Thank you for calling me fat
The body positivity movement is a lie. As a person who’s lived their entire life in a fat
body, no one has a harder time accepting my body than society. Calvin Klein is now
including fat bodies in their ads and it’s been anything but heartwarming and
exhilarating for me. Seeing people like Tess Holiday on the covers of skinny magazines
like Cosmopolitan has shaken me to my fat core but it’s also left me feeling a little sick
to my stomach. I will always celebrate fat bodies who became the firsts, but why now?
After years of being to be seen as less than desirable, why are we suddenly giving the
fashion industry, one of the most damaging industries, a gold star? It’s like taking back
the boyfriend who dogged you out and called you fat on the way out. I thought we were
doing better for ourselves in 2021?
I’ve always been fat. I can remember being six years old and hearing my mother asking
“how the hell did you get so big?” As if I was the one cooking for and feeding myself. By
the age of twelve, I had already tried the South Beach Diet, and by fourteen, I was on
Ephedrine. My parents never missed the opportunity to remind me that I was fat, and
neither did complete strangers, acquaintances, and family members. I can even
remember my father being so angry with me because his best friend asked him how he
could’ve let me get so fat. This could be heartbreaking if it wasn’t a man judging the
body of a 14 year old out loud. I can even begin to tell you how much I internalized this
man’s words for years. I also believe that this man never thought for one second that he
said anything disgusting or disrespectful.
That’s the thing when you’re fat, the whole forgets that you’re a person with feelings and
not an actual beached whale.I don’t think anyone ever let me forget my fatness. The
revulsion and the hate they all must’ve felt for my body just seeing it exist. Too many fat
people have lived that existence, we’re taught from an early age that love, for us, is
conditional on our fatness. That acceptance and love can only come if you’re in a skinny
body, and that you’re not worthy of any of it if.
The damage done to my mind and my body has and is taken forever to hear. Their
hatred of my body seeped into every part of my subconscious. I could never walk up to
someone and comment on their body, what the fuck gives me the right? It could be that
as a black and queer person, that I understand what it is to be so despised for
something that you can’t control. I hear it all the time “ you have such a pretty face, you
just need to lose some weight.” As if I couldn’t possibly be happy with what I see in the
mirror. Being fat is not a character trait, it’s just the body I was born in. It might seem
that this fat should occupy my every waking moment, it doesn’t. Imagine a world where
skinny and fat people have the same worries, dreams and concerns for their life. Now,
imagine a world where fat people are not reminded of their largeness.
Rappers are rapping about BBW (big beautiful women), thick has been substituted for
the word fat, and people are getting fat and silicone pumped into their bodies by
professionals or hustlers. Being big has finally paid off for everyone but us. The damage
created by these same people has traumatized a lot of us forever; whether we lose
weight or not. Fat people are still ridiculed while boarding flights or just living their basic,
fat lives. Fat humour is still used as movie plots and comedians are still cracking fat
jokes. So what’s there to feel good about? The fact that we still pay more for clothing
than our skinnier counterpart? Or the fact that we still can’t go to McDonald’s and eat in
peace? What’s the appeal in knowing that a designer might make clothes for people my
size but they're only available online. Would having these items hanging in a store
reveal the shameful secret that fat people want to be fashionable? Fat people are still
going to stores only to be told that they don’t carry anything in their sizes before they’ve
even made it through the door.
Designers are finally understanding the purchasing power of fat people, but I think that
it’s us as fat people who don’t fully realize the power that we hold. We stay screaming
“body positivity,” but we don’t realize that there is nothing wrong with our bodies in the
first place. We don’t realize that we can take up space however our bodies demand it.
I’m tired of allowing others to dictate the comfortability of my body in this society. We
didn’t have to wait this long to create a market and a world for us and by us. I know it
sounds like I’m putting the blame squarely on us, and for some of it, I am. We allowed
ourselves to be manipulated, felt like we needed them, but what we really needed was
each other and our voices. Instead, we’ve allowed them to take over a movement meant
for fat bodies, remarket it to us in a way where they’re still telling us what kind of fat
bodies are acceptable.