Hey, Can We Stop Being Mean to Fat Girls?

About six months ago, I decided to do one of bravest things I have ever done on social media.  In an Instagram caption, I openly called myself “fat.”  I was not fishing for compliments or validity for people to tell me the opposite, in fact I just wanted to stop hiding from the truth.  Of course I received comments like, “Emily, you are not fat!”; “You are perfect!”; “Stop being mean to yourself”; “You are not fat, you are beautiful!”  Now I am sure my friends meant the best because they are kind people, but their comments are reflective of a bigger problem in society: we think being fat is the worst thing a woman could possibly be and that being fat excludes you from the pleasures of life.  I would be lying to you if I said that I was not a part of the problem.  People have called me many names in life, most of which I have let rolled off my back, but I remember every single time I have been called fat.  It hurt, deeply.  I felt worthless.  I felt ugly.  But now I wonder why? They are way worse things in this world to be than fat.  You can be mean, you can be ignorant, you can be obnoxious, but for some reason being labeled as fat is worse than all of these combined.


We can see this clearly within the people we look up to the most: celebrities.  For example, when Gigi Hadid made fun of Asian’s eyes and wore black face, that barely earned a Buzzfeed article.  Nobody cared that she was openly ignorant and hateful because she is beautiful and thin.  However, when Selena Gomez was accused of gaining weight and wore a bikini (which if we are being honest, she was still thin), people were up in arms and Selena had to make an Instagram post defending those ten pounds she gained.  What are we teaching our girls? That we should care more when a woman gains weight than if she offending people?  Yes, that is literally what evidence has shown.


Looking to media, we do not see fat women as “desirable” or “attractive” we see them as tools for comedy or motherly figures we do not have to think about sexually.  For example, whenever Melissa McCarthy has a romantic encounter in any of her films, it is seen as hilarious and desperate, because who would ever want to be with a fat woman?  With other fat actresses, like Octavia Spencer, she is seen as very talented, but will never be cast as a romantic lead because even that is too fictional for the movies.  And when the media does try to sexualize fat women, like Ashley Graham, it is seen as revolutionary.  Wow, people find fat people attractive? Who knew? In addition, many people get upset.  “Stop promoting this unhealthy life style!” “I am not attracted to women who look like this, stop throwing it in my face.”  Thanks Greg with a fedora hat in your profile picture, but I don’t think Ms. Graham cares about your opinion.


Overall, we think fat women are undeserving of love and happiness.


Now, to stop being mean to fat women does not mean you have to be attracted to them.  That’s fine, they are plenty of body types that people are not attracted to.  It just seems that being fat receives the most attention. 


To get back to me, how did I teach myself that being fat was okay? That I was still beautiful and that I still deserved love and happiness when everything I see around me is telling me otherwise?  First off, I had to learn that other people calling me beautiful was not going to make me feel beautiful.  Only I had the power to do that.  I wrote down things I liked about my body and my personality and there were a lot of things I did not realized I loved until I had to think about them.  In addition, I decided I was going to accept my body for what is was, not be ashamed of it.  I learned my body is not a tool for others, but rather is something that helps me live.  It takes care of me, and I should appreciate it.  Lastly, I started looking up to fat confident people on Instagram and Twitter who helped me love myself.  If they could love themselves, so could I.  


Learning to love yourself at any size is hard as even the skinniest of girls will brew self-hatred.  We all need to learn that we deserve to love ourselves. We deserve to exist in our bodies.  We deserve to be confident.  And nobody should tell us any different.