Does My Head Look Big In This By Randa Abdel-Fattah
Self-esteem fluctuates day to day and hour to hour. In the novel, Does My Head Look Big In This, Randa Abdel-Fattah shows how oppression divides society into two distinct groups of the dominant and the subordinate. This invisible barrier between the social classes causes the inferior individuals to question their morals and values. This results in anxiety and a decline of self-esteem. Likewise, Simone’s journey to lose weight, Leila’s arguments with her family, and Amal’s experience wearing the hijab explore how oppression lowers self-esteem.
By analyzing Simone’s journey to lose weight, readers can see how society uses difference as a means of alienating groups of people. Unable to tolerate Tia’s bullying and her mother’s complaints to lose weight, Simone makes an unhealthy and risky decision to start smoking as an alternative to her diets. In response to Simone’s new diet, Amal, her best friend, says “you’re crazy. It’s addictive. It says so on the pack! It’s like getting into a car with a big warning sign [saying:] ‘if you drive this car, you will eventually die’” (Fattah 234). Unfortunately, Simone’s bullying experiences and her mother’s disapproval against her weight causes her to despise her body image. Instead of embracing herself and acknowledging her self-worth, Simone strives to change her physical appearance due to a biased perception of beauty. What first started off as social oppression to lose weight, later emerges