Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What Being a Fat Woman is Really Like

Hey guys, this is a blog post is the brain child of Claire, who wants to see how a group of plus size bloggers will respond to questions that were featured in a Cosmopolitan article. I thought this sounded quite fascinating so I joined in. You can read the original article here and see how two proud fat women responded to them. I've been totally honest in my answers, but I do not claim to speak for all fat women... these are my opinions and I am well aware that they are often different to other peoples. Think of that as a disclaimer! Here goes....
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat? 

My reaction to this sort of this depends entirely on who the woman is. I would be concerned if someone who wasn't fat genuinely thought they were, because that's veering into body dysmorphia, but I think this question is referring to the general use of the word fat to mean 'I look gross today'. If it's someone I know well and I think they're being ridiculous (my boyfriend for example... it's not just women) then I jiggle my belly at them and say 'I'm fat, you're not fat!'. I do feel quite strongly though that just because I am actually fat, it doesn't give me the right to get pissy with women who uses the word to describe their own body when they're feeling fat. They have the right to talk about their body the same way I do. After all, if a size 8 woman gets a round belly and can't fit into her jeans because she has spent Christmas gorging, then that is her version of fat, it's not a malicious attack on me. Not everything is about me! Being a fat woman doesn't mean I own that word... it would be like a slim girl getting pissed off if her fat friend said ' I think this dress makes me look slim'!.

How has your body image changed since high school? College?

I've always had a confident personality, but the older I get the more confident I feel. It's partly because at 32 I know who I am more than ever before, and partly because I have been ambitious and successful within my career..... one of the big factors though is that fashion has changed so much for plus sized women that for the last few years I've had CHOICE, and being able to properly express myself in the way I dress has certainly improved my body image. Seriously, fat girls in their early 20's have no idea just how dire plus size clothing was 15 years ago. If the tide continues to turn I think we are in with a good chance of seeing fashionable plus size clothing on the high street, it wont feel like shopping in secret any more and that is bound to make an impact on a women's body image!

Have you tried dieting? What happened? 

I have no memory of ever being on a 'diet'. I have had short periods in my life where I have tried to eat more healthily.... I'm currently trying to ween myself off fizzy drinks for example. That's to do with keeping my teeth healthy, but that's more my style if you see what I mean. I will try to eat less sugar / fat and eat more vegetables if I start to feel unwell, but I don't really diet. 

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic? 

This is hard to answer without scientific study! My immediate family are fat, but my mum and dad weren't fat when they were younger, and their own families are all pretty small and thin.... in fact I'd describe them as petite! Mum and Dad were never petite, and they both worked in the catering / food industries, so food has always been a big deal in our house. I think we have a very passionate relationship with food, it's a passion for cooking, eating & talking about food that is very specific to our branch of the family. I won't deny that there might be a genetic problem somewhere down the line, but really I think it's more to do with lifestyle. None of us like sport, but we all like cake!

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?

Sometimes I think people mix up 'unfit' and 'unhealthy'. I am not going to pretend that I'm mega healthy (I eat too much and don't exercise enough!) but medically speaking and after all the 'your so fat you must be dying' tests my doctors have still not managed to find anything wrong with me (no matter how hard they try!). I eat lots of fruit and veg, I don't smoke, I barely drink alcohol and I don't take drugs, so in some respects I am healthy. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want and as much as I want, so in that respect I'm not very healthy. I'm realistic about these things, and I know I'm proper unfit!

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been? 

My family have showed me nothing but love all my life. They never made a fuss over how I looked, they were more concerned with getting me a tutor when I was struggling with maths, or sending me for music lessons because I loved singing. My dad lost weight after illness years ago and went through a phase of being 'concerned' about our weight (me / mum / sister) but it didn't last long! They don't really comment on it now, and never really did. I also feel like they were too busy to worry about that kind of thing - I don't remember my mum obsessing over her weight the way that my friends mums did, and thank goodness because I've seen what that kind of atmosphere can do to a child's psyche! Their love and support goes a long way to explaining why I didn't grow up to hate myself or my body... they did a damn good job!

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?

They just need to offer the same stuff they make for thin girls. It's not rocket science. There will always be shops where you can buy plain and badly fitted sack-clothes for the fat women who want to blend into the background, but we don't all feel like that so companies need to stop designing with just those women in mind!

