- Originally written-July 26, 2007
- Edited-October 20,2010
I decided to make this my first article to edit and republish from my former site because it was the most responded to post I’d ever written, and one of the pieces I felt most proud of. I chose not to edit it such that it included experiences post 2007, as moving to Southeast Asia in April 2010 has brought about a wealth of experiences that warrant an entirely separate post.
My story begins with an incident of fat-shaming from an unlikely source…Weight Watchers.
I decided to attend a Weight Watchers meeting to get an idea of what their program was like in the summer of 2007. I had been married for a year and was interested in starting a family. Considering I’d had surgery on my back for a herniated disc in the fall of 2006, I was open to the idea that weight loss might make pregnancy easier on my plus-sized body and weak low back. Certainly I’d had no success on my own, and had a strong aversion to fad diets like Atkins. My Ob/Gyn at the time had suggested I look into Weight Watchers prior to attempting pregnancy (as it turns out, she was extremely fat phobic, although it took her saying she thought I’d never have a successful pregnancy until lost the weight…days after miscarrying my first pregnancy…for me to see that and to find a doctor who saw me as a person and not a FAT PERSON)
I walked into the Weight Watchers Center and was immediately engulfed by negativity and self doubt–theirs and my fellow fat ladies. Poster with various “motivational” sayings on them sent the message that “you’ll be worthwhile when you lose the pounds” and all the “victory” stories read “I was fat and no one loved me but since I lost 30 pounds everyone does.” The weekly card you get where they weigh you and note how many pounds you’ve gained or lost felt mocking and rather like public humiliation (the kind of thing teachers occasionally do to a kid who never does their homework—”Again, Timmy? Isn’t that the fifth assignment in a row you’ve missed?”). I looked around at the room, and felt bile rise into my throat. The unhappiness in that center was practicaly a palpable vortex of negativity.
Weight watchers fat-shames you into losing weight, I realized.
I turned around and walked out, not bothering to stay. No thank you, I wouldn’t be drinking that particularly toxic flavor of kool-aid.
As I walked out the car, I felt tears well in my eyes, and I felt the old revulsion towards my body rise up like a parasite, eating away at my confidence.
- You’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight
- Sorry we don’t carry size 16 (18, 20, 22, 24) in this store
- I don’t date fat chicks, but if you want to fuck….
- You really have the hips to birth some babies
- If you lost the weight you’d be the whole package
- Sorry, I just don’t find you attractive…I like thin girls
After a few minutes, thankfully, the self hatred was replaced by a blazing rage.
I am sick to death of “plus-sized” women beating on themselves. Sick of it to the point where I just want to grab the next fat girl who whines about not being able to get a date or how awful she looks and SLAP her.
In 2007, I weighed 235 pounds-a high for me. I wore a size 22 (occasionally a 20 or a 24) pant and somewhere in the XL to 2X top. I have been buying clothes in the “plus sized” stores since I was in middle/high school, and have spent my twenties in the 200-225 range. I certainly have street cred as a fat chick.
I get the whole body image issue.
I understand what it’s like to be surrounded by images that reinforce that skinny is the ONLY way to achieve sexiness. I too am horrified by the non-stop parade of faceless fat stomachs above the flashing words “Obesity EPIDEMIC” and have a nightmare that one day it will be my shirt, my stomach, my jeans on television. Occasionally the non-stop message that I will only be worthwhile once I lose weight does get to me, or I see a cute outfit that just isn’t available in my size (or attractive on my frame) and I have pangs of desire to lose weight.
My message to my readers (and the world)–When these messages destroy the confidence and self-worth of young women (and men) and they start to hate themselves, we’ve gone too far.
Yes, there are health issues associated with bad eating habits and extreme weight gain. But you never hear that you can be 220 and healthy as a horse. All that society wants us to see is the scary word EPIDEMIC (as though you can “catch”obesity ) flashing on the screen and people running in terror from the word FAT.
You can be fat and be sexy, attractive, and worthwhile. But here’s the catch—YOU have to believe it first. And creating that belief in the face of all that negative stereotyping is daunting.
Put down the kool-aid of self hatred and walk away from it.
The idealization of the stick figure is a new concept, and could only happen in a first world wealthy nation like the US. The concept of anorexia and bulimia are unfathomable to your average third world citizen. (Person who doesn’t get enough to eat–”You’re telling me that they have food, but don’t eat it or throw it up? What the fuck is that about?”) Historically speaking-extra body mass was proof of your wealth-it mean you could eat.
When you have a bigger body, you have boobs and an ass. Most men like that.
When I stopped hating myself and accepted the radical notion that I could be hot, the world changed for me. When I stopped hiding my body or trying to dress like I was 100 pounds smaller (or 100 pounds larger) than I really was, I began to find looks that worked for me. I gained confidence. With the confidence came the effort to really maintain my hair, the ability to apply makeup, the style to accessorize, and the skill to walk in heels. I had dates when I wanted them, lovers when I wanted them, and significant others. I found my partner, and married.
Ironically, in many ways, my looks helped weed out the idiots of the world. I saw my skinny friends date guys who picked them up because they were stereotypically hot, and then wasted weeks on these losers who never even noticed they had a brain or any substance beyond the hotness. Because I never tried (or could even if I wanted to) to hide that I was “fluffy” (as one friend calls it), the more shallow guys self selected out of my potential dating pool, and I was left picking between one smart (usually) sexy (usually) guy and another.
As I began to explore the online sex world, I realized exactly how many BBW (big beautiful woman) call girls there are, and they’re making money hand over fist. Once you see that, it’s hard to say that men don’t like big girls. As for bigger guys-I have known very few women who would dump a guy for being fat–being clingy, being possessive, having a ridiculously small dick, being stupid, refusing to have a real job, not treating us well–all valid reasons to dump a guy. Very few women (except those who are exceptionally shallow) will dump a guy over his weight.
In many ways, the lesson of my almost 30 years on this planet is this-you get what you expect. Expect to get walked all over, and you will be. Expect to be treated with dignity, and call people on it if you’re not, and you will be. Don’t hide behind your weight. If you don’t like it, do something about it. If, like me, you like your chocolate and your steaks and your heavy foods and aren’t willing to go through life on rice cakes and tofu, accept and embrace yourself. Be at peace with yourself-life’s too short to waste time on self hatred.
Learn to love yourself, just as you are.
There’s no reason you can’t be fat and sexy at the same time.
Filed under: Body Image | Tagged: Body Image | 1 Comment »