Once upon a time arguably one of the worst yet socially acceptable things I could have been called was the nword. Then of course, if I were a lesbian I would have been a
dyke. That was the worst. But now that we’re an evolved, post-racial love is love America (tongue firmly in cheek), fat has become the new Black.
Jess sent me an article about the CEO of
Abercrombie & Fitch who said that his brand caters to the “All-American” cool and beautiful. After I read the article I was filled with a lot of emotions but mostly sadness. Sadness that this is in any way acceptable and honestly sad that someone hates themselves that much they’re emoting that much hate into the world. So after I sent him some love…I had my own epiphany. That I’m just like him.
One of my favorite quotes to re-tweet comes from my friend La. She’s such a feminist. And I never really considered myself to be, but this is one of those quotes that continually hits home. And while the A&F CEO said it very candidly, privately, I reserve “joy” and “love” and “happiness” and “beauty” to a specific demographic as well. But I don’t blame men. Or women. Or any One in particular, its shared. After reading the article I thought about La’s quote and then I thought about fat brides. Its no secret that I have this irrational contempt for so-called fat brides. I guess in my head for the most perfect day a woman should look her most dazzling and that includes being thin.
What I was failing to realize was that I was imposing unfair, unjust, and horribly judgmental expectations on other women and on myself. This dissonance in The Bride and the overweight woman sounded like an out of tune piano or an amateur cellist. I couldn’t reconcile the two ideals because I in my mind perfect never ever could be anything other than thin. Fit. “Healthy” whatever term most appropriate to describe this woman in my head.
In my defense of all those above a size 10 standing outside the A&F target demographic I found myself also in defense of me. I can’t quite explain it…but it was like I gave myself permission to change the rules and live my own way. I thought back on enduring (very minimal) teasing in middle school about my weight, yet still managing to persevere through it. Same for high school.
So I googled ‘plus size bridal’ and came across a photo. A photo of a woman I don’t think is fat at all. In a dress that flatters her figure. And I imagine women walking down the aisle towards the women or men they love in this dress and feeling love. Not fat. I decided then that these gross thoughts of body ideals were no longer welcome and that in life I would focus my attention to experience rather than how the snapshot of it looks. And I would examine my own insecurities before I jumped to judge anyone else. Its weird that such a lover of love would get caught up in the aesthetics of a “wedding day” over the emotional and spiritual significance. But I think for me so often feeling and being (physically) manifest in tandem. My issue was that the picture I had for happy, as in the type of overflowing happiness found within the container of a wedding dress on a wedding day, was trapped in a size 6.
What a shift. Subtle, but huge in me. And I apologize. To other women, to myself…for judging. For placing limits and conditions on beauty. For restricting joy. For filling the word ‘fat’ with my own loathing and discomfort and thinking it acceptable as a label whether I said it aloud or not.
I recognize that until we as a society turn inward and begin to sort through our own shit, someone is always going to be the nigger. The fag. The fat. There will always be a target whom we will aim our self-hatred at. I, personally want to break the cycle for me. And as always the work boils down to love, and forgiveness which I think is the act of truly loving.