Big girls need love, too: Reflections on Dating While Fat and Feminist

I’m a thick girl with a running habit. I want to lose 20 pounds. But I don’t put pressure on myself to get thin — not because it’s not preferable, but because I fluctuate between being honestly in love with myself as I am and knowing that if I were thinner, there’s a whole extra layer of crap that comes with it. Reading A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss made me think of this again:

In fact, when you’re in a position like mine, you start to notice a lot about people’s dating habits. You also wind up making friends with guys who admit their dating preferences freely, knowing that – since you’re no longer fat – they won’t offend you. I’ve had men admit to me that they get chewed out for dating so many non-Black women, but they don’t seek out women who are simply non-Black – they seek out women who are fit. They seek out women who work out. They meet women and make friends in the gym, the one place where they spend all their non-work time, and want a partner that not only understands that but will be right there with him…working out. They don’t want a partner who complains about how much time they spend “up in the gym, just workin’ on their fitness.” You and I might know that now, but I certainly didn’t know it before.

You also start to notice the pairs on the subway, late on a “date night,” out together. Him, in his cardigan, bowtie and hat… her, in her cute dress, jacket and heels. Neither one overweight.

You also start to hear stories of how some men only “use” overweight Black girls as a “last resort,” meaning that if a guy can’t pull a more socially-approved-as-sexy-looking-woman, he’ll go to her because at least he knows “I’ll get laid tonight, and breakfast tomorrow.” You start to find out how some men manipulate society’s fat-hating culture into a way to skate by without accepting any responsibility for anything: “if fat Black women are considered the least worthy of love and affection, then if I choose one, she’ll do anything and tolerate anything to keep me.”

How do I hear all of this? People often misjudge me as one of those people who loses weight and now “hates” fat people to the point where I would high-five them for telling me these things.

Excerpted from “Dating While Fat And Feminist,” And The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

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