Body Positivity

Cosmo: On Being Fat

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This is a different kind of post. All the brilliant plus-size bloggers have been answering a series of questions published in Cosmo recently about fat women’s experiences (read here). As a plus size blogger of a different genre I’ve thrown tits to the wind and filled it in too. If you’re not interested, make like the great Dionne Warwick and walk on by.

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
Mostly, I don’t really care, or I feel sorry for them, or I roll my eyes until I strain my face. It depends on the context. Like, last summer, I went to a ridiculously opulent rooftop bar with a pal of mine. It was brimming with women who could power dress the shit out of every ex-Apprentice contestant put together without spilling a drop of their Veuve Clicquot. I was enjoying a piss in a glossy bathroom that resembled the set of every coke scene from every 80s movie ever, when I overheard two women bitching about how much they hated their fatty arms. When I stepped out the bog, their conversation stopped cold. They were very thin women, and I was a size 20 in Daisy Dukes and a homemade Patti Smith vest that showed most of my bra. Maybe they were embarrassed, maybe they were being polite. Maybe they were stunned into silence by the mesmerising sight of my bingo wings rippling under the Dyson AirBlade – I’ll never know. It doesn’t matter though. How they felt about their bodies didn’t reflect upon how I felt about mine, and how they felt about mine was completely irrelevant because I was pissed up in a ridic bar in a pair of booty shorts and that’s basically as good as it gets.

How has your body image changed since high school? College?
When I was a teenager, I believed all the propaganda Sugar spouted. They could write about body confidence until their fingers were bloody stumps, but ultimately their exclusive use of thin models told me all I needed to know, and therefore I thought I didn’t look right. I was short and a UK14/16. I had long bright blonde mermaid hair and clear skin and straight teeth and healthy bones, but I predominantly recognised myself as Fat and that’s all I thought anyone else saw. It’s not like I hated the way I looked, but I overcompensated. When we went to parties or under 18 garage nights, I would use subtle techniques to draw attention to my assets, like gently directing the eye to my knockers with massive rhinestone arrows  or glow stick necklaces that illuminated my cleave like the aurora borealis. Anyway, I’m now so much fatter, and my hair is a kinky mousy blonde, my skin is blotchy, my wisdom teeth are fucked and my boobs are making a bee-line for my knees but fucking hell, stick me in my party pants and I’ll tear the night a new one.

Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I’ve never dieted in the faddy sense, but I go through phases of smugly blending green smoothies and eating alfalfa sprout salads and saying things like, I JUST FEEL SO MUCH HEALTHIER WHEN I SHOP LOCAL and then I go through (longer) phases of deep fried grilled cheese decadence. It’s how I maintain such a stunningly consistent apple shape.

Seattle Snack 02Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I don’t care. The genetics of fat are totally irrelevant to the treatment of fat people, both medically and socially. Although for what it’s worth, I happen to be in possession of a grainy 70s pic of my mother doing jazz hands on stage in a halter neck cossie (that she crafted herself by tying the sleeves of a long sleeved body around her neck). Let me tell you: that sassy figure could out-bang Jessica Rabbit on a Saturday night. If she hadn’t spent the 70s dancing as a show girl* then she might’ve packed the pounds like I do, but we’ll never know.

(*actual profession: nursing).

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
Am I healthy, or am I healthy for a fat chick? That’s what I hear when I hear that question.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
Yes and yes. Next.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
Fucking provide them. The media loves to sensationalise how fat the UK is, how the “obesity epidemic” is sweeping the nation like piss creeping from the porta-loos to the muddy fields of Glastonbury, so why are high street shops taking an age to catch up? Why are they releasing exclusive plus-size ranges instead of adding bigger sizes to their core range?

So: how can retailers improve their shit? Let us be proud of our silhouettes. Offer us high fashion, let us flaunt a bit of flesh. Ditch the endless chorus line of peplums and cold shoulders, waterfalls, batwings and no-frills basics. It’s exciting to see more high street retailers embracing the thick chick clientèle – and so many brands are nailing it – but most still lean towards the chic conservative, the billowing basics. Basically I want every retailer to take tips from Candy Strike.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
Yes, of course plus-size women and plus-size men are treated differently. Women are starting a body confidence revolution, we’re dancing in our bras and writing blogs and posting selfies of our best fuck-you-I’m-fabulous poses and trolling Dove on Twitter. Men are – wait, does anyone know what the men are doing?

