On loving fat bodies, and not forming an identity around it
I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experiences loving fat bodies and people with fat bodies for a while. This is not that post. This is a post about something someone else wrote about loving fat bodies (and not really about loving people with fat bodies) that has provided me with a great example of what not to do. This piece of trash (TRIGGER WARNING FORREAL Y’ALL) found its way onto my dashboard by way of the lovely Jessica, and you can find some really great dissection of it here.
One of my issues with this piece (because really, there are so many that I could never get to them all), in addition to all of the very important concerns that other folks brought up, is this guy’s understanding of the implications of his attraction to fat women (around whom he makes some very stringent weight requirements and uses all kinds of descriptors for various weight ranges that it seems impossible to me that fat women could have chosen for themselves). It apparently led him to feel that he needed to seek community with other straight dudes who liked fat women. His “fat appreciation” community is set up to defend men who are attracted to fatness against the alleged onslaught of oppression that they receive (“It really is kind of like being gay, I guess.” Direct quote. He said that permanently on the internet), and to normalize their attraction so that people stop calling them freaks and perverts.
It’s like this man has never actually met a fat woman, let alone tried to think about what her experience, um, being fat, might be like. If I’m getting shit for dating someone fat—which I never am because I do not countenance that nonsense—it should be clear to me that I am not actually the one under attack; they are. Duh. So unlike this creeper here, I am led to understand that my solidarity must be with fat people who are working to dismantle systems that ridicule them for living their lives and declaring themselves worthy of partners who are attracted to them for a variety of reasons including their physical appearance. Instead of campaigning for my right to be attracted to whomever I please, I should be doing my part to remind people that everyone should be able to claim their own body as attractive. If we all had that power, Mister Fat Admirer wouldn’t have to worry about “what a cruel fate [he had] to be born an F.A. in this misguided age” (direct quote; it’s that serious). Besides, I find that allying myself to fat communities is a much better way to be around people who love fat people.