This column has come to an end! I hope what we discussed helped you learn to love yourself a bit more. And, of course, I hope it made you think a bit and challenge assumptions about fat sexuality and societal beauty standards. My goal is to enlighten and deconstruct, to help fat women empower themselves and take their body image and sexuality into their own hands. So if anyone started on the road to self-acceptance because of this column, I'm happy.
On Facebook today, Marilyn Wann shared an article on CNN.com about the health benefits of touch. She added "If being fat makes a person 'untouchable,' then that's a powerful confounding variable for claims about weight and health." I definitely agree, and of course media don't present fat people as worthy of physical contact particularly of a sexual nature. However, I think we do need to recognize that sometimes we shield ourselves from anticipated rejection by shunning the desire for touch, which is in and of itself unhealthy. It's not always that no one wants to feel the tactile pleasures of your body. We have to open ourselves up to receiving the sensory experience of intimate touch, which requires us to feel safe not only with a partner but with ourselves. Unfortunately, society doesn't make this an easy job.
Many of the ways we've talked about to combat dominant societal beauty standards and, in the process, boost your self-esteem/self-image, are subjective in nature. They involve presenting in a certain way to elicit the desired results: a new way of looking at fat sexuality. There's nothing particularly wrong with subjectivity in this sense, but when you take subjectivity to the personal level, the one-on-one level, it presents a problem. One commenter pointed this out in a roundabout way by complaining about women who say things like "Well, my boyfriend finds me attractive so that's good enough for me." Whether or not that attitude is annoying, it is certainly dangerous. Using perceived attractiveness (to a partner or potential partner) as a means to maintain your positive self-image is cheating on doing the work necessary to promote self-love.
I recently noticed that two commenters on my "Too Fat to F*ck" post expressed dismay at the idea of seeing ANYONE displaying sexual affection in public, not just fat people. I want to address this because that was not the point of the post. When I talk about bringing fat sexuality out in the open, I'm not talking about encouraging fat people to go have sex in a crowded parking lot. However fun that might be, it's not really effecting change to just have mass displays of public fat sex. I'm talking about not excluding fat people's sexuality in discussions about and representations of human sexuality. I'm saying the sexuality of fat people should neither be reviled nor ignored.
In so many questions submitted to Ask a Fat Girl, I was asked how to start loving your body. I gave many suggestions, but I want to touch on something that I think is integral to truly loving your fat body—taking responsibility for it. What I mean by taking responsibility is not denying culpability in your fatness to ward off judgment. You can't love your body and at the same time view it as being outside your control. I recognize that a main party line of many in the fat acceptance movement is often that fatness is not a choice. And I also recognize that when you're oppressed, it's easier to take the path of least resistance, which in this case would be the denial of culpability. To enjoy sex you must LIVE in your body, and living in your body means accepting the state it is in and the choices you make that affect it.
This is the last edition of Ask a Fat Girl for a while. Today we talk about classes on sizeism, first time sex, "compliments" on weight loss, what I do when I'm feeling down on myself, and more!
Hey! Here's the second edition of Ask a Fat Girl. This time we're talking about dudes who are in denial about being attracted to fat girls, good positions for two fat people to have sex in, how to deal with unwanted attention from fat fetishists, comparing yourself to skinny friends and more! Take a listen...
I talk a lot about lingerie, perfume, makeup etc. as ways for fat girls to feel sexy/enhance sensual feelings. These are all fine and good ways to do so—but what if your particular groove doesn't mesh with the more "femme" style of sexiness? Not every fat girl feels hot in skimpy nightclothes or red lipstick, and that's not necessarily because they don't feel good about how they look. Some fat women might find the pinnacle of sexiness in wearing boxers and a tank top. In a culture in which gender conformity is expected of not just fat women but all women, how does society treat fat girls who don't conform to gender stereotypes or engage in traditionally feminine behaviors?
In real life dating, as in pop culture, fatness is often treated as something a person has to overcome in order to be considered an acceptable romantic partner. The trope of the fat girl with the "great personality" ("great personality" being a common code phrase for "ugly" or "fat") who triumphs over dating adversity and finds a date who is able to see past the fat is commonly used in movies, television, and pretty much any other form of entertainment.