“Hi: I’m Fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m Desperate”

In my senior year of high-school, I went from a pleasantly plump 160lbs to what most considered a horrific 210! I refused to take and keep any pictures of myself at the time of my graduation because I didn’t want any evidence of how I looked. I felt a lot of things: excitement at leaving the hell-hole that was my small-town high school, anxiety towards starting college, anxiety towards walking at graduation, fear that while walking at graduation I would trip and fall over the heels I couldn’t manage walking in post-weight gain. But I didn’t feel beautiful, or sexy, or like I had accomplished anything worth-while. In-fact, I felt exactly like I did my junior year when I found out the week of Prom that my date regretted asking me because he didn’t like ‘fat’ girls. Did that make you cringe? Because I was fucking flabbergasted. My worth within a relationship isn’t defined on my pant/bra/shirt/shoe/personal size.  Since I’m confidently fat and fabulous now, here’s a short list of even more cringe-tastic things men have confused as ‘compliments’ and appropriate pick-up lines:

 

  • “Yeah you could say I’m into bigger girls, gives me more to grab onto” -Casual acquaintance from my Drawing Class that I didn’t know.
  • “It depends on the person, like I’m not usually into fat girls but, you’re pretty cool!” -Message received on Tinder
  • “You know what they say about fat girls, the suck d*ck like they’re eating cake” -A weak attempt at a concession from a work coworker after talking to another coworker about the merits of fat girls and joking that there were none.
  • “You could always do ‘em (fat women) from behind, so you don’t have to see the gut jiggle” -Overheard at a College Party
  • “You’re not fat! I wouldn’t date a fat girl.” -Significant Other.
  • “Awe don’t say that about yourself you’re beautiful” -Well meaning guy in Brit. Lit, that looked terrified when I asked why I cannot be both fat and beautiful.
  • “At least yours is all in your tits! Big girls are only gross when its all in their gut.” -High School Classmate that interjected into a conversation that was about the back pain associated with big boobs.

The one thing all these cringe-tastic approaches, and the mega-burn from my previous prom-date, have in common is the commodification and objectification of women. Fat women still have worth, because you can still fuck ‘em! Although if you love fat women, it’s touted as a fetish or a bizarre sign of low self-confidence on the lover’s part. This backlash towards fat women, and the people who love them, stems from the basis that women—all women—have value exclusively as objects to look at or commodities to have sex with. The overwhelming shame and anxiety I held about my body began to fade away as I started exploring the “why” behind my shame and anxieties.

These pressures were forced on me both as a marketing tactic and as a result of patriarchal traditions where women are bought, sold, and bargained for as wives or for other social and physical capital. If I’m too scared to eat in-front of other people, they can market me weight-loss breakfast drinks! If I’m overwhelmed with the idea that I cannot be loved at my size, they can market me low-fat-no-guilt ice-cream to eat my feelings!  Our society has evolved beyond the point where women are possessions and markers of wealth, and how we view women’s bodies needs to catch up too. I’m fat but I’m not desperate. I’ll no longer be accepting back-handed compliments or put-downs, or any sort of bullshit about what I am, or am not. There’s no more guilt in my ice-cream. I’m my own interesting person with soft curves and a body that’s all mine. However, I still struggle with seeing myself as an actual person with value outside of being attractive.

Although I think I’m attractive, like with most things in life, I will never please everyone. So, I’ve decided to focus on making myself happy. Unlearning the stigmas pressed so heavily on my body and heart hasn’t been easy and it won’t be for anyone who’s lived in this media-centric society. I’m working on being a happier, healthier version of me, and that starts with being okay how I am—even if it’s not how I want to stay. After wearing tankinis and one-piece swimsuits for over a decade, I wore a sports bra and shorts this summer at a water park. And unlike junior prom and graduation, I felt beautiful, comfortable, and happy. My life isn’t some late-night-infomercial about “how happy I am now that I’ve lost weight.” In all honesty, I’m only under 190lbs, and I haven’t lost weight, because that’s not the goal anymore. I love my body, and no one else needs to.