Airing Some (Plus-Sized) Lingerie Part 1 – Clothing Edition
I know this blog is about dating, kinky shit, putting things in my vagina, and gender (when I get around to it), but there’s also something very distinct in my life that I make sure to mention in my descriptions, and that is totally relevant to my sex life, my sexy outfits, and my gender identity (and social, body, and gender dysphoria): that I’m fat.
No, I really am. I’m not “model fat,” where I’m actually average (between US size 10 or 14) and Torrid is using me to promote a site geared toward people who are actually plus-sized. My body is strangely-proportioned. I’m 5’ tall, with enormous hips and thighs, a big, round ass, a short waist (or maybe it seems that way because of my hips), and broad shoulders that accompany not-overly-generous breasts. (I’m a strangely-shaped D-cup. It’s not an impressive cup size for a female-bodied person of my body shape.) I’m literally somewhere between “pear” and “hourglass” shaped… hourglass because of my shoulders, though – not that you can tell much about my waist under my clothing. My hip measurement is twenty inches more than my waist measurement. I buy the biggest panties that Lane Bryant offers, and they do not all fit equally or ideally. Most sites, when they offer underwear catering to anyone that’s actually my size, strictly offer tummy-sucking, high-control, high-waisted underwear. Plus-sized clothing companies, especially the ones producing lingerie, believe that the women they’re actually building for are over 5’6 and have little-to-no hip span, and no ass. They also believe, for the most part, that the bigger we are, the more we want to suck and tuck so that we look as smooth and tiny as possible, rather than wear something that lets us get naked and bone the nearest thing with legs.
Are you beginning to detect that I have a problem with this? You can read much, much more below. Or you can ignore the text below the cut and wait until I post about sex again – that’s your prerogative as the reader.
The general attitude that American culture has about fat people is that they’re asexual… or, at least, we want them to be, because we also think that they’re slovenly, unwashed, gluttonous, disgusting lumps of air-sucking lipids that have intentionally doomed ourselves to an early death (wrong) because we “chose” to be fat (wrong) through our unwillingness to run ten miles and starve ourselves every day. And we can’t imagine wanting to have sex with “that.” In the minds of the small-minded, fat people with vaginas must have vaginal cavities of cavernous proportions, which only the extremely drunk or extremely desperate would dare to go spelunking through.
When we tell our friends (as a Twitter follower told me when I mentioned working on this post) that we don’t think they’re fat, what we’re telling most of them is: “I don’t think you’re gross. I know you bathe! You have a sex life! I don’t think you’re embarrassing, I let myself be seen with you (or date you, instead of jerking off to you privately) in public! I don’t think you should be ashamed.” At least, consciously you don’t think we (your fat friends) are embarrassing. (You might be surprised by your own subconscious judgments.)
Even for people who are average-sized, our culture promotes this idea that we must be thinner. We must be a size smaller! We must be healthier! (As if health and body size were mutually inclusive in all circumstances.) And there’s a myth that we hand down as these resolutions (to become thinner, to weigh less, to “be healthier”) are made: that everything we don’t like now will be different when we’re thin.
This is especially prevalent for those of us who actually are fat. People who do find it harder to pick up dates with the majority of the population; AFAB people in particular, because cisgender men are prized for their intellect, and cisgender women are prized for their trophy-wife appearances. So people just make a lot of assumptions that things will magically clear up and opportunities will appear around every corner if they shave off 50 pounds. “My monogamous partner committing infidelity won’t cheat on me when I’m thinner.” “My partner will have more sex with me if I’m thinner.” “My friends will spend more time with me when I’m thinner.” “I’ll get more dates when I’m thinner.” “I will look in the mirror and think that I look hot today.” There is some fantasy life of our thin self that we staunchly believe in; they will have more sex, better social lives, and, more importantly, will be less ashamed of their appearance.
