I’m not like other girls. I’m different, and frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The truth is, the thing that people mock, the thing that attracts stares on the subway — it’s not a “flaw.” It’s what makes me…well, me.
And so, I ask you: Please stop body-shaming me about my tail.
I developed early, like a lot of tail-girls. I got my period in fifth grade, and my tail started growing mere months later. Believe me, it was not easy. In the locker room, the other girls would point at my backside and say, “Oh my goodness, what is that?” They even said I would never get a boyfriend. It stung. But not as much as it hurt when the tail pushed painfully through the skin of my lower back over the course of several years. Girls: We need to stop body-shaming our tailed friends! This kind of behavior is damaging and needs to stop.
It also doesn’t help that tails are often scaly and red when they first emerge.
As a teenager, I would stay up late reading magazines, and never once did I see a model who looked like me. Tailless bums stared back at me from every page. I felt like I would never be beautiful. And also that I would never be able to sit in a chair without a small hole in its seat.
Here’s the thing: Body-shaming isn’t just something people do to you; it’s something society does to you. Of course, I have nothing against my tailless friends — you do you, girl! — it’d just be nice to have equal representation.
Many girls with tails feel most ashamed of their bodies at the mall, and I was no exception. It was impossible to find clothes made for women with tails in department stores, and the pieces I managed to find in specialty stores or online were often ill fitting and frumpy. It took me years to understand that I shouldn’t be looking for clothes that would disguise my tail — I should be looking for clothes that would flatter it! I wasn’t beautiful in spite of my tail — I was beautiful because of it. So take that, haters. Keep your shame to yourself, or I’ll punch it with my tail.
At the end of the day, my tail does not define me. Sure, I’m proud of it (one more thing to accessorize!), but it’s not who I am. Do I dream of a day when every department store will stock a full range of trendy denim with tail holes? You bet. But for now, I’ll settle for acceptance.
But acceptance is rare for tailed Americans. Even my own doctors have body-shamed me throughout my life. When you’re like me, medical professionals tend to blame every little health problem on the situation at the bottom of your spine. “Jesus Christ,” my doctors growing up would say to my mother, and my stomach would drop. “We’ve never seen anything like this.” The stigma was just too strong. I felt so alone.
And my doctors’ harsh words didn’t help. One even suggested plastic surgery! Like are you serious, dude? What kind of message is that sending? Just treat my tail herpes and send me on my way!
Despite all the difficulties I’ve faced as a tail girl, I’m living my best life now. I wish I could face those girls from middle school and tell them how much happier I am now. Plus? A lot of guys love the tail. They say it’s sexy in its own slithery, writhing way. But it’s not really about them, is it? It’s about me.
I think my tail is sexy, and that’s what matters. I think my tail isn’t “distracting to your coworkers.” I think it can be just as high fashion as normal butts. And, mostly, I think its beautiful.
Isn’t it time you thought so, too?