Sex and the Fat Girl: Interview with "Fat Bitch!" Creator Erica Watson

Erica Watson in a black dress seated on a red chair

I had the pleasure of attending the April 30 performance of Erica Watson's "Fat Bitch!" The show incisively cut through the societal baggage attached to being a fat woman using humor (hilariously!) and personal anecdotes. The finale video is something I hope everyone eventually gets to see because it is a work of comedy art. I got the chance to meet Ms. Watson after the show and she graciously agreed to answer some questions for me about her performance via e-mail.

Tasha Fierce: Your show uses humor (very deftly) in addressing issues like the media's constant attack on fat women's self-esteem. Have you found that dealing with the pain of society's treatment of you as a fat woman in a humorous way has been effective in your personal journey towards body acceptance?

Erica Watson: Life is funny! I can't control the things that people do to me, but I can surely control my reaction! I have chosen to take it all in stride. By pointing out the absurdity of society's obsession with weight it helps me cope because I can show that I am not the one with the problem! If you do not like a person because of their size then YOU have the issues.....not me!

TF: You mention going to a BBW party and being objectified by the men there. When it comes to "BBW lovers," do you feel we should we find comfort in the feeling of being desired or do you feel that their gaze is more one of oversexualization/fetishization?

EW: For some men, it totally is a fetish. For others, I think they really like plus-sized women and think they are beautiful. It's not a one size fits all issue (pun intended). What kind of world do we live in when a man has to be ashamed of liking a woman because of her size? That is so stupid! On the other hand, I have met men who said they go to BBW parties because they prefer full-figured women, but when they approach those women at a "regular" club, the women are shy, insecure, and not receptive to the advances. Ultimately I want someone who loves me inside and out. Like me because I am a beautiful person—period. If a man prefers full-figured women for genuine reasons, that is great. But if a guy is a "chubby chaser" because of a fetish, or because of the perception that "big girls" are easy and have low self esteem, I can not support that!

TF: Much of the show lampoons the "mammy" stereotype applied to fat black women. Would you say this stereotype strips fat black women of their sexuality? What are some ways you think we can reach equilibrium between oversexed and desexualized?

EW: Mammy is an asexual "magical negro" who is all-knowing and full of "tell-it-like-it-is" wisdom. She spends so much of her time caring for others, and is always the "window" character for some white damsel in distress....but we never really know much about her. She has children, but the father is never around. On the other hand, in the real world I've read reports that "bbw" porn is the third-largest selling porn in the U.S. Everywhere you look, there are sex ads and dating ads specifically for plus-size women. It's weird. We go from one extreme to the other. From non-existent to a fetish. I think part of the problem is that many plus-size women are ashamed of their bodies, and believe that the only way to receive sexual attention is behind closed doors. We have to embrace our beauty first, then the rest of the world will follow.

TF: I loved the part of your show about your search for an orgasm. It really highlighted how out of touch so many women, not just fat women, are with their bodies' capabilities for sexual pleasure—not of their own accord, but due to society's ideas on what women's sexual fulfillment looks like. What advice can you offer women on how to get to that point where you're comfortable with your body and/or your sexuality?

EW: It sounds like a cliched catch phrase, but you really must love yourself first. You have to literally strip down, butt naked and make an honest assessment of who you are—what you look like—and learn to love your body as it is. Once you can really look at yourself and embrace your so-called "flaws" and celebrate them you can start to have some fun with your body!!! Make love to yourself!! Be good to yourself!! If you don't, you will never be able to experience sexual pleasure.

TF: What gave you the idea for this show? Was it hard getting something out of the mainstream like this produced and funded?

EW: When I first started doing comedy, I was told that if you talk about things that you are passionate about, you will have great original material that no one can copy! I really wanted to express my anger with the world and size discrimination...but I felt a traditional stand-up set would not do the topic justice...so I decided to do a one-woman show. This format allows me to dig deep into the issues without having to be concerned about punch lines. It was not hard for me to get the show produced at all because it is a mainstream show. Stereotypes and being put in a box are themes that everyone can relate to. My show, in theory is a black feminist perspective...but it's done in a way that does not scream at you, or alienate anyone. Men have been my biggest supporters, and they really love the show. My show is produced by Nazr Mohammed, who is a Center for the OKC Thunder. Who would ever think that a NBA World Champ would produce a show called "Fat Bitch!", but he did because he understands that the show is something that everyone should see. Columbia College Chicago and Steve Pink came on board because they too understand the universal theme of everyone wanting acceptance. I feel so blessed that people from all walks of life can embrace my show!
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Hopefully "Fat Bitch!" will make it to a town near you—if Erica's run in L.A. is a success an expansion may occur. For those interested, you can follow Erica on Twitter as @EricaWatson and you can also find her on Facebook.

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Comments

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Whoa

Too bad she most likely won't hit my neck of the woods, but this show sounds great!

I also found this simple statement to be really powerful:

"If you do not like a person because of their size then YOU have the issues.....not me!"

AMEN!!! I try to get this

AMEN!!! I try to get this across to so many women. You don't have to turn yourself into a "fetish" fantasy to be loved, admired, and respected by men. Or other plus size women for that matter. When you can stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself naked and feel ok....you are doing great! BBWs can be Big and Beautiful and Sexy without being trashy!