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?

Of course, fat women are hilarious aren't they?! Have you ever noticed how many times they have a section on You've Been Framed that features fat people falling over in hilarious ways? Have you ever noticed that it is nearly always women in those clips? The fat men are mixed in with the other clips that have nothing to do with how they look. In man speak 'ugly' is often another word for 'fat'. The whole fat shaming thing is nearly always aimed at women, sometimes even from fat men! The reason for this is that people with small brains think it's acceptable to hate people just because they don't find them sexually attractive. John Goodman doesn't only get parts in movies where her plays 'the fat guy' does he, but how often is a fat woman playing a role that could be played by an actress of any size? It's all just another form of sexism and inequality to my mind. Lets not be all 'only fat women bleed' about this though, women of all shapes and sizes are judged differently to their male counterparts. Skinny women get abused in a way that skinny men don't. They get called anorexic or stick thin, or (that old favorite!) unhealthy.... have you ever looked at One Direction in skinny jeans? If Keira knightly is anorexic then those boys are the walking dead, but you would never see a headline in More Magazine saying 'Zayn Malik anorexia fears' would you? All women who don't fit into the media's stereotypical 'hot' box get judged. Also, haven't Tigi just brought out a range called 'Dumb Blond'? No prizes for guessing which of the sexes is used for that advertising campaign!

Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?

Huuummm.... I think some people (morons I call them) think that fat people are lazy & slovenly. I think that it is also assumed that all fat people want to be thin. Unfortunately I've seen enough of both stereotypes in reality to understand where this comes from (stereotypes often have a basis in fact after all, no matter how horrible they are) and I always want to yell 'your letting the side down'!. I don't know how I would respond to it because I think it's often an internal thing. If someone called me a lazy fatty I would respond with something equally hateful! I'll say it again though.... it's not just fat people who have this problem. I once had a set-to with my folks about their opinions of people with tattoos and piercings. Intelligent people know that looks are only a small part of the story, but it's human nature to make assumptions about people who look different to you. If you're not ignorant or prejudiced you move past these assumptions and grow as a person. If you are ignorant and prejudiced then there is no adequate response, because that kind of person can't be reasoned with.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight? 

Fine if they bring it up first, fine if it's their concerns that you can be understanding of. I think if it was my partner & I thought they were putting their life in immediate danger (like putting on loads of weight through binge drinking or losing loads of weight through drugs, that kind of thing) then I would certainly express concern and would want to discuss it. 

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? 

I've not had many horrid things said to me if I'm honest. I've had lads shout 'fat bitch' out of a moving car. How they know that I'm a bitch I don't know!. I'm sure I've been called ugly or gross at some point in my life, but I don't have mental scars from that sort of thing. I know they're a) wrong, and b) hateful, so their words mean nothing to me. I realise I'm in the minority here by the way! I think having so many male friends growing up meant that boys didn't see me as a silly girl they could pick on, and girls didn't mess with me either. My personality always overpowered that kind of thing. I must be a bit scary?! People stare at my more outrageous outfits sometimes though!

How did you respond?

Like I said, it's rare, but if someone calls me names or shouts at me (fat taunts are rare, I got yelled at more for dating a black guy than for being fat if I'm honest) I shout at them in return, louder and more viciously, and it's ace because they never expect retaliation!. It's only ever been men who shout. Nasty women think they're more subtle but sadly they're too thick to be subtle. The whole mean girl things doesn't work on me. A woman whispered something to her friend about me once and I stared at her with eyes that could have burned through the back of her head. This was particularly amusing to me because it was on a bus & I stared at her intensely for the whole 20 minute journey! I think the most effective thing with bitchy girls if they give you a funny look (who knows if it's a fat thing or a clothes thing, but anyway) is to overtly look them up and down - slowly - as if you're assessing their whole being, then look them in the eye and give a disdainful little laugh with a raised eyebrow before getting on with your business. This goes for anyone who disses me or anyone I love by the way. Don't fuck with Parsnips.... she is not to be messed with!  

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?

