There’s been many, many fat activists and body-positive folks responding to the topics of dating, finding love, and intimacy while being fat. And, let me tell you, the responses have been ridiculous and the backlash agonizing. Anytime, I post commentary about plus-size dating, the conversation grows long and weary. I mean, dating in general has become trash since the boom of internet faux-ness, where you can get anything and everything in the matter of a few clicks, but dating for straight-size versus plus-size is very different.
When I got divorced, I went on a dating frenzy. Like, I had something to prove. I had never been boy-crazy prior to my marriage, but something about asserting my sexuality after years of being repressed was attractive to me. It became a sick obsession.
I had four dating apps in rotation. I’d spend hours swiping to the left or swiping to the right. I was on them so much, that I started to see some of the same guys on different apps. At a few points, I came upon the profiles of a friend’s ex and dudes I worked with in real life. So, if I saw them then they had to have seen me. And although embarrassing, it hadn’t deterred me from having seventeen separate conversations with different dudes in the city.
I was born in an era with one foot in the age of online dating and one foot out. Basically, I was still a bit clueless on how to navigate them. I thought the guys on the other end were like me. Just wanting to test the waters and perhaps find real companionship. Boy was I wrong.
On my dating profile, I was covered. Like if you were to go on my Instagram account, you’d see the same photos. I mixed in face shots with full body photos. I wasn’t trying to catfish anyone because I wouldn’t want anyone to catfish my ass. I wanted the possible suitor to know that I was, indeed, a fat woman.
The first message I got was a couple trying to have me as their third, as in third wheel, as in a threesome. I politely declined. The following messages would start off with men requesting that I ‘sit on their face’. No hi, hello, or how are you? They’d make disgusting comments about my hips and butt. Some of the white dudes, especially, would objectify my Black body, highlighting the size of my lips and what they’d do to them. I was sent unsolicited dick pics by the dozens. Being asking to send nudes was a common request. I was also fat-shamed by angry users who I wasn’t interested in.
I would tell my smaller friends who were using the same dating apps my stories. They’d shake their heads and tell me that they weren’t getting the same messages. They weren’t having men ask them to sit on their faces or make comments about how big their butt was or any body shaming comments.
I decided to delete every dating app because I was tired of being reduced to the curves on my body or the thickness of my lips. I decided to do some research on dating while fat and found so much stuff. I was not alone in my struggle. Women shared stories about being hidden away by their boyfriends because of their weight, being oversexualized and objectified based on the shape of their body, being fat-shamed, called names like pig and fat bitch when they declined sex or dates.
For women online who were plus-sized bloggers who dated or married a muscular or a socially ‘attractive’ man, trolls would leave nasty comments about how could someone so fat be with a fit guy, or he’s only using you for sex, or that’s impossible for him to actually love her.
So, according to the census, fat women don’t deserve love, their bodies are only reduced to an object only used for pleasing sexually, and no one who is socially attractive should ever want a fattie.
Before, I go any further I want to give folks who indulge in fatphobia a few facts:
Fat people are human beings. Stop asking fat people to hide themselves. We are allowed to take up as much space as we want. Don’t worry about why fat people are fat. Do you worry about why skinny people are skinny? You are not a physician. Clearly, you aren’t smart enough. Fat people deserve love. Fat people deserve intimacy. If you like fat women, that’s okay. Stop allowing your friends to dictate who you love. Stop being a coward and enjoining in fatphobic rhetoric when you truly don’t feel that way. And, lastly fat people aren’t fetishes.
By no means am I saying that smaller women and men don’t get picked on or objectified, but we don’t experience mass skinny-phobia were a model has loads of trolls under her photos saying things like omg, she’s just so small, is she even healthy? Is she anorexic? Why doesn’t she just eat a sandwich? She’s so ugly, who’d want to be that thin?
Instead we see comments praising her, we say that her body is bodygoals, we demean our own bodies, and skip a meal, we show our little girls that skinny is good and fat is bad. That if she is thin, she will be deserving of intimacy and love and money and beauty, but if she is big that she should go hide behind ill-fitting clothes and shrink herself. That she should just be happy with any man who deals her any ole kind of attention. That she shouldn’t strive for better because of the shape of her natural hips or the hugeness of her breasts and stomach.
Stop allowing men to body-shame you. Nip it in the bud every time, so that the next time he approaches a big girl he’ll know what’s up. Stop allowing thin privilege to shrink you. You do not have to be skinny to live your best life. Stop teaching your little boys and girls that they don’t deserve to take up space. Teach them to be healthy and confident at any size.
It’s time we nipped fatphobia in the bud.