The first time I heard “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor, I couldn’t keep myself from dancing. Singing about booties and being proud of a bigger body? Hell yeah, girl. But then I got to the second verse, heard the phrase “skinny bitches”, and my heart sank. Are you kidding? I thought. Those two words completely negated the entire message of the song. Is it great to be proud of your “plus size” body? Of course! But there’s no reason that you need to tear down other body types while you’re at it.
I’ve heard a lot of arguments that it’s okay, or at least better, for someone to do what Meghan Trainor did because it’s more difficult to be overweight in our society. As someone on the plus size end of the spectrum, I can attest to that being true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s “easy” to be skinny. I know many women who are naturally very thin. As in no matter how hard they try, they’ll never weigh more than a hundred pounds. And guess what? There are tons of stereotypes and stigma that follow that body type, too. Maybe people assume they’re anorexic or obsessed with their appearance. Is that any more fair than assuming someone who is overweight is lazy? The same thing goes for these slogans on top of pictures of curvy women that say things like “Now that’s a real woman!” Being curvy doesn’t make you a real woman.
You know what makes you a real woman? Being a woman.
Recently, a friend and I were looking at an article that listed things that “big girls” are tired of hearing. She was curious which of them I heard over and over. The truth is: almost none of them. I honestly think the reason is because I don’t constantly bring it up. If you’re always complaining about your size or parts of your body, people are going to feel compelled to reply. Giving advice on dieting, exercise, and fashion aren’t just things that most people spew off in regular conversation; but if you’re whining about how you’re not happy with something, people are going to try to offer help and advice.
People tend to be curious about my size in conjunction with my lifestyle and outlook. I think it’s because of what I mentioned above: I’m not constantly drawing attention to my figure. One of the only things I hear a lot that kind of annoys me is “I wish I had your confidence!” It makes me think people are surprised I have confidence in spite of my body type. Anyone can have confidence! It is completely independent of your weight or dress size. You know how I know that for sure? Because this is the biggest I have ever been, and the most confident. At my smallest I had a ton of self esteem issues, which weren’t because of my size, but the point is that just because you’re tiny doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be happy!
Could I be healthier? Absolutely. I should exercise more and not eat so much pizza late at night. Do I wish I weighed less? I mean, yeah. Mostly just for an expansion of clothing options and endurance for dancing. I’m actually okay with how I look, though. One of the biggest and best realizations I had over the past year was that just because I’m overweight doesn’t mean I can’t be with men who I’m really attracted to. After I had my big break up last Spring, I kind of figured that “hot” guys weren’t going to choose to be with me when there were a ton of “hot” girls running around. Guess what, though? They do.
Regardless of sexual orientation, I promise you ladies that you don’t need to change yourself for romance or sex. We tend to think X, Y, and Z are what our partners want, but the thing we somehow forget is that if people are really interested in us, the most important thing to them should be YOU. Your mind, personality, and life. Obviously attraction is important, but you’re actually already beautiful.
Ultimately, I just want to live life the way I want. If I want to take my clothes off on stage or wear a bikini, I should be able to. And I should be able to without it needing to be “a statement”. I think it’s great when we reclaim “fat” by giving society the middle finger and living as we please, but I hope that we can get to a point where I can wear booty shorts in public without it being political.
I welcome all questions and discussion on being plus size/fat/overweight and general body image in the comments. I think it’s an important conversation, and I think we should all be participating regardless of what number appears when you stand on the scale.
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