Big Fat Love

[Content Note: Fat hatred, body policing, food policing, bullying.]

I know I've said this before, though only on Twitter, but, because I'm seeing a disproportionate amount of shit being flung at fat people—and when it's remarkably more than usual that is SO MUCH SHIT!—as a result of HBO's garbage documentary, The Weight of the Nation, the first part of which aired last night and the second part of which airs tonight, I'm going to say it again: I like fat people.

Naturally, I wouldn't really like every fat person, but in the interest of providing a tiny bit of counterbalance to all the people who blanketly hate us, without shame or censor, I want to say in opposition: I like fatties.

I like my fat friends. I like my fat family members. I like my fat colleagues. I like my fat acquaintances. I like my fat neighbors. I like the fat members of this community. I like your fat partners and your fat kids and your fat friends, too. I like the fat people I see walking their dogs. I like the fat people I see at the grocery store. I like the fat people I see at the movies. I like the fat people I see at restaurants, on the local trails, at the vet, at the corner store picking up milk. I like the fat lady who told me, when I went out shopping in a sleeveless shirt on a hot day for the first time in my life at 38 years old, "I like your shirt!" And I love my fat self.

And there are people reading this, privileged people, who don't understand what it's like to live in a body like mine, who are thinking: Of course you like fat people. You're fat.

Because they don't know. They don't know the self-hatred to which we are exhorted in big and small ways, and how it can turn into hatred of other fat people. They don't know the ways in which the shaming, the bullying, the body policing, the rank hatred, the disgust disguised as concern can make a fat person maintain a physical and psychological distance from other fat people, especially people just that much fatter, because we are keenly aware that proximity is guilt and grotesquery by association. They don't know the contemptuous stares of patrons at a cafe when two fat people walk in together, or, Maude forbid, even more of us, like some kind of freakish human herd that storms across the countryside devouring the resources that belong to decent folk.

They don't know how difficult it is to hate yourself as much as this culture tells us we should hate ourselves for being fat, but love other fat people.

The self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-love that allows fat people to really embrace and adore one another are hard-won—and, because those precious commodities remain elusive for so many fat people, it is not by any means axiomatic that fat people like other fat people.

We internalize the same narratives of moral weakness, of inferior character, of laziness, slovenliness, gluttony, ugliness. We have all the same reasons to hate fat people (including ourselves) as people who are not fat—plus the additional reasons of futile self-preservation described above.

We are discouraged from liking one another.

Even though we are often each other's most reliable safe spaces, fiercest champions, least judgmental allies, dearest friends with the boundless capacity to understand the nature of fat hatred, to recognize the challenges of Living While Fat, we are discouraged from liking one another.

And, of course, everyone else is discouraged from liking us, too.

Well, fuck that.

My fellow fatsronauts: Maybe your parents police your body, maybe your partner comments on your eating habits, maybe your boss passes you over for promotions, maybe your coworkers make snide comments about your weight, maybe your thin friends passive-aggressively use your weight to make themselves feel better about their insecurities, maybe strangers say awful shit to you, and maybe you have days where it feels like you are truly, hopelessly, resoundingly unlovable, just because you're fat.

It isn't so. I love the fuck out of you.

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