I make a lot of effort with my clothing so it's always nice when people tell me I look nice or something suits me. I'm not someone who brushes compliments away. I also give lots of compliments out. Some women find it hard to say 'you look nice' so they say they love or want my dress, sometimes they ask where it came from... I take that as a compliment even if they can't manage to compliment me properly!  There have been a few men who think my body is a wonderland, and obviously it's nice to be told you're sexy, but I think 'you're beautiful' is the thing that makes me happiest. My parents always told me I was beautiful, and I feel beautiful, so that means the most to me. My boyfriend often looks into my eyes and tells me I'm beautiful when we're just chilling out, and I know he is looking at me with love, that's why it's the most meaningful compliment. He gives my body many compliments too, but my mum might read this so lets not go there eh?!

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?

Absolutely not, I don't choose my friends according to looks or size! 

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all? 

Please don't read this Mummy Parsnips! I think that logistically I like thinner partners because they fit better between my (frankly enormous) thighs! Other than that the only thing my weight affects is that my boyfriend can't lift me so we can't have standing sex, but as he is also taller with crazy long legs it generally makes standing shenanigans tricky, even in high heels..... I might be able to work something out with a ladder involved! I guess what I'm saying is that I can't be thrown round the way a thin girl could be, but I don't view that as a bad thing! I am also quite rubbish at reverse cowgirl because my big round bottom pushes me forwards (kneeling that is, squatting is fine). If any of my readers have the same trouble then may I suggest kneeling on the bed linking your legs underneath his so you're sort of sat on his lap without straddling. Much easier for a big bottomed girl!

When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life?

Not really. I've had many dates with all kinds of men. I think it's likely that some of the crushes I've had have not been into me because they don't find fat women attractive, but that's not a big deal. I've not been into men who like me because (for instance) I don't really find blond men attractive, so it's about personal preference isn't it!

Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women? 

I'm coming at this from a dating point of view and not a one night stand kind of deal, 'cause then it just doesn't matter! If the guy finds fat women more attractive than I have no problem with that. My ex preferred chubby or fat women but not so much as to not fancy any other shapes and sizes. If the guys preference for fat women is so all encompassing that it basically becomes a fetish (you know, the guys who don't care about your face or personality and just want a fat body to wank over) then I'd run a mile. I generally think that men who only go out with one type of woman (be that just blond beach babes, or just nurses or something!) are a bit creepy. What kind of terrible relationship would it be if you lost weight and your partner no longer found you attractive because his type was SO specific?! Same goes for putting on weight of course. I think most well rounded people are more open than that and find a wide range of human beings attractive. I don't feel sexy when someone looks at me like a vagina with legs, I feel sexy when someone wants ALL of me. This is a highly personal thing though, because I already believe myself to be sexy, I feel sexy, so I don't need someone to make me feel that way if you see what I mean?. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to date a guy who liked me but not my body, but by the same token I wouldn't want to date a guy who liked my body but not me! Maybe I would feel different if I'd had less male attention throughout my life, or if I were bigger than I am, or if my body was an unusual shape, or if I just never met any decent men capable of appreciating all kinds of bodies?! It's all relative so each to their own. I 100% think that a man who has a fetish-like appetite for fat girls can be a great confidence booster to someone who doesn't feel sexy in themselves though... it's just not for me.

Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?

No. I don't think I've ever dated anyone who has a specific type (other than liking brunettes!). I find that men become enamoured by the bodies of the woman they love as time goes on, even if that body type might not have been what they found attractive in the past. I would like to think that if a man had only dated thin women in the past then that would be proof that he was with you for the right reasons... i.e. not just for your body, but for the person inside too!

That's it folks, Feel free to comment if you have any questions, and also check out the other ladies who have done this 


Becky Barnes


  1. This is a great post and so interesting too, I don't think about my body size much unless I'm trying to find clothes (vintage is very difficult/impossible!) I do like your 'don't fuck with Parsnips' blooming wonderful quote x x x

  2. Haha!! I have to say you made me laugh out loud when I read about the sex issues. :) LOL. I've had people telling me that because I'm fat I can't be on top!! Heard such nonsense!! I love being on top! :)

    And you always look amazing Cass. When I first met you at Plus London you were the one I remembered the best for their clothing. I loved your colourful dress and that clutch of yours was amazing.


  3. Fab post, I can totally relate to some of your answers and some thank you for your comments on my post x

  4. Just to say, I think you sound like such a lovely person, your answers are exactly as I would imagine answering if I were in your position! :D

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