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Letters (okay, one letter) from the front | Manolo for the Big Girl

Letters (okay, one letter) from the front

Friends,  I had kind of a sucky weekend. You know, the type where you sit in the dark listening to The Smiths longer than is probably strictly healthy and you’re fairly sure you’ll never be happy again and it’s just gonna be you and Mozzer sitting in a room together staring at each other until one of you actually dies from misanthropy.  You guys do that too, right? Right?

Usually when I have a sucky weekend, I don’t check my email because 99% of it comes from PR reps who are trying to convince to care about a whole lot of things I don’t even know about (What is a Jwow?) and your normal spam of Nigerian princes in seek of bank information and Ukrainian girls bending over and frankly I’m too delicate a petal to deal with that even when I’m feeling my normal chipper self. I definitely can’t hang when Truffaut films are speaking to me on any emotional level.

So it was with fear and trembling I opened an email from Beloved Reader Kylie.  I’m going to reprint it here in its entirety:

I wanted to share something that I think the plus-sized community needs to hear:

I have been plus sized since I was about 14 years old and NOT ONCE that I can remember has anyone so much as said ANYTHING negative about me pertaining to my size.  Boys have always been attracted me, girls have always been nice to me and my friends and family have always totally supportive of me in every way.  I have had my own self-esteem battles as anyone does, regardless of their size, but I have found I have more self-confidence in my appearance than my skinnier friends.  I decided long ago that whatever size I was (currently a 22/24) that I would do my hardest to not only love and accept myself for exactly who I am, but to be a confident woman who dresses and carries herself in the same way that any slender girl would, and I truly believe that this mindset has made all the difference for me.

My boyfriend of three years absolutely adores my Entire being and body completely.

Almost everyone I know has positively commented on the way that I look, and not only just my outfits.

No one has ever made me feel bad about myself in any way, shape or form and I have a feeling that I am in the minority in this, and on one hand it makes me feel sad that other curvy girls out there have had more difficulties with their size and how people react to them, but on the other hand, I feel completely blessed.  I have never been treated with anything but respect and kindness and I wanted to let people know that being a larger woman does not always mean that you have to fight adversity because I have never had any adversity to face.

I truly hope that I am not the only plus-sized woman out there who has had this experience, and I hope that I will hear that others too have been supported and loved for every inch and pound of themselves exactly for who they are and how they look just as I have.

Sincerely,

Kylie

This is something I’ve struggled with because my experiences generally have matched Kylie’s. I won’t say I’ve never been made to feel bad, but it has been extremely rare. What I HAVE experienced, however, is other girls who haven’t been as fortunate as Kylie and I, who try to convince me that in fact, I HAVE been treated as badly as they have but I’m not noticing it (and thus the inference that people are laughing at me and I’m too stupid to get the joke). This is particularly true of girls who once were fat and no longer are.

Now, I’m going to be intellectually honest and say that it is a possibility that despite being hyperaware of how people perceive me and borderline obsessed with the image I present and how it’s received, that in my thirty-one years of life I have been completely oblivious to all but a very few examples of the ugly, hateful and all-pervasive anti-fat bias at play around me.

But honestly I don’t think that’s what it is, and I’m so, SO glad to hear from Kylie because now I know although I might be in the minority, at least it’s not a minority of one.

Have people made fun of me because of my size? Sure, probably. Who cares? Have guys that I’ve thought were cute not been attracted to me (as unfathomable as that is) because of my size? Quite possibly. But you know, them’s the breaks. If some guy isn’t attracted to me because I’m fat that’s not any worse or more offensive than me not being attracted to him because he’s got spindly legs.

It’s preference, not persecution.

I think we create more problems for ourselves when we project our own insecurities onto other people’s actions (yeah I know, novel idea, right?) so when a woman who once was fat and insecure becomes less fat and less insecure, all of the sudden people who our girl felt were giving meaningful glares when she ordered the pasta instead of the side salad are now just people in a restaurant whom she may or may not notice.

If some passing girl gives me the stinkeye because I’m fat, who cares?

