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Pretty For a Fat Chick


Since I’ve re-entered the dating world I’ve heard things like “you’re beautiful despite your size,” and “you’re beautiful because of your size.” Neither of these is what I want to hear. Am I being too picky? I don’t think I am.

They say, “You’re beautiful despite your size.” As if no one could be beautiful at my size, and as if my size cannot be a part of what makes me beautiful. “Your fat is an obstacle that you have overcome by virtue of having a cute face! Good for you! Part of you is pretty enough to make up for the fact that I consider you deathfat!”

The other ones, the fat fetishists, say, “You’re beautiful because of your size.” That’s a little closer to what I would like to hear because it’s always nice to know that there are people out there who do not consider obesity to be the most disgusting thing in the world, but it’s still not perfect. I don’t want to be admired solely because I am a person of size. I am sexy, but I am not a sex object and my body is not something to be fetishized. I don’t want to be distilled down to a body that I’ve spent years wrestling with and that I fight every day to accept. I’m not a walking, talking Rubens painting that fucks for your enjoyment.

A thighs-up photo of Sugar, wearing a white corset with black trim and polka-dots, and taking the photo with their phone, which hides their face.

Me circa 2012, repping the Obesity Cabal.

Don’t make this mistake with other fat people, admirers. I know I can’t speak for all of us (you know, the OBESITY CABAL), but I have heard this sentiment voiced by a few people of a similar size. I’m sure your intentions are good. You want to say, “Your size doesn’t make you less desirable to me.” That’s not a bad thing! But unless I’m in some kind of self-hate spiral about being fat I don’t need you to say something to assure me that my fat is not a dealbreaker.

I know some people are like, “Well what does they want? We can’t like their fat, we can’t hate their fat, and now we can’t mention it in passing either?” Honestly… yes. Pretty much that. Another person’s body is not yours to comment on, no matter what the size. If you want to have a conversation about my fat and our relationship supports that sort of topic, let’s talk about it plainly, but with tact. Trying to slip it into a compliment is not tactful. I don’t need you to compliment me in some kind of code that tries to discreetly address my fat. You don’t have to acknowledge my fat like it’s another person in the room that you don’t want to ignore for fear of seeming rude, so you don’t have to add further qualifiers onto “you’re pretty.” Just say I’m pretty. Don’t tell me I’m pretty… for a fatty.  I don’t need you to other me by using my body to set me apart from the “normies.”

All I ask for is someone who appreciates me as a whole package. I don’t want a partner that tolerates or ignores my fat because they like everything else, and I don’t want a partner that focuses on my fat before everything else.  My husband is one person who handles this with grace. He isn’t a “chubby chaser,” and he doesn’t cringe every time he sees me naked. He likes to see me naked, in fact! He would never make the stupid mistake of tacking something about my body onto the end of, “You’re beautiful.” Why is just plain, “You’re beautiful,” so hard for some people to say? Just stop talking after the second word. Why does my size have to come into it at all? Why can’t I be beautiful AND fat? Why is there automatically an assumption that my fat must impact my view of my beauty and self-worth? How about you just worry about loving me, and let me worry about being fat.

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  • April 26, 2015 at 9:51 pm
    Ima Godiva

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. This is something that is brought up a lot, and it always seems to turn into “like me even though I’m fat” or “because I’m fat.” But when one makes peace with their body, then instead of focusing on weight, or apologizing for it, they can just be them. Not them and their fat. Which leads to the unapologetic “like me, or don’t like me. But do it for *me,* not my physical attributes.”

    Ironically, fashion models go through a similar thing. People like them for their “beauty” or dislike them for it, but few take the time and effort to really find out who the person is inside.

    I’m a similar size to your photo, and I’ve always had lots of romantic attention, flirtations from men and women. I am confident and active, and I interact without regard to my weight. There are people who discriminate. But my life has always been full of people who don’t, and they are the people who are my friends. One of the many compliments I’ve received was, when I was going on a business trip with a coworker and mentioned being concerned about my size because of airplane travel, the coworker said “I just don’t think of you as being large. You always just look full of happiness and life.”

