The Thin Vs. Fat Negative Dichotomy

As a fat woman who will never be thin, a fat woman with no desire to be thin, I often come across people who hate me for nothing but my size. To be a fat woman in America means to be invisible in many ways because of the social construction of beauty. When you carry extra weight on your body people expect you to make yourself scarce, they expect you to be humble at all times and in a constant state of apology for the way you look; and when you aren’t you are subject to ridicule and shame. And when you are, you get taken advantage of and are STILL subject to ridicule and shame. Lose-Lose, in a lot of ways. I, like many other women have learned that a woman is judged first by her desirability in this society and that desirability is measured by how close that woman comes to the ideal norm. Thinness, along with alot of other traits both physical & personality wise, is one of the things used to measure desirability or beauty. Some women are born automatically missing this mark (women of color for instance) and some women develop into missing that mark (full figured women). However you arrive outside of this beauty ideal, the consequences are upsetting and wreak havoc on a woman’s perception of herself which in turn can set her up for all manner of ill use and shaming by other people. So what happens when a woman who is outside of this norm, or even when a woman matches this norm PERFECTLY, comes to love herself? It is a beautiful thing to defy the world you live in by daring to love yourself the way you are but for alot of people, loving yourself comes with hating someone else. This is where that negative dichotomy comes into play. This is what I mean: I have known aloooot of fat women who have struggled with the way that they look and the only way they could get on top of their poor self image was to make what they couldnt be, thin, a negative thing. So one question for today’s blog is, why does thin have to be ugly for fat to be beautiful?

Why does thin have to be ugly for fat to be beautiful? Why does fat have to be ugly for thin to be beautiful? There is something that disturbs me about having plus size friends who refer to thin women as “skinny bitches” or who call thin women “grossly thin”. It normally says more about the fat person who is hating the thin person than it does about the thin person. The thing is, hateful words like those suggest insecurity in fat women. I have been called a fat ass and other fat insults by thin women who absolutely HATE me because I have the gall to take up space without apologizing. The looks I get when I’m in public in a short skirt or dress or tight pair of leggings, express the vehemence of women who have not learned a healthy way to love THEMSELVES. When I was younger my mom would tell me that people who were mean to me were just jealous…in alot of ways she had a point. Most of the women who get suckered into this negative dichotomy feels like they have to fight constantly to keep the worlds attention. Whether fat or thin, othering other women is about not wanting to be invisible and wanting to be powerful. True self confidence, true self esteem stem from self love, and self love makes you powerful AND visible.We are encouraged to measure ourselves against each other constantly and it profits us NOTHING but to create an “other” in order to make ourselves visible. When the basis for your self esteem and your self confidence is gained by othering other people then the foundation for your self esteem and confidence is fickle. It sets you up to always be in competition with other women over the way that you look, it gives you negative thoughts about women who dont look like you and it cheapness the journey into self acceptance because it is less about self love and more about the power involved in telling yourself you are superior. I understand this desire, as a fat woman, to make thinness unattractive. It’s a heady feeling…declaring thinness unattractive while the majority of the world holds a different opinion because thinness is one of those beauty norm ideal traits. Rejecting thinness in favor of fat and then declaring thinness to be ugly or inferior…in a lot of ways makes me feel better because no one wants to accept me for my size…its almost like armor, a first line of defense…but true self love is armor in and of itself. It does not require you to hate on, dismiss or judge anyone else because it is about YOU.

I’m writing today because I want to encourage thin and fat women alike to begin their journey into high self esteem and self confidence with a foundation of SELF love. If you constantly compare yourself to other women, like you are encouraged to do, then you will always come up short. This will leave you with two options, take a hit to your self esteem or make what you are compared with inferior. My suggestion is to stop the comparison all together. Measure yourself against YOURSELF because your esteem, confidence and love is not really FOR anyone else.