Lord knows I wouldn’t leave the house looking like 75% of the women I see for one reason or another. It doesn’t mean anything. I’m not going to treat them like less of  a person, I’m just going to hate their shoes. And honestly, that’s fine. I don’t need to like them and they don’t need to like me. It’s not like after the random disapproving girl rings up my groceries we’re going to go home, French braid eachother’s hair, have a slow motion bra-and-panties tickle fight and practice making out.   She’s going to ring up my criminally overpriced olive bar purchase and we’ll move on with our collective lives. C’est tout.

I’d like to hear from both sides of the aisle on this one. Has your experience been more like Kylie’s or less?

40 Responses to “Letters (okay, one letter) from the front”

  1. Rebekka September 27, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    On a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is Kylie and 1 is the cash register girl telling you fat girls can’t eat olives, and by the way you’re ugly and going to die a virgin, and without even any cats, because you’ll be so depressed you eat the cat food, my experience is probably a 7-8.

  2. Chiken September 27, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Very much like Kylie. Well, maybe a mean girl said something about candy consumption in 4th grade or something, but that’s about the only example of size-based rudeness I can think of.

  3. ChaChaheels September 27, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I wish Kylie’s experience were true for everyone, not just for big people. But it isn’t always the case.

    You need to be exposed to a great number of caring, supportive people who want you to grow into a strong self-confidence if you are going to become your own well adjusted person–and you need to be kept free from (or taught how to be impervious to) those people who will spend a great deal of time doing their best to make you feel like you don’t deserve to live. For many, the people doing the spirit breaking are the ones who should be doing whatever is possible to make you feel strong and loved–happily, we all know that isn’t the case universally. Either situation could happen to anyone.

    Trouble is, if there’s a “flaw” of some kind, then that will be the focus for those who try to break you or make you up. In the case of the former, it’ll be used against you: in the case of the latter, it will be the thing they’ll use to show you your unique greatness. Since fat really is the last socially acceptable, “moral imperative-infused” hatred, chances are good that you’re going to face the full force of that hatred from somewhere, no matter what your upbringing, if you fall into the definition of “fat”. Unless you’re strong enough to know (and, crucially, live like you know) it doesn’t matter at all, it will affect you negatively. It’s a very strong dynamic that exists–either you’re aware of it and know how to move around it, or you’re not aware of it, and you take it personally, and you end up caught in it and hurt.

    Personally, I think Kylie is incredibly lucky and I hope she’s grateful for any experience that has allowed her to realize her confidence and self-assurance. I’m not saying that about her as a lucky “big” girl, I’m saying it about her as a person in general. As for me and my scale of 10 to 1, my experience has not been like hers. There are people who will make comments about my size even now (I’m a size 18-20) and think they’re being funny or caring when they’re just showing their own flaws. Sometimes I choose not to let them get to me and sometimes I tell them what I think of them in a way that hopefully leaves them ashamed–but it does go on. I try to think of it as learning some important information about them, now; so I guess I’d be at a 5.

  4. Sarah September 27, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Yep, I am definitely closer to Kylie’s end of the spectrum. Maybe because I have little tolerance for intolerant people (however that works) and choose to surround myself with people who surround me with love and laughs.

  5. Ellie September 27, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    I’m definitely closer to Kylie’s end of the spectrum and actually about the same size as her. I agree that the dominant narrative is from those people that have had pretty rough experiences. Glad to hear this as well!

  6. Kayla September 27, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Using Rebekka’s scale, I’d say my experiences ranged from a 2-4, 4 being where I am now, thankfully. I’ve been overweight since very, very young – before a good attitude and snappy dressing could make up for fatness. That set me off at a early point of low self-esteem and self-loathing, which at 21, I’m still trying to overcome. My fiancé wonderful about making me feel good about myself, which is why I’m at such a high point in my life. At least now that I’m not in high school, I get fewer cackles of guys sniggering at me as I walk or sit down. So.. woo. I hope Kylie continues to be as fortunate as she is.

  7. Mifty September 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    On the Rebekka scale, about an 8-9. I was targeted by a jerk once in a fat-lady store a few years back and when I was younger was barked at or mooed at from time to time, but now, even with my weight at an all-time high for me, nobody ever seems to bother me about it. I smile at people and they’re nearly always nice.

