Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why my fat is my feminist issue

I have mixed feelings about my fat rolls. I've been overweight my whole life, with one two- or three-year window of thin-ness, and by and large, I don't mind it. There are even things I love about being chubby.

When I was younger, my fat was a wonderful shield that protected me from prowling men, giving me the space to enjoy doing my own thing. I didn't have to deal with having a boyfriend, because I had no interest pursuing one and none of the males in my high school or college (or even post-college, by and large) would deign to notice a fat chick. I hung out with my friends and read and did homework. I got to be me. How many other teenage girls get to enjoy that? How many adult women? Heck, these days even superheroes have to devote their spare time to pleasing some man!

The thing about being thin and sexy is that you have to give up so much. You have to wear shoes that make your feet hurt. You have to turn down pie and pizza and toast. You have to put down the novel and go out for a run. And if the only thing motivating you is your appearance--and you're me--well, there's really no point. Someplace along the line, it hit me that I didn't give a fuck if people thought I was sexy or not. (Don't get me wrong--I love dressing up and wearing makeup and looking pretty. But it's for me. It's play.) I am a writer, a goofball, a beer drinker, a good friend, a cultivator of trivia. If that wasn't enough for other people, then I honestly didn't need to attract them to me in the first place.

And really, that's what being a feminist is about for me. It's about saying that it's okay for women to PEOPLE. We're not just portable vaginas. We don't exist to be sex toys. We are PEOPLE.

I know I could be healthier. And that motivates me to get out and go for a long walk and try to limit the baked goods to one serving a week and avoid saturated fats. After all, I don't want to invite disease into my life.

But I don't want to be thin and sexy, either.


Melissa (missoularedhead) said...

see, I don't think you're fat. I think you're Wendy. Besides, what the hell is thin these days...a zero? I prefer curves, thank you. Do my thighs jiggle more than they should? Sure. And my upper arms are my bane, but in the end, really, do I want to be stick thin and unpleasantly bony? Hell no. But don't think you're fat. You're not. You're just not rail thin. And that's a good thing!

Sandra Wickham said...

"Sexy" is not equivalent to thin and most people, except the skinny models who get paid to look that way, would agree.

"Sexy" also doesn't have to be anti-feminist or be associated only with a vagina for rent. I believe you can be sexy, fit and a feminist. I go to the gym to fight the "skinny" stereotype and I put myself in a weight room where most people think only men should work on being physically strong because I don't agree with that.

"Skinny" also NEVER equates to healthy. Ever.

Our priority should be health, not aesthetics, whether your preferred look is "fat, soft, hard, buff, round, square" whatever. It's about quality of life, length of life and being good to yourself. It is not about what other people think of you.

I get nothing but hatred and the evil eye from lots of women because of how I look and lots of men because I'm strong. Of course, they don't know me and are solely judging me on having a fit phyisque. I often feel like to make them happy I'd have to apologize for over twenty years of training because I love it, eating healthy because I know it's good for me and because I deserve it. But I won't apologize. It's who I am.

Christie said...



Ace said...

You are Soprano Wendy and we love you for being awesome.

Vicki said...

You've brought up some interesting points, Wendy. This topic is something I've been thinking about a lot recently, thanks to roller derby. Being involved in this sport has made me feel a) like more of a feminist, and b) more sexy than I ever have before. I was surprised to see these two feelings rise together, but that's what happened. I bought my first tube of red lipstick thanks to roller derby, and I have more fun with dressing up "derby" than I ever do in real life. But honestly, it's not the lipstick or the booty shorts that make me feel sexy- it's that I have the confidence to wear them now. I'm surrounded by women of every conceivable shape and size, and they're all incredibly sexy- because they're strong, they work hard, and they're doing something they love.

I agree that working out just to make your appearance more "sexy" to others is not healthy. As roller derby has made me stronger, I've felt sexier... not because of how I think other people see me, but because of how I feel. I like being able to do regular push-ups now, not just "girl" push-ups. I like having visible biceps to impress my friends and husband. It's definitely not for my husband, aesthetically- he has talked about how, among his Puerto Rican family and friends, curvier was always better. It IS for him in the sense that I'm healthier, and happier, and generally less of a jerk when I exercise.

Anyway, I certainly appreciate some of the points you're making, as well as the opportunity to think about thin and sexy, and feminism, in a new light. I'm still coming to terms with my new feelings about feminism. So far, it's been about me doing the things I want to do, because I like the way they make me feel about myself. I don't give up anything when I go for a run, because I LIKE to run. I eat pie and pizza and toast in copious amounts, because I'm hungry from that run. I don't wear shoes that make my feet hurt, because I hate high heels with a fiery passion. If writing and drinking beer and being a good friend and cultivating trivia are what make YOU happy and confident, then I don't think you need to explain that to anyone.

I guess my point is... I'm beginning to discover that sexy comes in all shapes and sizes, and that sexy is not necessarily a bad thing. "Unsexy" has very little to do with size, either. Take it from a skinny girl who avoided having a boyfriend through high school & college via the shields of insecurity & disinterest & ill-fitting clothes...