Originally published: 12.08.12
As a fat woman who will never be thin, a fat woman with no desire to be thin, I often come across people who hate me for nothing but my size. To be a fat woman in America means to be invisible in many ways because of the social construction of beauty. When you carry extra weight on your body people expect you to make yourself scarce, they expect you to be humble at all times and in a constant state of apology for the way you look; and when you aren’t you are subject to ridicule and shame. And when you are, you get taken advantage of and are STILL subject to ridicule and shame. Lose-Lose, in a lot of ways. I, like many other women have learned that a woman is judged first by her desirability in this society and that desirability is measured by how close that woman comes to the ideal norm. Thinness, along with alot of other traits both physical & personality wise, is one of the things used to measure desirability or beauty. Some women are born automatically missing this mark (women of color for instance) and some women develop into missing that mark (full figured women). However you arrive outside of this beauty ideal, the consequences are upsetting and wreak havoc on a woman’s perception of herself which in turn can set her up for all manner of ill use and shaming by other people. So what happens when a woman who is outside of this norm, or even when a woman matches this norm PERFECTLY, comes to love herself? It is a beautiful thing to defy the world you live in by daring to love yourself the way you are but for alot of people, loving yourself comes with hating someone else. This is where that negative dichotomy comes into play. This is what I mean: I have known aloooot of fat women who have struggled with the way that they look and the only way they could get on top of their poor self image was to make what they couldnt be, thin, a negative thing. So one question for today’s blog is, why does thin have to be ugly for fat to be beautiful?
Why does thin have to be ugly for fat to be beautiful? Why does fat have to be ugly for thin to be beautiful? There is something that disturbs me about having plus size friends who refer to thin women as “skinny bitches” or who call thin women “grossly thin”. It normally says more about the fat person who is hating the thin person than it does about the thin person. The thing is, hateful words like those suggest insecurity in fat women. I have been called a fat ass and other fat insults by thin women who absolutely HATE me because I have the gall to take up space without apologizing. The looks I get when I’m in public in a short skirt or dress or tight pair of leggings, express the vehemence of women who have not learned a healthy way to love THEMSELVES. When I was younger my mom would tell me that people who were mean to me were just jealous…in alot of ways she had a point. Most of the women who get suckered into this negative dichotomy feels like they have to fight constantly to keep the worlds attention. Whether fat or thin, othering other women is about not wanting to be invisible and wanting to be powerful. True self confidence, true self esteem stem from self love, and self love makes you powerful AND visible.We are encouraged to measure ourselves against each other constantly and it profits us NOTHING but to create an “other” in order to make ourselves visible. When the basis for your self esteem and your self confidence is gained by othering other people then the foundation for your self esteem and confidence is fickle. It sets you up to always be in competition with other women over the way that you look, it gives you negative thoughts about women who dont look like you and it cheapness the journey into self acceptance because it is less about self love and more about the power involved in telling yourself you are superior. I understand this desire, as a fat woman, to make thinness unattractive. It’s a heady feeling…declaring thinness unattractive while the majority of the world holds a different opinion because thinness is one of those beauty norm ideal traits. Rejecting thinness in favor of fat and then declaring thinness to be ugly or inferior…in a lot of ways makes me feel better because no one wants to accept me for my size…its almost like armor, a first line of defense…but true self love is armor in and of itself. It does not require you to hate on, dismiss or judge anyone else because it is about YOU.
I’m writing today because I want to encourage thin and fat women alike to begin their journey into high self esteem and self confidence with a foundation of SELF love. If you constantly compare yourself to other women, like you are encouraged to do, then you will always come up short. This will leave you with two options, take a hit to your self esteem or make what you are compared with inferior. My suggestion is to stop the comparison all together. Measure yourself against YOURSELF because your esteem, confidence and love is not really FOR anyone else.
Fat Fem Pin Up: I am a fat activist, child rights advocate, womanist/feminist, poet with an affinity for selfies. I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and I work for a children protection agency. I plan to obtain a masters before I become a mother. I’m single but quite taken by good books, fancy living and chicken wings. @FatFemPinUp