    I’m going to an industry conference this week where I will see people I haven’t seen in a couple of years, and I have no doubt some will be startled by my current size. But I don’t expect anyone to say anything to me, and if they want to talk amongst themselves, that’s not my lookout.

    (And bless you, Kayla; it’ll get better!)

  8. jen209 September 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Aside from some middle school taunting, I’m mostly in the Kylie camp – with one exception. It’s taken guys many years to warm up to me, attraction-wise. Now that I’m in the latter half of my twenties, guys seem to finally realize that not all girls have model-like bodies, and are okay with mine. But it was hard going there for awhile.

    I wanted to highlight one of the things Kylie said – that she was more confident with her body than her “skinny” friends. I have found this to DEFINITELY be true. It struck me a couple summers ago when I went to the beach with 4 girlfriends. 3 of them are thin and perfectly proportioned. I am a size 20. My roommate has what we affectionately refer to as major “birthing hips”. Which of the 5 girls were the ones caught up all day on what they looked like in their bathing suits? The skinny girls. It was to the point of being annoying. My roommate and I just thought, you know what, this is who I am, and it’s not going to change in the next 24 hours. Why spend the day obsessed over it?

  9. Jennie September 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I was a skinny beauty queen. In my forty’s, I quit smoking, went into early menopause, and my fat burning metabolism went on strike. The weight gain wasn’t evenly distributed either, It all went to my belly. Oh I have had a lot of comments on “pretty face” “when are you due” or “this/that/ and these diets will cure you” So my experience is probably a 5/5. I am now 54. A few months ago, a nice lady told me I shouldn’t be lifting a box and asked when the baby was due. I smiled and said “I’m not pregnant, just fat but thank you for thinking I’m young enough to have a baby!”

  10. KimB September 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    As an adult, I haven’t had any significant bad experiences. But as a kid, it was bad. I got teased a lot, all through elementary school and junior high. And even though, at 34, that’s in the distant past (I honestly can’t even remember details of the teasing) I still think it affects the way I see myself. For example, even though there have been a number of times when I’ve walked into a room dressed up and literally gotten a jaw-dropped “wow” in response, I still always think it’s my personality that attracts men, not my looks.

  11. TropicalChrome September 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    On Rebekka’s scale above, my early years were a solid 9.5, with a great majority of that coming from my own family “for my own good so I wouldn’t end up like they did”. (Ma, the only way I wasn’t going to end up looking like you all is by having someone else as my genetic suppliers.) It was relentless and continous, both at home and school – but it was also a vastly different time with far, far fewer resources in existence at any cost.

    It’s a whole lot better now that both the world and I have changed. There are so many more clothing options now that I still look around and revel in the riches around me. But the damage was done, and even if circumstances are objectively around a 2 or a 3, my mind still braces for the attack even when none is imminent.

    I’m truly glad that there are people who grew up and are living in different circumstances. It’s a sign of change, and things cannot get better without change.

  12. Thea September 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    I’m truly happy to hear that Kylie has had different experience from many of us. I grew up in the era of “you have such a pretty face” (insert significant pause here).

    I hope things are better now for young girls growing up. When I was a kid it was, not pleasant and the clothing options that were available still give me screaming nightmares. Does anybody else remember the Sears “Lemon Frog” shop?

    But I hope that her fortunate experience has not made her insensitive to the fact that others truly have gone thru a lot, and not because we are projecting our insecurities – but because bad shit really truly does happen, no matter how well turned out or confident we are.

    There is a concept called “Survivorship Bias” in which people who have never experienced a thing, cannot conceive that it happens to anyone else. And that can, at times, breed disrespect for other people’s experiences.

    And while I don’t give a crap that the woman in the gym gives me the stink eye, for ya know, EXISTING – I can see that she does it. It won’t change my life, or my opinion of myself, but I’m not gonna pretend it doesn’t happen – because it does.

    And while we all have personal preferences in physical types, I’ve never seen a bumper sticker with a slash thru a picture of a guy with spindly legs.