No. Because the fact of the matter is, if I sucked all the fat out of my stomach, thighs, hips, ass, and underarms, I would still not be a size 2. I would still be an introvert that is exhausted at the end of the day. I still would find 90% of the population to be too boring to be worth dating. I still would feel a teensy bit disappointed when my partner wasn’t in the mood to fuck for three hours straight. That “thin Sugarcunt would go clubbing” thing? That’s not true. The idea that I’ll get more people interested in having sex with me holds a bit of merit, but quite frankly, I still wouldn’t want to have sex with them (see “too boring,” above), and hand to god, I get solicited enough without dropping down to a size 8. I currently, at the time of writing this, have two photos on QueerPornTube that are on the front page under “being watched,” meaning that someone out there, right now, is staring at my fat-ass body. Including my vagina. (Oh no, fatty sex!) I receive a barrage of OKCupid messages which all contain the reassuring and captivating line of, verbatim, “id do u.” But I think that’s because I “have a pretty face.” (Backhanded compliments are also popular among the OKC community.)
If all of this is true (and it is, because I only speak the truth), then why am I still, mentally, pressured to diet? To go to Zumba five days a week? I know I am a sex god(dess?), and I know I’m going to spend the rest of my life having some kick-ass sex with myself and everyone around me that will consent and hold still long enough. I am not going to die alone with twenty cats that eat me before my body is found, or choke to death on a microwave dinner in my apartment. In fact, as much as I can ramble about how being fat makes it more difficult to date and/or hook up, I’ve had a hard time staying single ever since I ended my five year relationship. So why in god’s name did I feel guilty when I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to drop twenty pounds?
You’re like, “Well if you don’t like it, lose weight.” Shut up. I was on Slimfast when I was ten. I was on sports teams. I played outside as a child. I had gym every day. None of this made a damn bit of difference. I was the “fat kid” from the ages of five until I aged out of the category of “kid” and into the category of “bitch.” “Well cut your portion sizes and be more active!” I’ve lost more weight during extended sedentary periods than I have from doing this. I have remained in the same weight range for about four or five years. It is fucked up that I have spent this many years trying and failing to lose weight only to find myself, on a REALLY bad day, envying people with anorexia. Anorexia is a serious and deadly eating disorder. It doesn’t make you attractive. It KILLS you. I would never wish that on my worst enemy, much less the best person that I know (me).
Why do I seriously consider gastric bypass, or a severely harsh “cleanse” where I drink nothing but water and broth for a month, or potentially-harmful, untested weight-loss pills when there are rumors that they’ll cause heart attacks? Why do I have fantasies where I cut off giant chunks of my body and feed it to my pet piranhas? Why do I even have a tank of piranhas when I fantasize?
Because fat oppression is a real thing, as is the policing bodies of all sizes. While we police the underweight frequently, there’s still definitely more substance in the claim that thin people receive more privilege than we fatties. More attractive people get more promotions – being thin is a crucial component to attractiveness in the eyes of most Americans (and if I recall, there’s research out there stating that the overweight and obese get less promotions). Not-fat people are less likely to receive scrutiny for eating in public, or taking public transportation when they could walk, or for existing, period. People who aren’t fat don’t have to live in fear that the plane seatbelt won’t fit, or that they will be asked to purchase two seats, that they will be asked to go to an amusement park and will not fit in any rides, or that they will be criticized if they sit down on a bus and accidentally touch someone with a part of their body. Hollywood is comprised of thin people, for the most part, especially the female population. While fat men are allowed to be funny, or evil, or just “average men” in movies and television, fat women are featured less. When fat chicks are shown, they’re on a desperate quest to lose weight, or they’re clumsy and always eating, or they are characters that don’t even merit “secondary character” status, or they’re the scary, almost-violently-obsessive blind date that the main character stumbles into. Very few (almost no) movies feature the main character as quirky, snarky, balanced, intellectual, filled with self-esteem, and fat. (If they made a movie about my life and I had no say in it, my character would be played by a thin actress that could pass as “gender queer” by virtue of being flat enough in all areas to be considered androgynous. Not a woman who wears size 26/28 panties from Lane Bryant.) Not-fat people can generally be assured that they’ll be able to find something in their size when they enter a clothing store. Not-fat people can also buy attractive clothing at a much lower price.
