I'm Fat, But That Doesn't Mean I Should Have To Lower My Dating Standards
Let's be honest: Online dating sucks. Wading through “Show me your tits” and “Let me smell your shoes (panties, seat cushions of your couch, whatever)” messages makes you realize the pickings are slim. Not everyone has world-renowned house-training.
The way I see it, a bitch has to have standards (mostly). Walking hand-in-hand with those standards are our preferences. We all have them. They affect and help determine which guy on which dating app we will decide to give the time of day to, and vice versa.
These preferences are influenced by anything and everything, including the media, our birthplace, community, family, racism, sexism: You name it. Some of these preferences are mutable, while others are fixed. Lots of them are shallow. Others aren't as much.
For example, I'm pretty partial to dark hair, a great smile and a very rideable beard-stash combo. Body type is not so important to me. But then again, a great sense of humor and a sexy mind has always trumped body composition in my world.
All this is very valid. Unless, of course, you happen to be a fat girl.
The supreme lack of standards and preferences a fat girl is required to have by the online dating gods was brought to my attention one day, while I was in conversation with a traditionally attractive white guy with a secret “ugly” past.
I met him on OkCupid. As he complained about women acting interested in him until he smiled, I listened, slightly amused. Apparently, he had teeth that were throwing up so many gang signs, they were on the FBI most wanted list.
He eventually decided to get braces to combat this issue. I could tell he was still a little salty as he continued to explain that women expected men to make special amendments to their personal standards of beauty and preferences in terms of their weight.
He asserted that those same women wouldn't make the same exceptions to their standards. He stated that bigger girls would even go so far as to expect guys to be fit as a preference. I couldn't help but think, "Well, excuse me.”
I've been coming to terms with my new status as a fat girl who hasn't always been a fat girl. I've discovered that many people feel bigger women and girls should relegate themselves to table scraps, rather than develop a sense of who and what they like, and act on it.
This contempt for bigger bodies, and the fact that bigger women are expected to give up all choice in terms of the people they love, f*ck, date, marry and befriend because of an extra roll or two is compounded with a culture of misogyny and sexual violence. There is a toxic cultural belief (see rape culture) that fat women should, in fact, be grateful for any attention they get: especially sexual attention. This belief can lead to rape under the guise of “Fat girls can't say no” or “No one will believe you because you are fat.”
It can also lead to increased male influence over the choices, sexuality and bodies of fat girls and women, low self-esteem and fat girls and women thinking that the only way to fill the need they all have for companionship with the people they are attracted to is to have sex with them.
Don't get me wrong; sex is amazing. People -- fat or otherwise -- should be able to have tons of it with wild and sweaty abandon. But fat girls shouldn't have to settle for just sex when they want more because they feel it's all they're going to get. Fat ladies should also not be denied the option of more because men feel as if they are doing them the holy grail of grand gestures by just poking them with their penises.
The joys of picking and choosing partners -- as well as sexual and intimate situations -- should be something every woman, fat or otherwise, should feel free to take part in. There should be no undue influence from people who have decided fat women are beggars, and beggars can't be choosers.
The funny thing is, Hollywood seems to have a very different take on the type of women fat men should be dating, f*cking, marrying or otherwise fraternizing with. Network TV is fraught with images of bumbling fat men with hot trophy wives who keep them in line.
Naturally, Hollywood is not as in love with equally charming fat women with skinny, sexy spouses. Because what man is going to want a fatty, right? In these shows, the beautiful, skinny wife sees the husband for who he is, and she's able to look past the fat part because of his amazing heart and fabulous sense of humor. He is not a burden to her, and she is incredibly happy to be with him.
But fat women are considered burdens, embarrassing, gross, disgusting, lazy and ugly. Every undesirable fat stereotype is laid on top of that like pepperoni on a pizza. Being a black girl adds layers to an already complicated dating-while-fat situation. Black bodies are already grossly over-sexualized.
If you happen to be built like a walking stereotype (as I am), with video-game boobs, a large ass and a small waist -- but obviously not small enough to qualify for video vixen status -- you are increasingly seen as a sexual plaything. Online dating is a virtual wasteland for black women.
If you don't embody the Euro-centric beauty preset that America has on its beauty standards, your inbox doesn't become bare and cold (as it would be if being fat were your only crime). Instead, it becomes jam-packed with messages from men who want to “see what chocolate tastes like,” as well packed with abusive messages from men who didn't like being told “Hell to the no” by a “ black bitch.”
I've come to realize, however, that my worth as a human being is not equivalent to the number of messages in my inbox or the number of men who find me desirable enough to bring home to mom. My self-worth is also not found in my size or by tearing others down in the dating game. These preferences don't necessarily determine how good a person is, or how well he or she will treat me.
My self-worth is directly related to how much of a kind, sexy-as-F, hilariously geeky badass I am.
It is, however, important to understand how many of our preferences are actually inclusive preferences (meaning your preferences are not related to the universal exclusion of others), and how many of them are biases precipitated by racism, sexism, ableism, etc. (This means universal exclusions like no black people, no fat people, no disabled people etc.) The latter of these exclusions have no actual bearing on the type of person someone is.
Regardless, fat women are entitled to their preferences, just like you are entitled to yours. These preferences aren't anybody else's f*cking business.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.