    PS – Plumcake – back awaaay from the Smiths and listen to some Shamika Copeland for an hour :-)

  13. Dawn September 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    I to have been fat from the time I hit puberty (Around 13 , when my boobs and everything else went nuts ! lol) but I have never really had anything bad happen to me , I have never been made fun of (short of one guy in high school who I later found out was head over heals in love with me…Go figure ?) My mother always got onto me about eating to much or what I ate when I was young bc ”your going to get fat” , but on the other hand I was always told how beautiful I was . I hear these horrible stories of things that happen to ppl bc of there size and it breaks my heart , but I cant honestly say that I have ever been in that position . Like you , I have never had a problem attracting men and other woman are always friendly to me with the exception of those who are jealous of my boobs (sadly , that happens sometimes , tho I dont know why other woman cant see there own greatness and would rather hate on my bc I have huge boobs) . I have been happily married for 9 years this comeing March to a man who loves every inch of me and would have me no other way . Honestly , I have always been treated just like everyone else around me . I wish everyone could say the same . I live down south though and larger woman are really the norm down here , so maybe that has something to do with it . I imagain if I moved to New York city , ppl would not think I was so normal . Though my weight would only be one reason . lol

  14. polkahots September 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    while i certainly recognize that yours and kylie’s experiences are real and are fortunate enough to be the experiences of some of the commenters and, undoubtedly, other people in the world, i think this whole idea of comparing and contrasting our fat experiences is dangerous if we don’t consider difference. by this i mean that fat identity, like all identities, intersects with the other pieces of ourselves: our race, our class, nationality, sexuality, gender presentation, etc. i won’t pretend to know the answers to these categories for you or kylie, but i do encourage us to consider how it is that non-normative identities, like being fat, can be considered less aberrant, less grotesque, when it is grouped with other more normative identities, e.g. a fat, white, financially comfortable, heterosexual woman. for some people, being “normal” in every other way than just their size is enough to get them looked at, but not targeted, maybe, in terms of other people’s reactions because the presentations of the other identities is familiar and, in many ways safe. juxtapose this image of our white, fat, affluent friend, for example, with a character like tyler perry’s medea, who is always the butt of the joke, always an embarrassment, and never deemed desirable or even “fortunate” enough to receive the “pretty face” compliment so many of us are all too familiar with. medea is dark-skinned, african-american, not particularly financially secure, and seemingly a bit of a loose cannon. we are supposed to laugh at her because she is all kinds of not “normal,” not just fat.

    there is a distinct reason why, for example, even now with burgeoning “positive” (or maybe the phrase should just be “not totally tragic?”) representations of fat women on television – in shows like “huge,” “the gilmore girls,” and cbs’s new show, “mike and molly” – are all “normal” otherwise. they’re all white, they’re all middle-class if not more affluent, most, if not all, are attracted to or are involved with men. they are, otherwise, stereotypically normal and passable. and i think this relates to our experiences in real life too where being fat and people’s reaction to our fatness can be softened or lightened when you’re “attractive” and “upstanding” in all the other ways that are important to mainstream society.

    lastly, i want to make clear that i am heartened that not all people’s experiences are what we imagine those of fat people to be, but we need to recognize, as i mentioned above, that there are often reasons for why some of us get it worse than others (and one might even consider just the differences alone that fat people experience based on “fat” and “too fat” or who wears their fat “well” and is “proportionate” and who isn’t) AND that regardless of what our personal experiences are, celebrating that is important, but simultaneously takes a lot of time away from recognizing that just because some of us are still treated respectfully doesn’t mean that in general, as the larger community of “fat americans” or “fat people” or what have you, we are considered desirable; we are still something to be feared, and we are never “normal,” even when rates of fat folks continue to rise.

    so, to wrap up, i’m happy that some folks’ experiences have been better than others and i hope that speaks to a trend of body positivity in raising teenage girls and fat acceptance amongst adults, but i warn us to be aware of the other factors that contribute to acceptance and the larger picture of how we, as a whole, despite our myriad of differences, are largely perceived as undesirable.

