I’ve avoided writing an entire blog piece about this, because it incites a visceral reaction – and not a good one. It typically brings up memories long fought to keep buried underneath all the mental and emotional work I’ve done to rise above them and not let them rule my life.
Recently, I joined a few groups/communities on Facebook. Yeah. The F word, again. I know, I know. The cause of many a night, tossing & turning over what I should’ve said to that one troll or relative. Moving on…The groups are/were dedicated to the BBW/BHM public. I was looking for some motivational, community attitudes regarding size acceptance.
In case you’re reading this and don’t know, here’s what those acronyms stand for:
BBW – Big, Beautiful Women
BHM – Big, Handsome Men
What I found was all but motivational. What I found in these groups was a tendency for the men to consistently ask what sexual positions the women in the group preferred, and the women just encouraged it. WHAT? Yeah, that’s right. So much for empowering ourselves. So much for taking a stand and insisting that men see us as more than our bodies. And so much for making sure society stops labeling all fat women as easy, because we’re desperate.
Do yourself a favor and don’t google anything about fat women being easy. You won’t like what you read. In fact, don’t google anything about fat women at all, unless you add the words “body positivity” or “fat acceptance” or “size equality” or something. And even then, do so with the understanding that the world just is what it is, and it isn’t going to change unless we show them. Each of us.
There are articles, blog posts, Facebook pages and even entire websites dedicated to the sole purpose of making fun of, demeaning, and hating fat people. Don’t go find them, unless you’re prepared to spend the next couple of days crying in the shower.
I’ve dropped all but one group, as it genuinely has the potential to be something more. When I say more, what I mean is that it has potential to impact lives – maybe only peripherally, but impact nonetheless. There’s more of an energy there (at least with the admins, of which I am one) of trying to do away with the fetishization (totally just made up that word) of fat women.
Honestly, I am so sick to death of the idea that big women are inherently easier to bed, because we have to take what we can get. The thing is, until we redirect the focus onto WHO we are, instead of what we will or won’t do in the bedroom (and how quickly we’ll go there), society’s view of us won’t change.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of women who don’t realize how prevalent this stereotype is. It is 100% as commonly believed as the assumption that fat people eat constantly and are lazy. And even more unfortunate is the sad, sad truth that when women of ANY size make themselves appear to be sexually promiscuous, we feed into that ridiculous assumption, which is, in FACT, a part of the hideous rape culture, because we’re saying that we are FIRST and FOREMOST a sexual object, and THEN a really good person…so just get to know us after we say all kinds of way sexual stuff, mmmkay?
Yes, being fat comes with a whole set of personal esteem issues. We fight harder to be heard, and to be seen as more than our bodies’ extra pounds. We have to dress better, be cleaner, work harder to get the same wage (yes, its true), and generally are forced to assert ourselves as HUMAN BEINGS. We have to be louder than our bodies are big, if we want to be taken seriously.
Hey, I didn’t make the rules, and I’m not making this up.
So when these women post memes/pictures/quizzes WITHIN these groups that call attention to sex, as if the group page is their own personal Tinder account, I can’t help but shake my head in sad, sad wonder. I want to ask them, “But who are you?”
I want to shout at them to… tell me something about YOU. Not the attention you crave so badly that you’re willing to ignore the obvious fact that by posting this crap, you’ve just held a sign over your head that says “I’M ONE OF THOSE EASY FAT GIRLS! I AM ONLY AS VALUABLE AS THE SEX I CAN PROVIDE! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! LOVE ME, DAMMIT, BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL! DO YA WANNA SEE BOOBS? I GOT BOOBS!”
Tell me about the princess you were and how she became the mighty woman I see dying to scratch the surface. I can hardly see her, because you’re holding a stereotype over her face. Stop posting memes about sex and start posting something real – something that graces us with your presence, not your heaving hormones.
Maybe its because I’m 42, and got my partying done in my 20’s and 30’s. Truthfully, I’ve been down that exact road. With men, I behaved exactly that way for too long than I’d care to admit. I waited on the guy who wasn’t ever going to love me. Like 9 of them. I’ve been there. I doted on someone who couldn’t be bothered to even call or text to cancel a date – just left me hanging. And then, when he finally deigned to grace me with his presence, I made damn sure I was ALL he wanted me to be. I made myself irresistible to him in every way that made him say all the things.
It made me feel powerful.
Until he did it again.
I’m pretty stubborn, so it took a while to learn that lesson. Like, several years and several men. Sad. And the thing is, when I finally started to realize the pattern, I could no longer distinguish between low self worth being the cause or the affect of that behavior.
Guess what… It was both.
There’s nothing empowering about creating a sexual persona that masks your heart and mind as the truth of who you are.
Read that sentence again.
One more time.
I’m sincerely hoping that this group, this community, really does steer the focus to more, ACTUAL empowering things…Like the stores that are getting rid of the “plus-size” departments in favor of just putting all sizes on the same rack. The fashion designer who chooses her models by their inspirational contributions to society (no matter their size) and designs clothes to fit that model – and that model walks the runway at Fashion Week. The fantastic new ad campaign by Lane Bryant and the amazing new show “This Is Us”, which features a plus-size woman in a real dramatic role – and NOT as the comedic sidekick or butt of anyone’s jokes.
These are signs of changes being made – not to promote obesity as healthy, but to love and accept each other and OURSELVES as we ARE, whatever part of our individual life journey we’re currently walking through. Fat shaming is the last socially acceptable form of prejudice, and its rampant…
It is absolutely up to us to break through that garbage – including and especially the one about super-charged sexuality being tied to low self worth. Because it is true in a lot of ways – The question is this: Is that how you really want to be seen?
Are you the sum total of your hormones – or are you a vital, thinking, breathing, emotional, giving, passionate, selfless, vibrant amazing and unique woman with a voice that deserves to be heard?
Look, I acknowledge that we’re all adults here. Do you, baby. But do a favor for those of us who want to be seen and heard for more than what’s between our legs, please?
Keep that shit on your Tinder profile and your Plenty Of Fish app photos. Stop feeding the beast that society wants to use as a justification for the things they do and say about fat people that are so, so very wrong.
Be more than that, ladies. You’re making the rest of us look bad.