I haven’t always been a fat girl. As a teenager I fluctuated between a UK size ten and twelve, it was only when my agoraphobia developed and I started taking antidepressants that I began to pile on weight. At my largest I was a size 22 and as of right now I am a size 16-18. Since putting on weight I have never really been comfortable in my body and have felt that it is something that I should be ashamed of and try to hide. I’ve avoided the bright and fashionable clothes that I wanted to wear in favour of dark tunics that hide my figure, there are fashion trends that I haven’t tried because I didn’t feel like I could “get away with them” and there are jeans that I’ve bought in a smaller size to entice me to lose weight.
Big and beautiful are two words that you never see together in a sentence and this year I’ve been really challenging why that is. What is it about being a bigger woman that is so unacceptable in our society? After a lot of research and questioning it seems there are two main reasons society tells us that we cannot be both big and beautiful.
1.) Being fat is unhealthy
2.) Fat people are unattractive
Last week I went to see my doctor for a check-up, he asked me to step on to the scales so that he could update my medical file with my current weight. Turns out in the last few months I’ve lost almost a stone. My doctor, a medical professional, praised me for this weight loss and told me to keep up the good work. He did not ask me how I had come to lose the weight and if he had I would have told him that it was through a month of barely eating anything because my anxiety and depression were so bad and because stress would make me physically sick every day. As far as my doctor was concerned this weight loss was good and healthy, but was it really?
Body shapes and sizes go in and out of trend as much as fashion. In the fifties society thought it desirable to have a fuller curvier figure like Marilyn Monroe. In the nineties a thin straight up and down frame came into fashion with the arrival of Kate Moss and now in 2016 women are paying money to have the curves in all the right places look that the Kardashians are so well known for. What this tells me is that the “perfect body” is always changing, so doesn’t that suggest that there isn’t one superior body type? That every size is perfect and has been celebrated at some point throughout history? Despite Marilyn, Kate and Kim having very different bodies they all have one thing in common: confidence. They have each stepped out into the limelight rocking their body shapes unapologetically. I think that the confidence in their own skin is what’s desired here, not the actual body type and that the two things often get confused. So are bigger ladies really unattractive? Again, I’m going to have to say no.
Upon realising that the reasons most commonly given on why big can’t be beautiful are totally false and inaccurate I took a long hard look at my own body in the mirror. It was like taking off this lense that we’re all conditioned to develop and for the first time I saw myself for who I truly am and I liked what I saw in the mirror. Before, if a stranger was to ask me how I would describe my body I would say "curvy" or "full figured" to try and soften the image of what my body looks like. The F word was big and ugly and undesirable and wrong. But now I am learning to reclaim what it means to be fat in the same way that homosexuals have reclaimed the word queer and made it into this word that they identify with and how nerdy people have shown that being a geek really just means being smart and passionate. I think it’s time that we did the same thing with the word fat. I’m reclaiming it as my own by being unapologetic about who I am showing that fat means confidence, fat means healthy, fat means happy. When being fat becomes reconditioned in your mind to mean all of these wonderful things instead of what society tells you it should mean it suddenly takes away the power that word has to hurt you and turns it into something beautiful.
I am big and I am beautiful and no matter your body type you are too.