  15. that redhead September 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    I’m 52. I’ve gotten more teasing (as a kid) about my red hair, than my weight. I was always a big girl (in junior sizes in elementary school…and mom thought they were too mature, so I sewed my own clothes for years). I slimmed down a little (but very curvy) in high school, but that was short lived and I’ve been at least a size 20 since going into college. I never had a shortage of male attention (no, my chest was not of the DD variety until menopause…don’t ask me why). And I’ve now been married for over 20 years. My size never kept me from doing anything: sea kayaking, river rafting, backpacking…even when I was up around 300 pounds.

    The few times I’ve gotten negative comments about my size has been from family members (mom & a niece). So, I’m definitely a 9 on a scale of 1-10. Oh, and I grew up in Southern California…so I don’t think it was a regional thing (quite the contrary).

    Glad to hear that others have had the experience I’ve had. The opposite seems to be more prevalent.

  16. Carrie September 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    I’d say my experience has been both. Family? They are all about the cut-downs. My mom is always giving me dieting tips, my grandma was horrified about my weight even though she was even more horrified if I wouldn’t eat whatever form of love she was serving up (generally pie), my sister-in-law calls me “the fat American” and thinks I don’t understand her.

    I taught high school for a few years. Teenagers are stupid and cruel.

    However, when I’m away from my family and just going through my every day life I don’t have people comment on my weight. I have a very thin husband who loves me and my body. I have friends of all shapes and sizes. I go to all kinds of classes at the gym (mainly for free child care). I don’t think I have ever been passed over for a job or had any person I really care about (except old fashioned family) treat me poorly because of my weight.

    When I was teaching I learned a lot about human psychology. I figured out that if you act confident and cool you ARE confident and cool. In the past couple of years I have lived with a new motto: be vivacious! It’s worked. I am now vivacious, and my size has almost nothing to do with me (other than dressing it, of course).

  17. Jeanine September 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    Actually, I never thought about it until this post….which says to me that I must be more along Kylie’s purview.

    The older I got, the more my mother had to say, and after kids, she really let loose.

    I was old enough to ignore her, so I did. Still do.

    No one else, (except maybe a disgruntled customer or two) has ever said anything about my weight.

    Interesting post.

  18. Thea September 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Carrie Says – I read your motto thru blurry contacts as “be vicious!” and thought – “Well, yeah, that works well too :-) Then I reread and realized you were far more upbeat than I at this moment. :-)

  19. Cat September 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    I’m on the other end of the spectrum from Kylie and you. But you know what? If you had a different experience growing up from me, that doesn’t mean you (or Kylie) are clueless — it just means you had a different childhood/adolescence than I did. Yeah….really….it’s called life. We all have a different one.

    Those people (women, men or marmosets) who try to force you into their mold are the clueless ones. We’re not all cookie-cutter people. Who’d want to be? So, you were lucky with having a childhood in which your “personhood” was supported and cherished. It happens. I’m lucky with other things. It’s good that we have a whole spectrum of experiences.

  20. SusanC September 28, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    Ah, middle school taunting! I’m afraid that doesn’t count as much given it is administered under the following conditions:

    (a) if you are fat… or too thin
    (b) if your breasts develop either significantly before or after the start of 7th grade
    (c ) if you wear glasses, have braces or your hair is curly or red
    (d) if you eat different stuff than the majority of the other kids
    (e) if you are either smarter than the average student or seem to care at all about how you are doing academically
    (f) if you ever strike out or miss catching a fly ball in Torture Class… I mean gym period
    (g) if you refuse to drink the concoction of booze that was stolen from the popular kid’s parents and all mixed together in a lunchbox thermos.

    I was okay on (a) but failed on every count of (b) thru (g).

    And that doesn’t even get into ethnicity, religion, or whether your family was poor or lived in the wrong neighborhood. Or, god forbid, had moved to the town from somewhere else in the last 50 years.

    Children are, for the most part, a vicious pack of hyenas, only less endearing. Thankfully, most grow out of it, and for those who don’t, we can recognize that their snarls have less to do with us but their compensation for their own lack of self worth through the belittlement of others.

