There was a brilliant, in my opinion, article published on the cosmo site a couple of days ago of the same title (link here), so a big gang of us plus size bloggers decided we’d like to give our answers to the questions asked. From my point of view, it’s really important that our voices are heard and experiences are shared. Good or bad. I have literally copied and posted the questions and will answer as honestly as I can. You know me.
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
It pisses me off. I can’t help but take it as a personal attack. That may just be me being a sensitive Sally, but when a woman, especially one who is a great deal slimmer than me says she is “having a fat day” because she has eaten an unhealthy meal or hasn’t done some exercise that reflects on the assumptions she has about me and other fat women. Which sucks.
How has your body image changed since high school? College?
It has changed massively. I’ve always been a contradiction in terms, on one hand I would never let my size stop me from wearing what I wanted, doing what (or who for that matter) I wanted and I always thought of myself as facially attractive. But I hated my body, I was disgusted with my size because every day I was reminded I wasn’t normal. I didn’t look like my friends, or girls on the TV, I was verbally abused by people at school, or insults were hurled at me in the street. I was touched inappropriately by boys who thought I should be grateful for the attention because I was fat. But nowadays, I can genuinely say I hold my head high and have embraced my body and am unapologetically fat.
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I have probably tried every means possible to lose weight, from starving myself, making myself vomit, to diet pills and most extremely having a gastric bypass. I went from a UK size 32 to the size 22 I am today and even then I wasn’t happy, I felt like the worlds biggest failure.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
All my family are large, my parents, my paternal grandfather, my maternal grandmother, some of my cousins, so I would say maybe, but I’m not a scientist, so who knows?!
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
No more or less than the average person. I eat not the whole a balanced diet. I love vegetables and cook every meal from scratch, no ready meals, but yes I do eat takeaway food at least once a month, I probably have cake about 4 times a week and I’m fucked if I’m going to apologise for that. People make assumptions all the time, people will condemn you for eating, no matter what you’re eating. If it’s “unhealthy” you get the “should you be eating that?” and if it’s healthy people feel the need to congratulate you. FFS.
Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
My folks were so desperate for me to not turn out like them they restricted my diet and created my unhealthy relationship with food, it was done out of love and concern but it kind of backfired, and they have always been so desperate for me to be thin. But as I get older and as they grow to realise this is who I am and that I’m happy, they make less of an issue of it now. Mainly because they know I will tell them to fuck off.
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
Being a plus size retailer is always going to be hard because of the mere fact they have to lump us all in the same category. It means you’re never going to please everyone. I think there needs to be a wider variety of brands who offer something different. Plus size brands try to be jack of all and just end up being master of none. Some of us need a fat Gap or Warehouse and some of us need Primark. There needs to be that variety.
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
I think there is less pressure on guys in the sense that if a guy is scrutinised for his weight it’s in a jokey way with his mates, but there seems to be so much anger around a woman being fat, like she’s disgusting and lazy and let herself go and isn’t attractive, I don’t think guys get that as much, but they are still up against it.
Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Of course there is. Fat people are viewed as being lazy and stupid, simple as. Surely if we had a modicum of intelligence we’d be able to maintain a healthy diet and we wouldn’t have let ourselves get in such a state in the first place. On the whole we’re represented in the media as headless, Greggs eating, dole bumming scum. Uneducated because we can’t feed ourselves properly. This couldn’t be further from the truth, I know countless fat women who are well educated, have high flying careers, or are business women, parents, and are articulate, literate, passionate women.
Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
No. I can’t even elaborate. No.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
Fat slag, fat bitch, fat (insert insult here). I had abuse hurled at me down the street, people purposely winding their car windows down to shout stuff at me. People stop in the street and berate me about stuffing my face when sat on a bench eating a sandwich for my lunch. I’ve walked in on a room of men I used to work with to hear them discussing who was going to take turns “on me” on the way home because the fat girl needed a good seeing to. Truly degrading shit. Some of the worst stuff though is the stuff dressed up as kindness or concern, like when people ask you if it stops you doing stuff, or whats it like to be fat? Like we’re some kind of alien breed.
How did you respond?
There used be a time I would go home and cry, self harm and it would set me off on a spiral of depression, eating disorders and drinking (no, really) but now I call people out on it, get all fat and up front with them. Some lad rode past me on a bike and shouted that I had a fat arse, I shouted back “I know, it’s glorious isn’t it?!”
What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
My husband and previous partners are probably the only people who have complimented me on my actual form, my body. I can honestly say I don’t think another girl has said I have a nice figure. Thin friends might say “I wish I had your tits” that kind of thing, or “you’re lovely as you are” but I just don’t think it’s the done thing to tell a fat woman they have a nice figure because in most peoples eyes, we don’t. Which is fair enough. I do get lots of nice compliments about my face/hair/clothes though and they are genuine, not those thinly veiled ones, like, “you dress nice considering your size” which you do also get frequently.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Only because I blog, in general most of my friends are thinner than me.
How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
Nope, I never had any problems when it came to finding men. Sure there would be a lot who didn’t want to sleep with me because of my size, but there were plenty who didn’t care and I presume were just happy to get their end away. I’ve always been comfortable being naked in front of guys, it doesn’t bother me. They obviously know what they’re getting, I don’t suddenly get thinner when I put clothes on, so it’s no great surprise when I take them off.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
No, it’s not a fetish, it’s just a preference. Just like when some girls say they only like muscly guys or slim, lean guys.
Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before you?
No, it’s never been an issue, we’re just people. What’s happening in the here and now is what’s important. I’ve never really been into this whole previous partner hang up. Who gives a shit who your current partner has dated in the past. You are who he’s dating now.
All these other fab ladies are taking part, I look forward to reading their answers too…