If you have been reading twitter, blogs or general social media over the last few days, you might have stumbled across lots of people talking the recent Cosmpolition article "What Being A Fat Woman Is Really Like". The article asked two women a set of questions about their life, dating, relationships and more and how they feel fat has affected them - it makes an interesting read! According to the general twitter-sphere, lots of people could relate to the article and it got people chatting! When Claire/ChatterMonkey suggested that bloggers should set about answering the same questions I knew straight away that I wanted to be involved! This is done as a bloggers challenge, so we're all posting them up at the same time! Be sure to check out the links below to read all of the other ladies answers. You can also check out the original Comsopolitan article here.
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
Sad. Sad for them that they don't love the skin they are in, although I know that self-acceptance is a long and hard journey. I know that many people feel angry that someone smaller than them could possible complain about being fat, but I don't mind that. I get that not everyone likes their body and to many people being fat is not something that they would ever be at ease with - and that is OK! I try to tell people the things that I like about their body in the hope that a little bit of my positivity rubs off on them. Generally speaking how others feel about their body doesn't affect how I feel about mine.
How has your body image changed since high school? College?
I have always been fat, but I don't think I have ever thought too negatively about it. I would say growing up that I was indifferent to my body which meant that it stayed a pretty blank canvas. I didn't hate my body but I didn't really care enough it to do anything with it. It is only over the last 5-7 years that I have come to realise that my body is something to be liked and I now pay more attention to body image, what I wear, how I look etc - which is a lovely place to be in.
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
Of course... I have dieted in the past, although never fad-dieted really. Dieting is great if it works for you. It never has for me, because I don't dislike my body so I don't really have the motivation to change it.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
No. My sister is a size 10 (and works hard for the body she has) and I am the biggest in my family. I take full responsibility for my weight and realise that my diet and lifestyle play a role in why I am the size I am. If I wanted to be a size 10 I could go to the gym every day and eat well, but I don't have the slightest inclination to do that.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
Yes. I would say I am healthy. Of course people assume otherwise, because fat is the demon and it is something that kills us all. I am not naive enough to think that my weight doesn't affect my health, but everyone's lifestyle affects their overall health so I am not unique in that. Generally speaking my health is good and I very rarely have to go to the doctor. *touch wood*
Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been?
Yes. They don't pressure me into anything. My life is just that, my life to live with my choices.
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
I think clothing can be improved for everyone, not just plus size people. I hate that people assume that plus size is a problem, when it isn't. There are plenty of bodies that cannot find clothes to fit them perfectly - the very thin, the very tall, the very short, those with big thighs and small waists, people with broad shoulders or with bigger feet. Generally speaking I think clothing ranges need to be changed across the board. We need to recognise that people aren't designed to fit into boxed and categories and that we should offer solutions to fit them & not the other way round.
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
I guess generally speaking, women's bodies are more sexualised so our shape is paid more attention to. That said ,I don't think we can take away from the fact that men have body issues too. We can't assume that it is a female only problem, because that is not the case at all. I think women assume men are judging them for the way that they look, because women are judging but actually more often than not it is us putting pressure on ourselves rather than other people paying that much attention to what we look like. But I do think that both genders have their problems - people judge and they don't realise the affect their words often have.
Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Yes. There is an assumption that we hate our bodies and would do anything to change. Would I like to be thinner? Yes. Do I want to change my life to be thinner? No. The assumption that I hate my body is wrong - I do not. I embrace it and I love it. I dress it up and I look after it, because it is mine and no one else's. I would be thinner only for ease of life (shopping on the high street, finding a bra that fits etc) but not because I am unhappy.
There is an assumption that if you are fat, something or someone put you there - a bad experience, an unhappy childhood, a deep hidden secret that you are comfort eating your way through and that is not the case at all. I know many, many fat girls that are fat just because they are and they totally live life that way, loving every second of it.
Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
Yes. When someone asks for your opinion and no other time.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
To be honest with you, the insults are not very imaginative. Fatty, fat bitch, wow look at the size of her - that's about the extent of it. Are they the 'worst' things? I guess so. But when you're telling me I am fat I don't really let it bother me, because they're not really telling me anything I don't know.
How did you respond?
Usually I pull people up on it. A man called me a fat bitch under his breath in a supermarket once. I stopped him and asked him very loudly why he would assume I was a bitch just by looking at me? I told him that he could ask any of my friends and they would tell him I am lovely and not a bitch at all. The shop stopped and everyone looked, but I didn't care. I am strong enough to deal with something like that but others are not, so I stand up to it when I can in the hope that it stops that person insulting someone else in the future.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Of course - who doesn't have friends of a variety of sizes? If you don't then you might want to look at yourself and wonder if you are shallow. I have lots of amazing friends who vary in size from a size 10 to a size 36 (estimates, I have no idea about clothes sizes) and I wouldn't have it any other way. They're all my friends for different reasons and all bring different things to my life, just the way it should be.
How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
I wouldn't say so. Of course it affects the people who are attracted to me - but that is the same as anyone else. Their body and the way they look affects who they are attractive to, nothing out of the ordinary about that.
When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
I could write a book about my dating life - and in fact many people tell me
I should! I have had a very chequered past when it comes to dating, but I don't put that down to my weight at all. The world is full of weird and wonderful people, I think most of the weird ones I have either dated or they are blocked on my Plenty of Fish account.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
Nope. Would a slim girl feel weird if a guy only dated slim women? We have to accept that men find our bodies attractive. Yes it is about personality and clicking with someone, but you have to find them attractive too - so if they like you and you're fat the chances are they like fat girls too!
Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?
Not really. I would talk to him about his attraction to me and where it has come from. Sadly lots of men aren't comfortable dating a fat girl and wait a while to get out there and do it, so it wouldn't bother me if I was their first.
So there you have - I have a feeling a lot of my answers will be different to others but there you go. Please don't forget to check out the other ladies doing the posts too, they'll all make interesting reads!
Becky Barnes http://www.mrsbebeblog.co.uk/
Becky Brown www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com