Apparently Cosmo did an article interviewing fat women and their experiences. I'm not going to lie, I hate Cosmo and have pledged never to give them my money again. But a bunch of other fat women bloggers have been answering the same questions from the interview to give a wider perspective, and I'd like to jump on the bandwagon. There's a list of other participating bloggers here, and I learned about the project from Issa (whose blog is totally awesome, and you should check it out!). Without further ado, here are the questions and my answers:
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
It makes me feel both sad and embarrassed. Sad because they are more worried about their weight than anything else, and embarrassed because they think it's okay to give intimate details of their food and body to someone they hardly know. Why is that socially acceptable? I think it's just awkward, and I try to change the subject.
How has your body image changed since high school? College?
I was pretty self-conscious in high school, even though I weighed a lot less than I do now. I felt fat even when I was in the normal range for my height. In college, I worried more about trying to lose weight simply because I recognized that I was gaining weight (I probably gained about 50 lbs between high school and college). In college, I became more and more depressed, which led to a lot of self-hatred that I still struggle with today. My self-confidence took a nose dive along with my mental well-being. [Also, way to assume that everyone can afford college. Did I mention I hate Cosmo?]
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I have tried dieting on and off, but my focus has always been more on exercising. One summer I exercised pretty intensely at least five days a week, and I did lose some weight, but of course I gained it right back with some excess. I was never good at dieting just because I don't like to be hungry.
Do you think in your case you weight is partly or entirely genetic?
Of course it's partly genetic. If it has to do with your body, it's at least partly caused by genetics. Other people in my family are fat, and I look like people in my family. (Does the "duh" need to be stated?)
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
I'm healthy in some ways, and unhealthy in others, but that doesn't necessarily reflect my weight. I had depression and asthma before I was fat.
Are your parents supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been?
My mom comes from a family where a lot of the family members are fat. I think that she understands that I look like the rest of the family, and I don't think she's ever really mentioned it. I know that I look just like her and my sister. :)
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-sized people?
Carry more sizes. I hate going into a store at the mall and not being able to find my size at all. Why is it so hard to carry the same clothes in bigger sizes?
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-size men are? How?
Women are always judged in a more sexual nature, like how sexy or "fuckable" they look. So if we're fat or unattractive, that's worse than a man being fat or unattractive.
Do you think there's an assumption made / stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Of course there are stereotypes about fat people. We're lazy, sloppy, smelly, easy, gross, whatever. Stereotypes about fat people, just like stereotypes about any other kind of people, should be called out whenever possible. If you hear a stereotype, challenge it.
Do you think there's ever a right way or time to express concern about someone's weight?
Not unless you are that person's doctor or baby doctor. A family doctor should be concerned if a patient gains or loses a lot of weight in a short time person, and a baby doctor should be concerned if a pregnant patient is not gaining enough weight or is gaining too much weight. If you are not that person's doctor, then you should not mention it.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? How did you respond?
Except for on the internet, people don't say nasty things directly to me. They say them behind my back. In both cases, I ignore them (or block them on the internet).
What have people said (or do you wish they'd say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
The only time I'd like a compliment on my appearance is if I make a drastic change to my hair like dying it or cutting it. Other than that, I find it awkward for other people to comment on the way my body looks. A woman at my old job asked me on more than one occasion if I had lost weight, and I was just at a loss for words. Telling me I look smaller than I did before is not a compliment, and it's rude. Seriously, keep that crap to yourself.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Not really. I'm very socially isolated (due to depression and anxiety) right now, but in school the people I hung out with were both fatter and skinnier than me. We hung out because we were in the same clubs or the same classes, not because we looked the same.
How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
It made me more self-conscious about my body, but I'm getting over that. Other than that, we just push the fat out of the way. (Yay for TMI!)
When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
I haven't been single for more than 6 years. Last time I was single, I was at a "normal" weight.
Do you feel weird if the guy you're with only dates larger women?
First of all, I hate that Cosmo assumes that they have no bisexual or lesbian readers. It would be so easy to change "the guy" to "the person." But no, I don't think that's weird. Unless the person is purposely trying to manipulate fat people because they think that fat people are easy or desperate. Then, it wouldn't be weird, but it would be creepy and manipulative.
Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?
I might feel self-conscious if that happened, but it wouldn't be hard to get over. They're dating me--and not their exes--for a reason.
That's all for the questions, but feel free to ask others. Check out some of the other interviews here!