  21. TeleriB September 28, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    My parents were relentlessly awesome; most of my self-image is wrapped up in my smarty-pants brain; and I was a late bloomer who thought boys were icky until well into my teens. It wasn’t all 100% roses and candyland, but put me at a 2-3 on the Kylie-Rebekka scale.

    I do remember very fondly the time my 13 or 14-year old sister talked my mom into taking us to some modeling talent scout thing. My sis was told she might do, once the braces were off. I was mournfully appraised and told that I would have to lose weight to have the fainted hope. I cheerfully told the woman that I had never been on a diet and didn’t plan to start one. She was thunderstruck: Fifteen, fat, and never dieted? Since I love upsetting expectations, this cemented Not Dieting as a Good Thing in my head. You don’t get double-takes like that very often.

  22. Thea September 28, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    I think Cat has a valid point – I wouldn’t want to accuse Kylie or goddess forbid Plumcake of being clueless.

    It’s when either side tips into ‘it never happened to me, so it never happened to anybody – you must be oversensitive!” Then both sides lose out of learning from a different experience.

    Personally I rejoice that my niece has the option of “Hot Topic” and “Torrid” because even us luscious girls need our goth couture

  23. Lisa from SoCal September 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    My experience is Kylie’s scale as demarked by Rebekka: 2 or 3. It’s hard to tell how much of this was people being jerks, my mother and grandmother being obsessed with my weight so that it came up every time I ate in front of them (and they’re gleeful humor about “wanting me to become anorexic”, and how much was my recently diagnosed as an adult Asperger’s, which makes you very sensitive to social interactions of all kinds. All I know is: my mother and grandmother hated my body–haaaaaated it–and took every opportunity they could start in on me about it. The result is that I hated my body and I have no positive narrative about it in my head no matter how much therapy I get. The best narrative about my body that I can manage is silence, where I’m not picking at every flaw.

    It’s not that I don’t believe Plumcake or Kylie, it’s that I am confused. Because if we’re all surrounded by support and love, what are all the “Suck It” posts about? Those posts are about people treating fat people like they are less. It’s obvious that it happens to us all because this blog has many “suck it” posts about the dumb remarks and stupid policies aimed at fat people every day. So I guess I the point is that you can feel supported and loved by your family and friends and still get hit by negative messages. That combo of a belittling family and a belittling society is a one-two punch of pretty epic proportions. Lucky me!

  24. Chicklet September 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I wonder if there should be a distinction between the in-person remarks/insults that Kylie, Plumcake, and others (including me) have not received, and the societal/institutional things, e.g., the barrage of weight-loss ads, “lose weight now!” articles, stores not stocking plus sizes, some designers refusing to make plus-size clothes, Anna Wintour saying Minnesotans look like “little houses,” airline seat-purchasing policies and the inconsistent imposition thereof, etc., etc.

    Because I’ve gotten none of the former, and a huge friggin’ boatload of the latter.

  25. txbunny September 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    I am conflicted about this post in many ways.

    I did not suffer as a teen from fat comments from other adolescents because I was borderline anorexic from age 12 – 18. I did have parents make ongoing remarks about my weight (they thought I should be thinner) even though I was between 115 – 120 lbs and 5′ 11 1/2″. Being serious about ballet till age 14 did not help.

    Continued to be slim in college and my 20s. By then I was a size 10 but I did not own a scale due to the anxiety it caused. It was better to relate to how my clothes fit rather than my numerical weight.

    I never felt beautiful or even pretty back then. I did grow in confidence as I got through my 20s but that was due to success at work using my brain.

    In my early 30s I developed hypoglycemia due to eating a diet too low in protein with too little fat for too many years. A very high stress work environment for over 10 yrs also contributed to this. The 6-7 meals a day required to get me to normal and not go into a deep suicidal depression cause me to gain 60 lbs. I have never lost the weight.

    Yes it did effect my work career and I definitely noticed a difference between how I was treated by both men and women. Being blindingly competent did help as well as being a confident happy person but it did not fix the problem. I still receive comments about my physical size to my face from mgmt at one company. I changed jobs when I perceived that it was more important what I looked like vs being a competent systems engineer.

