By Jesse Turner
At almost 200 pounds, I am fat. I don’t call myself fat as an insult, I call myself fat because it is the reality of the way I look and the body I maneuver the world in. I am what feminist writer Roxane Gay calls “Lane Bryant Fat.” This means I am overweight but can still reasonably find clothes that fit me. However, as much as I have worked to accept the size that I am, I also call myself fat so I don’t have to hear other people call me fat. If I know I’m fat, I take the edge away from people who would use “fat” as an insult.
A lot of people would think I should not be OK with being overweight because I am not the “good kind of fat.” I don’t have a thyroid condition, and I am not actively working to lose weight. I like eating, and I don’t make a lot of time to exercise. When I get off work, I would rather take a nap than go to the gym.
Now, there are precautionary measures I take to make my thunderous size as minimally shocking to myself and others. I am sure to include pictures of my body on my Tinder so I don’t get the grimace from guys who didn’t realize I was fat when I first meet them. I only wear crop tops if I haven’t eaten in the last five hours so my stomach doesn’t especially stick out. I would hate to offend someone with something as unsightly as a stomach full of food. I psych myself up for at least 24 hours before I go out to bars, as being the “fat friend” requires especially steely nerves.
What I find weirdly troubling is that instead of using fat as an insult, I have noticed that some men like to point out my size, claim “thick girls” as their fetish, and expect me to take it as a compliment. Recently I had a guy online tell me “You’re very beautiful I’m sure you are told otherwise from…ostentatious people who don’t know what a real woman looks like.” First of all, real woman? I’m not a real woman, I’m actually a bundle of limbs sewn together and packed with straw. Second, I know you thought you were doing a good deed, but you’re not noble or brave because you find a fat girl attractive. Telling me that I should grateful for your compliments because most people would be insulting me is a slap in my fat face.