkraba
The internet has commented on the situation and approved Olive’s decision to stay away from the wedding.
“That’s just unnecessarily cruel. Sorry the is happening to you,” said one user.
The support has meant a lot to Olive.
“I feel validated and understood,” Olive said. “I want more fat women to realize that the bodies the media and fashion industries keep shoving in our faces as perfect and ideal are largely highly unrealistic, plus we can’t all have the same slender body build.”
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And even though her cousin’s comments were so unkind, Olive still has a great relationship with her body.
“I don’t love this body despite being fat, I love it because it is mine, slim or fat. So if I do decide to embark on a weight loss journey, I’d do it not because I hated my fat body nor to feel better about myself nor to cower to pressure, but because I want to,” Olive said. “I will love this body in every shape, every form.”
Olive didn’t let somebody else tell her what she needs to do with her body. She stood up for herself, ignored the cruel words of others, and now inspired many women who have been in a similar situation to love themselves.
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