Hi fat folks,
I hope that there are some of you reading this. Maybe you don’t self-identify as fat; that’s cool, you don’t have to. It’s something that I’ve just started doing and have found empowering. To reclaim a word that is often used to shame people allows me to define and control my own experiences being fat. But maybe you call yourself curvy, chubby, plus-size, big, voluptuous, or any other array of terms.
Either way, we have complicated relationships with our bodies. They carry us through our days just fine, usually, and they can be the sources of all kinds of pleasure, to ourselves and to others. But we’re often told by society that our bodies don’t deserve to be looked at, and that we should be ashamed of the way that our stomach slopes, thighs jiggle, and that we might have more than one chin. We shouldn’t feel pretty—never mind sexy—and we shouldn’t take up space (literally or figuratively).
It’s hard to find clothes that fit us that don’t resemble a 60-year-old retiree or a version of a 90s television mom – sorry, Jill Taylor. We are often openly mocked and snickered about in public, comedians who would never make a gay or a racist joke make easy jokes about us, and we face unsolicited health and fitness advice from friends and strangers alike.
There’s a really disturbing thing that a lot of fat people face as well; studies show that when someone’s BMI goes up, their risk of exhibiting risky sexual behavior also increases. This basically means that fat folks are more likely to have sex without a condom, have many casual partners, and have sex while intoxicated.
So, let’s talk: we need to start believing we deserve better.
I know it can be fucking hard to do that. When society tells you your body is a dreaded “before” picture and millions of dollars are spent helping folks do everything they can to not look like you, it’s hard to live in that body. We are sold the lie that only a very certain type of body is desirable and worthy of love and affection. We think we should be lucky and flattered that anyone would want to sleep with us at all or find us attractive. The fact that a “chubby chaser” is a thing shows that our bodies are fetishized and objectified. And still, in a society in which our bodies are considered unattractive, people are discouraged from admitting they’re attracted to us. All that is built against us and we’re reminded of it every damn day.
I’m not asking that you have sex with the light on, start loving your body (how many of us really love it? Leslie Kinzel says we should just stop hating it, I think that’s a good goal), or become a fat activist. I’m just asking that you start to believe, even if just for a minute a day, that you are worthy of respect. Start believing that you have a voice that deserves to be heard, even if it’s just asking to use protection or voicing your displeasure or even better – asking for exactly what you like and how you like it. We’re worth it.
Jodie will be continuing to write about sex on www.cherrystems.com for the summer.