Let’s Get Deep: loving my fat and combating the fetishization of my body

I am a bigger, curvier woman. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember and I have finally learned how to love my fat.

Learning to love my fat didn’t come easy. After years of hating myself and giving into  societal pressures surrounding my body to the point of risking my own health, I decided that if I were to aim for a perfect body, I would never be able to love myself if I didn’t start now.

However, there are bad days like with anything. The bad days tend to revolve around my body in comparison to that of my partners.

Often when I walk with my partner I can feel a piercing, judgemental gazes following us.

He is 6 feet tall, close to 150 pounds, and handsome as all hell. Although tall, he is on the skinnier side, while I am 5 feet 4 inches tall, and around 230 pounds. I am on the larger side.

My paranoia is not unwarranted unfortunately. In the beginning of our relationship we often encountered intrusive and rude questions regarding my weight from both strangers and loved ones.

I have been asked whether I considered losing weight to look better next to him. Their questions should really read as ‘do you plan on losing weight so your relationship can fit my expectation of a heterosexual couple’?

This is usually enforced through movies and T.V. shows. There are weight loss ads representing women who look like me in the before shot, eyes emotionless, lips in a straight line and their limbs spread to enhance the fat on their bodies.

In movies, when a woman is considered ‘unattractive’ she must change her appearance for the man of her dreams to realize she’s actually a cool person. While often times when the protagonist is a large male, his dream girl learns to love him no matter his size. T.V. shows such as “King of Queens” is a perfect example of this.

My partner is often regarded as a ‘chubby chaser,’ because to love my body is seen as a fetish rather than a love for me as an individual. I’m seen as lucky. Lucky to have found someone who ‘loves me for my personality and not my body.’

As if he doesn’t love both, as if he doesn’t have the topography of my body memorized, as if his fingers haven’t explored every slope and mountain of my beautiful, bumpy body.

Regarding an attraction to my body type as a fetish erases me as a person and us as a couple.

I have combated this fetishization of my body the entire five years of our relationship and have learned a couple things:

  1. Never starve yourself for your partner. Your body is with you forever while partners come in and out of your life.
  2. Do not feel like you have to fit into a specific mold of what other people want you to be. Love your relationships for what and who you are when you’re with someone.
  3. Love your body. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult and some days it’s as easy as breathing. If you learn to love your body now, that love will remain throughout every stretch mark, wrinkle, dimple and freckle.
  4. And last but not least, communicate with your partner. Don’t let someone else’s words regarding your partner change anything.

It took a lot for me to get to this point of self-love. Often times I wanted to give up because I thought loving myself required others to love my body as well. No one else matters. Learning to love yourself is difficult but, there’s never a bad time to start.