10 thoughts on “The Thin Vs. Fat Negative Dichotomy

  1. Wonderful post as usual my dear. I am also not thin, I am a size 12 and according to the stereotypes of beauty in Argentina, where people die for twiggy models, I am fat. Anyone up of 8 size is fat anyway. And people see me and treat me as fat, with all that means. The pressure for being skinny is not only in adversiting and opinions of people, but also in the market. It’s difficult for me to find my size, even when to be size 12 is not something unusual in a latin context. One of the things irritate me the most is the fact the only way people,women and men, accept my body is oversexualizing it, putting labels as I am hot, always horny, or available for sex, or that silly comment from men “More flesh to posses” It’s infuriating.

    1. its really interesting to see the beauty ideal in different parts of the world….but one prevailing idea is that thin is IN and i think thats a really very damaging ideal …even to thin women. I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say that people oversexualize your body, it happens to me too 0.o its like because I’m fat i have a large butt and big breasts and THAT is the only thing good about me, the only thing worthy of mention and that kind of treatment is painful. Women who are larger get objectified pretty often bc the greater part of society feels like they aren’t allowed to have standards, that they are not in the same league as “regular” women and this is nothing short of bigotry

  2. I get what you’re saying. Be happy with yourself. One queation. What do you mean by this statement? Some women are born automatically missing this mark (women of color for instance)

    1. according to the ideal beauty norm “white” is right, “white” is the ideal..we see evidence in that constructed ideal in the way white women are treated and the way that biracial or light skinned black women are given preferential treatment. These women are born with privilege over women of color because of racism and misogyny….i’ve been thinking of writing one about women of color and white women…the negative dichotomy that exists between races …but it is a BIG piece…much bigger than this one

  3. Thanks so much for writing this piece. I find hating light skinned girls because I’m dark and funny enough, It doesn’t make me feel any better about my darkness. I grew up in a family of light skinned people, where I was the only dark skinned child. My mother was the only person who said beautiful things about my skin tone. ‘Black is beautiful’ ‘black beauty’ ‘the original one’ but everybody else had something negative to say about it. Whether it was in a joking manner, which sometimes was, or in an angry manner, the effect was the same. Isn’t it funny how we always absorb the negative instead of the good, why do we do that? (you have to write your thoughts down about this, if you haven’t) Now that I’m grown, I see what my sisters and nieces used to say to me, in the black men around me. I call light skinned girls loose and entitled. I hate that they’ll never be ugly even when they are. It is jealousy on my part. It’s a struggle I just can’t seem to shake.

    1. thank you so much for your comment…..i’m working on a piece now called Light Skinned Vs. Dark skinned :Negative Dichotomies….i havent finished it because its really a very BIG piece….it includes so much history about the black communities self hatred and hwo that is then broken down by color. I can empathize with you over this issue because I KNOW how it feels to have someone comment on your beauty in a way that seriously hurts you “pretty for a dark skinned girl” is very similar to “pretty for a fat girl” …its like someone is complimenting you DESPITE what they think is ugly about you and that is a place where REAL anger and hurt can grow. I wrote this piece about dichotomies….not as a way to say stop hating thin ppl its WRONG….but more to say …dont hate thin ppl because it inhibits you from loving yourself….and I truly feel that way about race as well. When we are socialized to believe that we have no value….that we are ugly or unworthy ….the people we are supposed to be like..that meet the mark so to speak are often an object of resentment…and it doesnt help that they KNOW their privilege and they use it against us……I wrote this piece though so we could find our way back to true self love and across the boundaries of color, class, size and sexuality…I really hope that we can overcome the dichotomies setup to sabotage real self love. Thank you again for your story, I’ve heard similar ones and it pains m to know that my privilege contributes to a culture that makes black “wrong”

  4. Thank you. This has me in tears today. I am a size 00 and I sick. I have been hospitalized at least 16 times for this (and other related) issues over the past couple of years. I was obese- and hated myself. Now I guess others would consider me thin- and I hate myself. Nobody really said much to me when I was obese but I have actually lost friends because of my eating disorder. I have had strangers approach me with the meanest comments you can imagine about my body. My life is falling apart and I am told how perfect everything is- all because of assumptions people make about weight. It is time we show each other a little kindness….

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