Just Because I'm Fat Doesn't Mean I Hate Thin Women

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plus size woman running

"She never eats anything."

"Can you believe she uses her lunch break to go to the gym?"

"She's one of those women who is obsessed with her weight."

After every single comment, the same look cast in my direction, the same tacit plea for my understanding and agreement as they remove someone else's right to have positive self-esteem.

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After all, I'm fat, I should jump at the chance to criticize another woman for the crime of being thin, right?


Your body and your body image are none of my business.

Here's the thing: Jumping into a conversation disparaging a woman for the choices she makes with her body isn't okay. It's not okay when she's fat, and it's not okay when she's thin, and it's not okay when she's just hanging out having a body that isn't in any way remotely exceptional to the outside observer. 

But our society hasn't quite seemed to grasp that yet, and it's wrecking the self-esteem of my fellow women.

This particular tendency groups of women have to rip each other apart and demolish each other's confidence has bothered me since I started high school. Going to an all-girls school I saw my fair amount of girl-on-girl crime, and I'd say since the age of about 14 I just don't tolerate it. 

I don't know if you've noticed this lately, but it isn't easy being a woman.

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In addition to the innate challenges of being born in possession of a fleshly vessel that leaks blood one week out of each month, we always have to fight for basic human rights. 

It's 2023, and a woman has run for president before, and we're still trying to make it clear that the gash between our legs shouldn't mean that we make less money than our male peers. 

It's tough out there for a pimp.

As a fat woman, I think about this stuff a lot just because being fat makes you aware of a lot more of the assumptions we make about each other.

People assume I'm going to be funny, they assume I'm going to be self-effacing, and they assume that if someone passes on a slice of cake at the office holiday party that I won't let them hear the end of it.

When you try to include me in body-shaming of any sort you're guilty, whether you realize it or not, you're not just contributing to the culture of girl-on-girl crime, but you're also letting me know that you think that as a fat person, there are certain things I've got to be. 

News flash: Sometimes I don't want the cake either. When I say no cake, I guarantee you it gets a reaction. "What, are you sure?" "But everyone loves cake!" "Come on, just a small slice." 

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Dudes, if you want to eat cake, go for it, but if another woman regardless of her size passes on it, smile and move on. The shape and size of a woman's body should not give you permission to indulge in your own vices. 

She doesn't want the cake. Let it go. 

Nowadays, when people try to pull me into conversations about other women's bodies, I just don't do it. I don't get preachy or glib. I just don't say anything. If I get called out I say, "It's her body, why should I be asked to weigh in on the shape it takes, that's weird and oppressive." 

So maybe I get a little preachy. 

The world is already hard enough for women, the fact that anyone over the age of 18 hasn't figured out that rudely sniping about other women is part of the problem and not the solution is just crazy to me. 

Eat the cake or go to the yoga class, do whatever you want, provided you are elevating our gender, not reducing it to vile stereotypes. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, 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.