Why Don’t You… Think About Fat?

Phat oil brush!
Phat oil brush!

PHAT LIFE

How to win at life while being slightly overweight, but not bothered to go on a diet

Get up in the morning and your jeans are a bit tight. “That’s fine”, you rationalize. “I love curves. They make me feel real”. You spout to yourself the same garbled ‘body love’ crap you’ve been reading for years, and it almost makes you feel comfortable with your muffin top. Almost.

Because the thing is, society doesn’t like your muffin top, no matter how much Dove tells you to embrace your double chin because it’s really not that doubley (but if it were that doubley, you would definitely not be considered attractive: for more normative but self-contradictory body-image talk, see here). Society thinks your muffin top is unsightly, and that’s why people pull faces when you wear low-rise jeans. As a global community, we are scared by fat. Perturbed by it. We don’t quite know how to react to someone who wears a midriff top but doesn’t have a flat stomach. Manners tell us we should praise their confidence; instinct tells us to recoil.

And what of—gasp—the real fatties? The people who have to shop at overpriced clothing stores that describe their garments’ colour as, “slimming black”? We hate them too, don’t we? When we see Rebel Wilson, we laugh along with her fat jokes. ‘She gets it!’ we think. ‘She knows that it is all ironic and we actually think she is great!’ And yet… there is something deeply unsettling about the source of all Wilson’s humour being the size of her belly. We laugh so heartily because there is a part of us that really is disgusted by her girth. It’s like art critics who only credit female artists who make art about their femaleness: shouldn’t they be able to create works not as women, but as humans? Shouldn’t Wilson be able to make us laugh without making herself the joke? Wilson has recently created a fashion line called Fat Mandi. The range features oversized tees and leggings (the only things that fat people can wear, obviously). Many pieces are adorned with pictures of cupcakes and other high calorie assortments. Basically Wilson is encouraging people to treat her body as a gag. She is marginalizing herself and trivializing society’s predisposition to ‘fat shame’. I’m not saying I didn’t cack myself whenever Fat Amy came onto the screen in Pitch Perfect. It was pretty fucking funny. But I am saying that labeling your website ‘NOT FOR SKINNY BITCHES’ perhaps goes beyond the realm of shock-tastic humour, and into the realm of self-defeating crassness. Labeling people based on weight is never cool, no matter what side of the spectrum you come from.

So, society is scared of your curves, even if everyone hides it under euphemisms and using token plus-size models. Only just being okay with your fat body under the pretense of ‘everyone appreciates that I am more than my cottage cheese thighs’ is not enough. You will still doubt your social skills and whether people are actually interested in what you have to say. You will discount your own opinions, because being overweight you are obviously less of a valid person than someone who is thin. The thing is, fuck them.

Slightly overweight and mega-fat people will only win at life when they decide that whatever the rationale of teen magazines and polite society is for condoning the chubbies is irrelevant. We must own our bigger-ness not as part of some politically-correct rationale, but because it is how we feel, individually. We are more than our plump bum. We are overweight and what of it? Bite me. There’s plenty to go round.

As a bit of a fleshy one myself, my transcendent, life-changing moment came when I was drunk. I was having such a rad time living in the moment and being completely un-self-conscious by Kings Cross fountain. My hot, skinny male and female friends surrounded me, and in that moment there was a shared acknowledgment of personhood. No one cared that my arms didn’t curve in or that my face melds into my neck a bit when I laugh. I certainly didn’t. And I thought: why don’t I just transfer this attitude to all the time? It was that easy. Like sure, I have fat days. Where nothing looks good and I wear a sack to work under the guise of being avant-avant-garde. But they are just that. Fat days. Even though I can’t wear body-con, I refuse to live a fat life. Unless you mean a PHAT life. That I can do just fine.

 

Previously published on yeahnah.tv