I am a fat girl. I have been for a long time. I don’t mince words or try and elide the fact that I am fat. I am okay with it. Most people are not.
Most of my friends are fit to very fit. Its partly living in Northern California. Its partly hanging out with burlesque and roller derby girls and rock climbing guys. I can keep up with some, but not all during hiking, running and the like.
I wear a bikini in public. I get naked on stage. I sunbathe naked. I love all of this.
I generally do not have an issue with my size. Except when my fit friends hate their bodies.
This isn’t sour grapes- an “Oh, if I had your body I would have no worries.” I know everyone hates on their bodies at some point. Even the most fit, most stunningly attractive folks have something they hate about their bodies. Even if the disappointment with their body is minor, as women we are trained to tell others how imperfect, how disappointing our bodies are.
As the fat girl in the room, here is what I hear when someone thinner or more fit says something about their body.
Thin Person: Oh my god! My thighs are huge! I can’t wear shorts unless I lose this weight!
What I Hear: Fat thighs are disgusting. I am looking at mine and hate them. I will pretend to ignore yours because I am polite and can’t say anything nice about them.
Thin Person: I am so fat! I look horrible.
What I Hear: I hate my body and these fifteen extra pounds. I won’t say anything about your body because all that extra weight disgusts me.
Thin Person: Look at these rolls (grabs stomach)!
What I Hear: I will politely ignore your body because there is nothing beautiful there.
Your self-criticism and silence on my looks speaks volumes. People thinner and fitter than me regularly state how much they hate their bodies, how their bodies are disgusting, how they so desperately want to change their bodies. These same people will never compliment me (unless I suddenly lose a lot of weight), and never say anything about my looks. This is true of friends and has been true of people I am dating and sleeping with.
The silence speaks volumes. As much as you compliment my skills, my creativity, my writing and so on, the fact that my looks are just politely ignored while theirs are the focus of constant self-criticism speaks volumes. I grew up in the same culture as you. I know if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. I know you hate my body and find it disgusting.
Its probably something most of you never think about. You see your self criticism and self-hate of your body as a personal issue. You probably think your silence is polite or may not have even realized you have never mentioned how I look. But fat girls notice all of this. We have worked really hard to be okay with ourselves in a society that says we don’t deserve to exist. Your silence about our looks and hatred of your own just reconfirm that.