I'm Fat — And I'm Beautiful

The beautiful truth about size 16 bodies.

photo of author taking selfie in mirror Author

I am a size 16. In a week I could be a size 14, briefly, but then the week after that, I'll be a size sixteen again ... there is nothing wrong with that. 

My body is a size 16 and my body is beautiful. 

I haven't always treated my body with very much respect

Throughout my adolescence, I tried every diet under the sun, trying to transform my body into something it just wasn't designed to be.  


My weight dropped and then skyrocketed and the sizes of clothing I wore changed with it. 

RELATED: 15 Ways Women's Bodies Change As We Age (That Are Nothing To Be Ashamed Of)

My closet was filled with clothing that would fit an army of differently-sized women. 

My self-esteem suffered. I had, somewhere along the line, learned that a skinny body is the only kind of body that can beautiful. 

It's true that skinny bodies are beautiful — but so is my fat body, and nobody ever told me that. 

Even when I was a size 10, counting the calories of everything I ate, my head looking oversized on my body, my self-esteem was in the toilet. 


RELATED: A Woman Fat-Shamed Me On The Subway And I Actually Fought Back

I wasn't skinny enough, so I wasn't beautiful enough, so I wasn't good enough.

Here is a secret nobody knows: I was born beautiful. So were you. You have always been beautiful. 

You were born a small, squalling infant with a squished face slick with amniotic fluid and your mother looked at said "She is beautiful." 

Nothing has changed. You are still beautiful, you are still good, and you still have worth

You still deserve to be here. 

RELATED: 10 Shameful Myths About Fat Women & Obesity You've Probably Always Believed Were True

Sometimes I fight with my size 16 body. I squint in the mirror imagining it is something else, something sleeker, tighter, easier to accept. 


Sometimes I scowl at my upper arms. Sometimes I hate my belly. 

But then I remember the thing that the world insists on making girls and women forget: that belly I hate is part of me. Those arms I detest? They are part of me too. 

Every single soft curve is a piece of the whole that is who I am.

I have bad days and good days. I lift other women up while tearing myself down. 

RELATED: I'm Showing My "Fat" Belly To The World To Make An Important Point

I have a fat body. My fat body is good. My fat body is beautiful. 

My fat, size 16 body inspires men to terrorize me on Twitter. It turns well-meaning friends into enemies who say things like "Well it's not really healthy." 


Here is the part where I tell you about my weekly exercise in a bid to rationalize my weight to strangers

I don't need to do that.

RELATED: What The Ideal Female Body Looks Like Around The World


My size 16 body is beautiful. It is mine. It takes up space in a world that tells women to make themselves small. 

It bumps into tables, it bruises, it carries infants on its hips, it twirls, it shudders with laughter, it embraces friends and family, and it reminds the people around it that I am here.

I am here.

I exist. 

I am a size 16 and I am beautiful. 

RELATED: The Truth About What 'Average' Size 16 Women Look Like

Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.