    I was a size 16 at the time.

    It should be noted that I was always very groomed and well dressed. I always had lots of men asking me out. I did dress fairly conservative because of the boobs and it was the east coast in the 90s but I never lacked attention or dates.

    I am now 48, size 14w, and divorced. I do look a good bit younger than most people my age and have not had any “work” done. My weight is very proportionate so I realize I am very fortunate. I also think I look better now than I ever have (including my 20s). My confidence comes from being happy with the person I have become on the inside and it shows.

    The problem is dating these days is very screwed up compared to 15 yrs ago.

    I have no desire to be a “cougar” even though I get asked out by lots of guys in their late 20s through mid 30s. I think men in this age group really respond to confidence and presence more than anything else. The guys in their 40s and 50s are a different matter – many really seem to have a need for the girl to be a validation of their self worth ie be a skinny little thing that makes them look good.

    Yes any guy with this attitude is quickly booted to the curb.

    In conclusion, I still fight the bad programming in my head place there from my parents about weight. I still feel the disappointment at being treated as less in a work environment because of size. I still occasionally run into some jerk because I am a single woman. In the end none of these things matter because I like the person I am and that spirit or conscious being has nothing to do with size.

  26. pata September 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    If there’s one thing I hate about you, it’s that you’re a classist hypocrite. People of lower socieconomic class than you don’t deserve your bullshit any more than fat girls deserve the bullshit they receive, or don’t receive, or are talked about for receiving. Cashiers, and the other “girls” who serve you in your mighty march though society, are people too, and our lives aren’t easy.

    Yours,

    Pata

  27. Plumcake September 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    @Pata, It’s a shame you’re being forced at gunpoint to read the blog where I am editor.

  28. Plumcake September 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    @Rebekka: everyone knows that when you die the cats will eat you, so I guess they wouldn’t bother if they had to miss their Fancy Feast for a few days.

    @Chiken: Yeah, I mean I’d really like to say elementary school doesn’t count because kids suck and are evil, and I know because I was a kid and I was evil. Of course it’s easier said than done when it comes to discounting early school trauma.

    @ChaCha:
    I think you’re absolutely right, fat is the last “moral imperative-infused” hatred. It boggles the mind that someone would say anything to you as an adult (well except for family, because families are insane). It reminds me of when I wore my lynx coat out somewhere and a waitress who was Not From Here asked me if I was worried someone would throw red paint on me. I looked at her and said “That doesn’t really happen in concealed handgun states.”

  29. Plumcake September 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    @Sarah: I’m so glad to hear it!

    @Ellie:
    I’m glad you’ve had mostly positive or at least neutral experiences. The dominant narrative IS persecution and while I accept that from media and other entities trying to convince me I’m broken and that only X (for the low, low price of whatever it is they charge) can fix it, I really don’t get a lot of it on the street. Doesn’t mean other people don’t, but it’s nice to know it’s not ALL doom and gloom.

    @Kayla: Hey, for being 21 a four isn’t so bad. It gets better, I swear. In ten years I want to buy you a drink and we can talk about how much better things are now.

  30. Plumcake September 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    @Mifty: One of the untold number of reasons my mother’s current husband was and probably still is a total tool is that he mooed at fat women. I mean ignore that he married a fat woman, had a fat stepdaughter and had weight issues (couldn’t gain weight) himself. How vile a human being do you have to be to MOO at someone when you’re 40 years old?!

    @Jen209: Yeah, guys can kind of be slow learners, bless their hearts. I’ve always preferred older and/or European men, both of whom tend to have a broader view of what is beautiful so I kind of skipped over that trauma. And the skinny girls freaking out about their bathing suits take me straight back to gym class where the thinnest girls would all freak out in the locker room about how fat they were while the big girls just rolled their eyes.

    @Jennie:
    I am pretty sure if someone says “you have such a pretty face” the laws of the Geneva Convention says you can start smoking again just so you can put a cigarette out in their eye.

