Seriously. We're not clowns.
If you’re a woman and you happen to be fat, you’ve got a whole lot more to worry about than your body image.
Learning to love yourself, that’s a process that can take a lifetime.
Learning how to emit confidence in the face of hostility, hatred, pettiness and aggression? That’s something you’re forced to learn super-fast or else risk going through the rest of your life a sobbing lump of floor-tears.
It’s hard enough being a woman and having a healthy sense of self-esteem. The world isn’t FOR women, we’re always in the way, with our bodies that can get raped, our boobs that insist on being touched, and our big loud mouths that need to be told to sit back down.
At least, that’s very often how it can feel.
Now imagine what it’s like being a woman who isn’t just a woman in this proverbial man’s world, but a woman who is also fat. Yeah, bolstering one’s self-esteem just got a whole lot gnarlier.
Our society has a certain set of things fat women can and cannot do if you don’t plan on losing weight.
You can’t be sexy. You can’t be loud. You can’t expect to get a seat on the subway or to share a row on an airplane without someone sighing in annoyance at having to be in the presence of your fat body.
You also can’t be an actress and be successful unless you accept the fact that being a fat woman actress means being funny.
Think about it, think about the successful fat women you see on TV and in movies.
If they aren’t in comedic roles they are in roles where they are being sexually abused (Precious) or roles where their weight, if they plan on staying heavy, if they plan on losing weight (This Is Us) are either central to the character they’re playing or central to the coverage of the actress portraying that role.
We love to pretend that we’re a society that welcomes diversity in bodies.
“Rebel Wilson! Melissa McCarthy! They’re so great!” Yeah, and you know what? They’re also comedians.
They both happen to be gifted performers who are the kind of funny that makes you sit up and take notice, and while I can’t speak for them, I can say that it wouldn’t surprise me if the fact they’re also fat happened to contribute to that fact.
As a fat woman, I have had to learn how best to protect myself.
For me, and for many other fat women, the easiest way to do this is to be the funniest person in the room. If you’re drawing attention to yourself in a positive way, if you’re making every laugh, then they can’t laugh AT you.
It’s about control. It’s about survival.
For many fat women, fat itself is the armor they wear to protect themselves from a world that hasn’t been kind to them simply because they were born with two X chromosomes. It shouldn’t be this way.
I shouldn’t have to worry about dishing out a quippy one-liner because I’m terrified someone’s going to notice my growing double chin.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating fat women for being funny and successful, but I do think it’s worth pointing out that it's only when they are funny and only when they are struggling that we seem to treat fat people like human beings at all, and that is just straight up not OK.