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.
You may also like:
Self Love: My Swimsuit Style
Why It’s Okay For Me To Say Fat
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Every little bit and piece of your blog always leads back to the same message that everyone should just live life however they want to and feel okay about it and I love it.
I’m glad that comes through. I really want everyone to be happy however they can be.
Umm YES! To all of this! I hate the war that has seemed to started between curvy and thin girls. People always have something nasty to say. I am one of those people who have always been naturally thin, and I was harrassed in school by people calling me anorexic and bulimic. It’s horrible what people do to each other. I think people should try building each other up instead of tearing each other apart all the time!
When I was writing this post and reading your comment just now, I thought of the Amy Poehler quote: “Rooting for other people’s failure does get in the way of your success.” It’s not necessarily directly related, but we don’t need *other* people to feel ugly for us to feel beautiful! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m really sorry you had to deal with people tormenting you and making false accusations just because of your natural size. Keep building people up!
This reminds me of the Mindy Kaling quote, “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?'” (Confession: I fucking love Mindy Kaling. I also fucking love you.)
YES, exactly. I wasn’t familiar with that quote, but it’s absolutely perfect. We’re all entitled to feel confident, beautiful, and sexy. (I fucking love you, too.)
Love this!!! I 100% agree with you… Of course I could be thinner, eat better, exercise more, etc… but I love who I am… and when I was thinner, I was always worried that I wasnt good enough or something… that is no longer the case… thank you for this 🙂
Good! I’m glad you love who you are, Ann. You are good enough, and I’m glad you know it.
You’re flawless in this post, Mary! I agree with every single bit of it and as a plus size, I know exactly what do you mean. I’ll share this text around! xoxo
<3 I'm glad you can identify, Lilian. Thanks for spreading the word!
This this this this this! I’ve always had issues with my body. In particular, my thighs. I remember being a little girl, in elementary school, and comparing the size of my thighs to my peers.
I’ve stopped caring less & less ever since I started working out. My weight hasn’t changed, in fact I weigh more right now than I ever have. But, I can squat 150lbs, and give my boyfriend a piggyback ride without even batting an eyelash. Being strong makes me feel amazing.
I think that you are set once you find that one thing that makes you feel comfortable. I hope that everyone finds it!
That’s so great, Tara! I’m happy that feeling strong makes you FEEL strong. Also, the comparative issue is a good point to bring up. We can’t compare ourselves to anyone BUT ourselves. It’s unhealthy. Congrats on being able to squat 150! That’s impressive 🙂
my main issue with that song is that it focuses too much on what boys want. it’s totally cool to be all about that bass because boys like that more anyway. :p
Haha yeah I don’t even care what boys want. All I care about is what you want. Do you like the booty, Michelle?
I don’t love the booty, I love YOUR booty. Your pirate booty.
Thank you for writing this! I am so appreciative of your thoughtful words and your ability to cut through everything and still be kind and positive. In short: I think you are brilliant, and I’m so, so glad you are a writer.
Ah! What a beautiful compliment. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you commented. <3
So this was my exact reaction to this song, until I looked up the lyrics:
I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Seems like she is trying to take it back, but then why use the phrase “skinny bitches?” Definitely did not get the right point across.
Yeah, it’s true. The rest of the verse adds a bit more context, but if she would have used another term besides “skinny bitches” I would have been MUCH happier. She could have made it a nice message and addressed the other end of the spectrum, but she didn’t really think through her wording. :/
Nice post, Mary!
I read this before I headed out to work this morning. I thought about it all day. Your words make me happy, they make me sad.
Happy because you speak truth. Sad because I think this way. That if I was more “interesting” I would be happier. Maybe if I did something funky with my hair instead of just letting it be gray that I would be perceived as different, edgy, interesting. At an event last week, pictures were taken. I didn’t want to look. At me. Because I am always disappointed in what I see.
And then I assume that what is on the outside must be what is on the inside.
And you say that is not the case. I am going to take your words to heart Miss Mary and try.
Angie, I’m really sorry to hear that. I’ve definitely had times where looking at pictures of myself was physically painful. You know what, though? Those times are behind me AND I’m probably 40 pounds heavier now. It’s all about perspective, lady. I can attest that you’re beautiful inside, and that means you’re also beautiful on the outside. Let that beauty radiate through your pores. You don’t need to dye your hair to make yourself interesting. You’re already interesting! Live your life the way you want, and if that includes making your bangs fuchsia then sing your heartsong! But there’s no need to do that for others. That’s the point. Never live for someone else. You’ve got this.
Your insides and your outsides do indeed match….. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL…. Please don’t forget that….. If you do, I’m here to remind you.
You, madam, are a wonderful person!!
D’aww! You’re the best, Allison! It was great to see you last week.
TRUTH. At 120 lbs, I thought I wasn’t good enough for a variety of reasons and that didn’t change until I looked like I do now and worked on other things besides appearance. It’s hard work to learn to love ourselves, but it is completely worth it. PS – what you say about “hot guys” being interested in every body type – so true. Seriously. My body type has never kept me from finding interest from men [and women!] of all sorts, no matter when I was small or bigger. People are attracted to me because of [sometimes despite!] my personality and attitude.
You nailed this so hard!
Yes! You totally get it, and I’m glad. Love yourself first, and the rest will follow. <3 Thanks Xiane!
Yes. You just let your sparkly insides sparkle on your outsides, and everything will be okay.
Such a beautiful sentence!
Oh my, sparkles on the inside AND the outside!!!
Just what I (and this world) needs more of.
You are beautiful, sweet lady!
Aw thank you! You are too, mama!
‘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. ‘
I may have been one of these people…. I ask this question because confidence eludes me. I’m on a seesaw with confidence and self esteem on one side and I’m on the other end but my side is on the ground with me looking up. I also ask you this question because a lot of confident people don’t want to talk about it…. For me it’s a rare thing to meet a confident person and I want what they have… Confidence is an internal thing… It comes from inside.. Not the outside so I understand physical appearance has little to nothing to do with it. Self esteem and confidence are in a car with only 2 seats and there’s no room for me to join them.
I’m happy to talk about confidence! You’re absolutely right, it IS an internal thing. The only time I get annoyed when people question me about it is when it’s clearly about my appearance. Like when they’ll say something about my outfit, ask where I get plus size clothes that are fun, and then tell me they wish they had my confidence. I am a confident person in general, and this conversation should probably continue. Maybe I will make its own post. I really hope that you can find your footing with confidence. You deserve to feel confident. Keep your head up work on some self love, first! <3
Maya Angelou taught me that the only fashion accessory a girl needs is confidence. And you are living proof of that, baby cakes! xoxoxox
For clarification, when I said I admired your confidence, it wasn’t because of your body type. More so, the things you accomplish… Fun fights, RAOK, stuff like that. Slowly but surely, I am working my way up to that! I totally love myself just the way I am. I definitely would like to weigh less for health reasons, but at the same time, I’m lazy and all around happy with who I am. Why change? If it happens, it happens. I’m gonna try being in better shape so I can go on hikes with my boyfriend, but I’m not going to go out of my way to try to lose weight. :3 You are so great, Mary!! 😀
I’m so glad that you are happy with yourself!! That’s amazing. THAT is confidence, babe. You’ve got it. Keep it going. If you were here I’d take you on all the RAOK missions!
You are both incredible and beautiful and strong and role models! I’m inspired by you both. c:
omgg I’m totally getting you cause people are not all nice they have to find something nasty to say cause they just don’t get them self esteem I don’t even think they have one .