  31. Thea September 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    btw Plumcake, because you ask the thought provoking questions, you get the brunt of the blow back. Thank you for leading such stimulating discussions. And I love your ‘they don’t throw paint at us in a concealed carry state” I will be stealing that line

  32. Plumcake September 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    @Thea, I don’t mind about the blow back most of the time: It’s one of the reasons I get paid. I’m fair game and you’ve got to push me pretty far before I’ll block or ban someone. Either that or pick on one of my colleagues. I’m glad you liked the line, and I hope you use it in good health!

  33. MsK September 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    honestly, my expeeience has been a 9 or 10. i know some pple may not agree and say its too simplified or simply incorrect, but in my experience there is great truth to that law of attraction stuff. you get what you think, feel and believe. the only time i’ve ever gotten any modicum of negativity was when i was feeling less than great about myself.

    you feel amazing, pple reflect amazement to you. you feel insecure, you find evidence and attract more reasons to feel insecure. i think everyone, not only my voluptous sisters, would truly benefit from a few weeks of uttering very often to yourself ” i approve of you.” Truly feel, no matter what is going on in your life, even the things you may not love, that the very fact that i am living and breathing and being on this earth, exactly as i am in this moment, i approve of who i am.

    The moment you begin to own and approve of yourself, your life experience will change. You won’t even come in contact or even notice if anyone could say anything negative about you because in your world it simply isn’t true. Only one opinion matters and that is your own. All is well.

    Love, K

  34. Lisa from SoCal September 29, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    I really don’t think that your cats will eat you if you die, but I really bet that unfortunate hamster put into a g-string would hold that kind of grudge. Those things really aren’t comfortable.

  35. Harri P. September 29, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I’m pretty sure my dogs won’t even wait for my corpse to cool before they start snacking. Hell, one of them now will, say, lick at a scab on my foot, and then if I’m not paying attention start nibbling a bit at the scab. I’M STILL ALIVE, DOG.

  36. Plumcake September 29, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    @Harri P. IT SNACK TIME NOW

  37. AnthroK8 October 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    So I am late to the tap-dance. But! Whoever above says they got very little interpersonal badness and a societal bucketload of anti-fat horrible deserves a toast and an internet from me. That’s very accurate in my experience.

    I out and out banned body-shaming talk in my house because my housemate’s friend would say appalling things about fatness and bodies and then excuse himself with “but it’s different when you’re [other marginalized group here].” (see: intersectionality as mentioned above!) I have told him and others that they will have to leave my dinner table if they keep that kind of talk up.

    Not to mention effing PETA, oh my god.

    The absence of one of these doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of the other isn’t powerful. It is.

    Now, I am in much better emotional shape than I was at age 16-26. But it took a long time to get here, and I am aware of how much work it required to grow the attitude that makes my life and attitude about my appearance what it is.

    I am very glad Kylie and Plumcake and others have had such good experiences! It gives us an example to point to… “THIS is how it should be for all of us!” And that’s really, really great.

  38. anon October 5, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    wow – i wish i had had such a positive experience. i’ve been called fat and made fun of for my size for as long as i can remember. now that i’m all grown up – it tends to be shouted from car windows. growing up i can remember being made fun of at school and i can remember being harassed at home because “no one would like me if i was fat.” i can remember being made fun of in college, and i can remember not getting hit on at all while all my friends did. all of that being said, i’m not even all that big. i’m a size 16 or so. just a few weeks ago riding my bike down the street someone leaned out their car window and yelled, “get out the way fat bitch” at me. i’ve always felt a little bit like i’m at battle with the world. i’d like to be more relaxed. that is so incredible that you’ve never had anything negative said to you. incredible.

  39. anon October 5, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    ps – i still maintain that the reason more men didn’t ask me out and don’t ask me out is a. i’m terrified of being hit on b/c i’ve been sexually assaulted and b. i have small boobs. my curvy sisters with larger boobies always got hit on. i was ignored. or the sister.

  40. anon October 5, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    @Thea – love this: “And while we all have personal preferences in physical types, I’ve never seen a bumper sticker with a slash thru a picture of a guy with spindly legs.”
    someone had a “no fat chicks” night in a club here the other month. does that count?