    Oh yeah, people. *That’s* what I want to hear. Especially when it’s followed by (and it was) “incidentally, you’re also beautiful.” Emphasis on incidentally, please. 🙂

    • April 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      That’s what I’ve always noticed and had complaints about. I don’t like “disregard my fat” or “embrace my fat.” Just embrace me, which includes being fat. I am not defined by my fat, I’m not ashamed of my fat, and my fat doesn’t dictate my beauty or my romantic life or my worth!

      I think anyone on either end of the spectrum of “conventionally desirable” and “unconventionally desirable” has this problem of being liked or disliked purely on their outsides. Shallow people are everywhere, but the bright side is that the shallow people who rule me out are never worth knowing in the first place.

      I wish I had known in high school that I would have had my pick of partners at this size. I was convinced that no one would love me and I stayed in a relationship for five years because my boyfriend at the time succeeded in convincing me that I was the problem. Because no one other than that guy liked me in high school I thought no one ever would. My mind was BLOWN when I finally broke up with him and everyone was in my yard hollering for my milkshake.

      “I just don’t think of you as being large.” They always mean for it to be a compliment…

  • April 26, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    You are beautiful. period

    • April 26, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you Will! That is exactly what we want to hear, and it makes me so happy to know that you and others have read this and see it that way. 🙂

  • April 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    You are gorgeous and sexy. The thing is, I didn’t need to see you to know that; in my opinion these qualities are states of mind. This probably sounds like a cliché, but to me – and I’m guessing to many men and women – what’s on the inside is more substantial than a person’s physical appearance. I’ve always subscribed to this philosophy to some extent, but never moreso than since joining Twitter in 2011. Suddenly I had access to a vast population whose words were accessible to me but whose physical being was usually inaccessible.

    That being said, I find you attractive based on this photo, not only because we’ve interacted on Twitter and because you seem like a like-minded sex-positive, but because you really are physically beautiful. However, I am willing to consider that my attraction may be influenced by my impression of you through our interactions on Twitter. Still, I don’t think it’s out of line to perhaps cross someone off the list for saying something ridiculous like “You’re beautiful despite your size”, which betrays a certain underlying prejudice; or even “You’re beautiful because of your size”, which makes me feel like their attraction is too dependent upon your physicality.

    Great post. Thank you for sharing it.

    • April 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      I definitely agree that traits like “gorgeous” and “sexy” are based on your frame of mind! I have always known that I was pretty awesome inside, it just took me a long time to understand that I was outside too. Growing up fat I felt a lot of pressure to cultivate a great personality because all I ever heard was that people would only like me for that. It is so delightful and pretty affirming to hear lovely compliments like those you have bestowed upon me. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading it and commenting!

  • April 26, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this! I can think of so many instances where someone said something to me along the lines of “you’d be so pretty if you lost some weight” and for many years i believed it 100% and believed if people weren’t saying it, surely they were thinking it. I would even say it to myself. “If only I could lose weight, I’d get that boyfriend, job, etc” Finally, now, I’m working on being comfortable in my own skin, as it is, and reading posts like yours is hugely helpful.

    • April 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Thank you for reading it and commenting! I am SO happy that this helps. Being comfortable in your own skin is essential, and EVERYONE deserves that! I know firsthand how easy it is to do “thin thinking,” where I convince myself that my life will be radically different once I lose 100 pounds, but that’s not how it works for anyone. I was also told I’d be pretty if I lost weight… and even one time it was by my doctor. (Terrible bedside manner. Never went back.)

      It’s better that we learn to love ourselves! You are beautiful and amazing exactly how you are, and you don’t need to change for anyone’s gaze. Like Rumi said, “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

  • April 27, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Thank you for this post. I can relate to just about every word.

    • April 27, 2015 at 12:36 am

      I grew up being fat shamed, especially by my family. I still am to this day unfortunately. I have finally learned to love me for me, and not hate myself for not being what everyone else wanted me to be.

      I grew up being to that no guy would ever love me while I am fat. That too I am learning is complete crap. I also have learned that I don’t need to have someone love me first before I can love myself.

      • April 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm

        I also grew up being shamed and thinking that no one would ever love me while I was fat, and you are completely correct – that is TOTAL BS. Don’t ever let the shaming overwhelm your sense of self-worth – your body is beautiful, but you are more than just a body. Keep loving yourself and rocking it! 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

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