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“1. I say, ‘I am fat.’ He says ‘No, you are beautiful.’ I wonder why I cannot be both. He kisses me hard. 2. My college theater professor once told me that despite my talent, I would never be cast as a romantic lead. We do plays that involve singing animals and children with the ability to fly, but apparently no one has enough willing suspension of disbelief to go with anyone loving a fat girl. I daydream regularly about fucking my boyfriend vigorously on his front lawn. 3. On the mornings I do not feel pretty, while he is still asleep, I sit on the floor and check the pockets of his skinny jeans for motive, for a punchline, for other girls’ phone numbers. 4. When we hold hands in public, I wonder if he notices the looks — like he is handling a parade balloon on a crowded sidewalk; if he notices that my hands are now made of rope. 5. Dear Cosmo: Fuck you. I will not take sex tips from you on how to please a man you think I do not deserve. 6. He tells me he loves me with the lights on. 7. I can cup his hip bone in my hand, feel his ribs without pressing very hard at all. He does not believe me when I tell him he is beautiful. Sometimes I fear the day he does will be the day he leaves. 8. The cute hipster girl at the coffee shop assumes we are just friends and flirts over the counter. I spend the next two weeks mentally replacing myself with her in all of our photographs. When I admit this to him we spend the evening taking new photos together. He will not let me delete a single one of them. 9. The phrase “Big girls need love too” can die in a fire. Fucking me does not require an asterisk. Loving me is not a fetish. Finding me beautiful is not a novelty. I am not a fucking novelty. 10. I say, ‘I am fat.’ He says, ‘No. You are so much more’, and kisses me hard.”—Rachel Wiley
people are so quick to assume that all fat people hate being fat. and i mean, obviously there are fat people who hate being fat. but nobody ever stops and asks if those people actually hate being fat because of the way their body looks and feels, or if they hate being fat because of how terribly people treat them solely based on the size of their body.
On self-esteem and the struggle, or why I'm not into that Dove ad.
By now it’s entirely likely you’ve seen it: Dove put out an ad where a bunch of women sit down and describe themselves to a forensic artist. Then, a stranger they just met describes them to a forensic artist. Surprise! They’re not as ugly as they think they are!
Look, here’s some real talk: I do not know a single person who doesn’t struggle with body image on a daily basis, male or female, to varying degrees. And when I first watched this ad, I was moved. Of course I was — they’re paying a lot of people a lot of money to ensure I am moved. And it is, in fact, moving to see an advertisement so clearly focused on pointing out that people are often their own harshest critics, and that being hard on yourself isn’t fair. I loved that. Let me repeat: I loved that, and was nearly in tears for a good part of the ad.
I am all for things that make people feel more beautiful. To paraphrase Margaret Cho, I’m gutted by those who don’t find most others beautiful, because they’re missing out on a lot of beauty in the world. I have no doubt that the women featured in this ad did feel shitty about themselves, and might still. Listening to them describe themselves felt like… Well, like listening to myself. Can’t be too vain, here. Gotta be “honest.” Gotta play ourselves down, all the time, as if admitting that we like something about ourselves is a cardinal sin.
God, it hurt.
And then we got to the strangers, and the first stranger says, “She was thin, so you could see her cheekbones… And her chin? It was a nice, thin chin…”
God, that hurt too.
Thin, thin, thin. The mantra I’ve been repeating to myself my whole goddamn life. No part of me is thin or ever has been. My wrists, maybe? Uh?
Of course, they show the women seeing their portraits, too — the ones they described and the ones others did. And most of them tear up. I would, too. Hell, I did, too, because when I watched this the first time I was emotionally tangled up in it in a way I didn’t expect. I wanted to like it; I wanted to be moved. I was moved.
One woman looked at the portrait of herself that she’d drawn and said, “This one looks more… closed off. Fatter. And sadder, too.”
I wanted to love this ad. I wanted so badly to believe that an advertising company is using its considerable powers for good. I wanted to feel like acceptance is a thing, like at least one ad company really is trying to expand the ideas of what beautiful is and what people want to see.
Instead, I got more of the usual: Thin good. Fat bad. It triggered serious body dysmorphia in me today that I had a lot of trouble dealing with and tried to ignore or circumnavigate instead of approaching head-on.
Why are we so validated by this dichotomy of fat versus thin? Why are we so relieved when others tell us we’re thinner than we think we are, or that we’re not fat? I ask these rhetorical questions because I have answers: we equate good traits with thinness and bad traits with fatness. Thin people are friendly, open, healthy, beautiful, and good. Fat people are lazy, stupid, gluttonous, unhygienic, ugly, and bad. When you tell someone you don’t think they’re fat, what you’re usually telling them is that you don’t associate any of the aforementioned traits with them. This has nothing to do with whether or not they are actually fat.
Ultimately, Dove is trying to sell us something, and that something is a cosmetics product. Given this, I understand that my frustration is probably a little unfair, but God, am I sick of feeling alienated by campaigns promoting “real beauty” that want nothing to do with my fat ass.