The last time I passed for slim was on my sixth birthday.
Since that point in my life and upwards, I have only grown fatter and fatter. As a result of society and even my own family’s reaction to my body, I have had a long and tumultuous journey with self esteem and self-love. I turned 21 last year and I think that was the first time I felt a hundred percent at peace with my body and not trying to frantically change it. Realising that our bodies are ready for love and affection no matter what they look like can become harder when everyone around always has the MOST to say about fat bodies.
Implicit and explicit fatphobia ruin the lives of fat people and derials the progress they are making towards loving their bodies.
In light of this, here are just 5 things fat women are tired of. I hope someone learns something from this so that fat woman can drink water and drop cup for once.
- Fat Women Are Tired of Our Bodies Being Policed and Over- Scrutinized.
As a fat woman, your physical existence makes everyone aware of how much ish they have to talk about another person’s body. A fat woman’s body is always subject to hyper-scrutiny that makes our lives very uncomfortable. It’s as little as the creepy disconcerting stares you get because you wore a pair of shorts on a sunny day. It’s as serious as having HR call you one hundred times for dressing inappropriately when you are wearing the same dress as the slimmer woman in your office. Our bodies always invite unnecessary commentary and you wonder why everyone cannot just mind their business. You post a picture you feel good in and people (usually men) are piled in the comments calling you every horrible name under the sun, because of your body. Fat women deserve to exist in peace without incessant insults and commentary about their bodies. Non-fat people need to shut up about fat bodies. And that’s plain and simple.
2. Fat Women Are Tired of your backhanded compliments.
I am not brave because I am wearing a crop top or a bodycon dress, while fat. Let us ALL stop that nonsense in 2021. I am not ‘super-confident’ for wearing a bikini. Do we call slim women brave when they wear bikinis? No.
Do you know why? Because society does not hate their bodies. When you give fat women these backhanded compliments, you are implicitly agreeing to the sentiment that their bodies are bad, and should be hidden. (Relax and do not feel attacked by this statement, read it again and again and talk to a fat person you know. Listen to fat women more).
You are commending their bravery because you know they will be met with negativity for dressing this way. You know what you could be doing instead? You could be helping to dismantle said negativity by challenging fatphobia online and in person. You could pay them a regular complement like ‘you look lovely in that shirt’. I can tell you for free that these compliments about bravery and confidence are not the golden nuggets you think they are. Less of that please.
3. Fat Women Are Tired of The Unsolicited Opinions
‘You shouldn’t be eating that’
‘ah why are you drinking that’
‘there is this new diet now you can lose 15kg in two weeks’
‘You are now big oh’
All unprovoked. Fat women are tired of hearing all sorts of rubbish that they did not ask anybody to say to them. Unsolicited opinions about your health, the food you eat, your clothes etc are always pouring in from strangers as we are going about our normal day. And it is EXHAUSTING.
I know Nigerians find it difficult to mind their business in general but with fat women, that inability is intensified times ten. A woman posts her picture on Twitter and there is someone in the comments telling her what she can do to lose her belly? Who the @*(% asked you?
Every time you find yourself about to tell a fat woman something she did not ask you, swallow that sentence and face your front. Honestly, we don’t need to hear it. I promise you.
4. Fat Women Are Tired of Being the Butt of Every Joke.
Our lives are not comedy shows for the rest of the populace.
The cheap, low-hanging insults are tired and quite frankly so unimaginative. Everyday ‘you better hit gym oh’. Okay we have heard. Is that all you’ve got? *intense eyeroll* ABEG. Fat women will be on their own, having fun on their timeline and from fifteen timelines away where some random drama is unfolding, fat women are taking stray bullets and insults that they have done nothing to warrant. Short men are being clowned on the TL and next thing fat women are being retaliated upon with mean words. Someone’s man cheats on them and now fat women are somehow collecting insults ontop of this matter. Please free us. Thay are other jokes to be told that do not include insulting us and taking digs at our appearance. If all you have are fat jokes, maybe you’re not that funny then.
5. Fat Woman Are Tired of all the Pretence and Gaslighting.
I left this one for last because it is most important to me.
Fat women are tired of yall pretending like you care about our health. We know that fat bodies disgust you so hide under the guise of healthcare so you can dehumanise fat women. Please keep your faux-concern to yourselves. Do you go around commenting on the health of slim strangers? You know you don’t. No need to pretend.
We are tired of yall’s fake #bodypositive movement that glorifies already conventionally acceptable bodies, whilst ignoring bigger bodies.
We are tired of girls saying they love your (fat)body and then crying and weeping when they add 2kg. If you think your friend’s fat body is so nice, why did you cry when you gained weight during lockdown? I’ll tell you why. It is because you (consciously or subconsciously) think fat bodies are bad and ugly. That’s that internalised fatphobia. That is the truth. And it is up to you to unlearn that. You owe yourself that responsibility.
What kind of life do you think you will have if your sense of self and happiness is tied to slimness? As someone who used to live like this, I can tell you it is a sad and exhausting life. Release yourself from those shackles.
And finally, fat women are tired of being gaslit.
We are tired of being told that our lived experiences are made up lies.
Recently, Zikoko released an article about medical fatphobia and a bunch of people came out to say that Zikoko was lying. Such ignorance. A simple google search would show you that this a long reported and discussed phenomenon. Fat women go to hospitals and are misdiagnosed FREQUENTLY because doctors refuse to see past their weight.
My mother has had a terrible lower back pain for the longest time and everyone told her it was the weight. Years later, she had a random x ray done and the results showed that she had scoliosis and her spine was curved in an abnormal way. She had been complaining about this pain for almost a decade. You may be slim and you may have been lucky to have never experienced fatphobia from doctors but that does not mean that it is not happening to other people.
It is a kind of selfish ignorance to insist that because something is not your reality, it cannot be anyone else's. Listen to fat women when we talk about what we go through navigating our lives in a society that does not like how we look. Listen to fat women and have some empathy. We are tired of all the crap.
The overall lesson I think everyone needs to learn is just to leave fat women alone. Like please keep all your unsolicited opinions to yourself. Keep the fact that you’re so scared of gaining weight to yourself. Do not tell me I am brave for wearing a crop top. It’s an article of clothing. I am not a civil rights leader because I wear a crop top. Stop politicizing the bodies of fat people. Some of us are not making any statements, we just want to live our full and authentic lives. And we deserve that. Everyone does.
And to all my fatties, remember that your body is worthy of love and admiration in any form. Remember that you are to be treated well and respectfully, at all times, irrespective of how fat you are. Remember that you deserve love and that your fatness is not a barrier to your greatness and to all you can achieve.
Your abundance is not a curse.
N.B: *this list is actually much longer and even non-exhaustive but let’s start off with something light.