Let me delve back into that one. Do you know how much my parachute-sized Lane Bryant panties cost? Generally a minimum of $15, unless there’s a 5-for-$25 sale (which is the only time I buy them). Because I’m a fat chick my bras cost $60 from Lane Bryant because I can’t find my band size anywhere else. If I DO find a bra in my size elsewhere, it’s not a “sexy” bra – it’s for utility only. I’m not saying that lingerie (or any other clothing) for average-sized and/or thin people is always cheap, but I know for a fact that one of my roommate’s favorite stores has penny sales – buy one item, get the other for a penny. One of my former friends used to be able to buy panties from a bargain bin in a mall store where she could get several pairs for $10 or less. And more importantly: out of the clothing items available to these two individuals, they had options that were figure-flattering, and many were “sexy.” They were able to find their sizes in-store, rather than being told by a salesclerk that “plus size clothes are only available online.” If they shop online, they are able to attain a vague approximation of what the clothes will look like on a body shape similar to theirs, whereas most plus-size clothing sites (or sites with plus-size options for their clothing) use models that are model-size. Lane Bryant, for example, seems to show a mix of regular-model-sized and “plus-sized”-model-sized women.
Allow me to also educate you on why most AFAB people of a size 20 or greater are reluctant to accompany you to the mall: because we are the victims of terrible marketing generalizations. The assumption is that we have an inordinate love of sailboats, ugly florals, and animal print.
Let me be proactive in defending myself, before someone accuses me of just hating water because it implies that I will have to wear a swimsuit. I am a fat AFAB person, and I enjoy being on boats, although I’ve never been on a sailboat. Perhaps I have been uninformed about what a life changing-experience that it would be. Perhaps, after riding in a sailboat, I would be so focused on adorning myself with them that I would consider having one tattooed on a portion of my plentiful ass.
Until that day, I will continue to feel absolutely resentful every time I am browsing the plus-sized section of my nearest Goodwill or outlet store. I swear to god, if I see one more sequin-covered sailboat on a shirt, I’ll just burn the place down. What connects fat women and ocean liners? (Insert fat joke and rimshot.) Is it that a boat, no matter how small and masted, is JUST wide enough to appropriately decorate our plentiful bosoms? Perhaps the scalloped waves that cut across our widest point are meant to be flattering?
Or maybe, despite endless pattern images and styles that span the fashion world, a white, loose-necked, unflattering t-shirt with a boat on it is the best thing that reasonably-priced clothing companies can come up with.
Naturally, oversized white shirts in inconvenient cuts are not what sensible fat chicks want to wear… which is why “plus sized clothiers” take it a step further. Animal print. Grandmotherly florals that my nana would spit on. Ill-fitting babydoll cuts that ensure that your breasts look like triangular hocks of meat. Empire waists guaranteed to ensure that no one remembers that you have a waist. Massive, blotchy, eye-searing shapes that are having tantric sex on an overly reflective, clingy fabric tent that some asshole has the audacity to market as a “tunic top.”
So here’s the thing. We’re pretty much faced with shitty prints, too many sequins and shiny things, and cartoon characters beside “sassy” slogans. You know how I mentioned that “thin privilege” thing, where my non-fat friends have an idea of how something will look straight off the rack? These “chic fat chick” cuts look GREAT on those size 6 mannequins; it’s only when you take that top home and tear off the tags that you suddenly realize that the lines separating each breast and the neckline are not flattering on you. Instead, this top turns YOUR body into some disturbing topographical map. Here are the mountains, with a huge gorge separating them, with some rolling hills everywhere else.
That blows. When were we, the fat, not allowed to look damn good? Why the fuck can’t I opt to look dapper in a cute vest and a decent button-down (that didn’t cost me $40) that doesn’t gape in places? This quarrel with clothing companies extends back to the bedroom, again – why the fuck does all of my underwear have to separate! support! smooth! suck in! shit that doesn’t really need to be changed? I mean, quite frankly, I’m not going to keep those panties on once my partner has begged to shove their face in my cunt long enough. They’re going to see me naked. All that shit that starts with s isn’t going to do a damn bit of good once I’m on the floor basking in the afterglow. That smoothing and support doesn’t last once I remove the matronly underpants… so why not have -fun- getting to the part where I get laid by having some cute panties? Don’t even ask me about boxer-briefs and style. I can’t even find any that fit… ditto on briefs. They are not made to accommodate my hips or thighs, so I have no idea what male-bodied people with similar proportions are expected to do. (Do you free-ball it? Do you just wear roomy boxers? What if your junk needs as much support as my packer does?)
This seems like a good stopping point, because it’s going to segue into another post: my fat chick beef with sex toy manufacturers.