Real talk, though. Big guys are my chubby brothers and when it comes to fighting for basic shit like dignity, healthcare and autonomy, we plus size pals are all in it together. (Except of course in all the ways we’re not.)

P1030576Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-sized people? How would you respond to it?
Absolutely, of course there is. The night before Christmas eve I was working in the bookshop, and a customer came in and told me that her mother had just died. It was an emotional conversation that ended with her presenting me with a little diamante pin as a gift for being such a good listener.

She then totally ruined it by handing me a McDonald’s apple pie with the parting words: “You look like a girl who likes her desserts.” It was an accurate assumption but it  spunked all over the moment (plus McDonald’s is only good for McFlurries and fries – gtfo with your pie, ma’am).

On a more serious note, you want to know what a fat stereotype is? Google ‘James Gandolfini last meal’. Fat celebrity dies suddenly. Within a day – family frozen in a tableau of grief – some tabloid cunt is scrabbling to publish the details of the celeb’s final meal with all the dignity and compassion of a channel four exploitumentary: STAR’S DEADLY DINNER: FAMILY BUCKET OF DEEP FRIED OREOS, BACON GLAZED DOUGHNUTS AND A TRIO OF TRIPLE BUTTER MARGARITAS. That’s fucking horrible sensationalism that I find really crass and disrespectful.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
Yes: when someone expresses concern about their weight to you first, and you are capable of lending non-judgemental support, listening and offering advice within your field of expertise. Unsolicited fatty advice is a big fat fucking nope, as is unsolicited weightloss advice. If someone close to you seems unhappy and you think it might be related to their weight, talk to them about their unhappiness because as a pal, that’s your area.

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? How did you respond?
My brother told me I wouldn’t suit a fringe and our relationship hasn’t been the same since. Aside from Fringegate, I’ve got nothing. Sometimes I get shit in the street from basics, but it doesn’t really stick to me because I’m blubber and they’re poo.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would complement your body or appearance?
Hair on a good day, but I’m a lazy personal groomer so it’s usually a mediocre day. My boobs sometimes cause a hullabaloo on a night out but I don’t really give a shit either way. Boobs are so arbitrary. Little pucks or pendulous knockers: boobs are boobs, and they’re brilliant, but we’re too hung up on tits because patriarchy.

I would like to receive more compliments on my eyebrows because I’m really going against the grain with these unruly caterpillars and I think I’m owed some recognition for my leap of faith that the monobrow will come back. I love a strong hairy brow, like Gaby Hoffmann.

gaby-hoffmann-joue-le-role-de-caroline-la

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
None of my friends are close to my size. Most of my gal pals who wear similar dress sizes are much taller than me, with totally different silhouettes. I’m this thick titch bitch with a massive rack. So yeah, I have friends that relate to fat chat but we’re always approaching the discussion from slightly different places.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
Nah.

f92ff87218af11e387db22000aa803d4_7When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
I don’t think so, no. It did when I was at school, but who doesn’t let some hang up hold them back when they’re a teenager?

Do you feel weird if the person you’re with only dates larger people?
Do you feel weird if they have only dated slimmer people before you?
When I was younger, I’d feel a weird sense of relief if I found out my new squeeze had dated fat women in the past – perhaps I thought there was a knack to it, like poaching eggs or driving stick. I’ve never really been one to care much about exes though, and now I don’t really give a fuck. I feel weird if things aren’t right. I feel weird when their ex turns out to be their current and I feel weird if I seem to be doing all the work. The waistband of an ex – fat or thin – doesn’t really matter.

Charlotte of Black Heart Creatives (the brains behind the custom Smokin’ Tofu earrings in the above photo) has compiled a list of bloggers who’ve answered these questions over on her blog, so take a looksee.

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