Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Skinny on Being Fat (or Something Like Fat)

A commenter on chictopia turned me onto a site called fatshionista. It's a website devoted to plus sized women and the clothes that they wear. While I don't find their actual site excessively user-friendly, I did enjoy that they had a flickr presence. I post almost all of my outfits there and I'm liking what I see from the other ladies. Yesterday, though, when I posted my daytime outfit, I got a comment that read: "You're skinny!"
I was kind of distraught by this comment.
In the spirit of complete transparency, I will admit that I am typically a size 16, sometimes an 18 depending on the clothes and whether or not I want to make it fit.
I'm not skinny enough to have the luxury of most clothes coming in my size, but I'm also acutely aware of the fact that I am not your typical plus sized woman. I don't look the part. This comment made me wildly insecure last night and I couldn't stop the guilt of not being either skinny or fat from creeping in.
I remember a quote from actress Nia Vardalos right when My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out. She said something along the lines of "As an actress, I was too big to be a star and too small to be a plus sized comedienne." That's exactly what I feel.
I am also not your typical plus sized girl in that most women gain weight where they are supposed to (i.e. in their butt, thighs, and breasts). In contrast, the first place that I gain weight is around the stomach and the lovehandles (which is far more typical of men). Evidentally, it has something to do with higher levels of testosterone, which makes sense when I take into account my personality and my low, low voice.
I'm getting long winded here, but I do want to include a small weight bio for everyone, because I think it's important that people know where I'm coming from. My sophomore year of high school, I weighed 135 pounds. I was not slender, but built solidly. I was an athlete. Then, for unknown reasons, I gained about 10 pounds before I moved to Denmark. For the year that I lived in Denmark, I gained another 5-10, but that was to be expected, given that I was trying new foods and all that. Since then, I've fluctuated up and down, but I'm about 50 pounds larger than I was 10years ago.
Sometimes I gain weight when I'm stressed or upset and other times I lose weight when I'm feeling the exact same way. There is very little rhyme or reason. I used to not buy clothes when I felt that I was getting too big and that was just hell. I work out five days a week, I'm in good shape, and my body is healthy. I decided about a year ago (now that my weight has plateaued) that my body is just fine and that the brain was what needed correcting. I'm mostly satisfied with myself (plus, there are lot more significant flaws in my personality to attend to), except that I struggle with categorization of my weight. Am I plus sized? Am I a more traditional size? Who the hell knows, but I'm trying not to let comments like the one on flickr (which was probably sincere and not a knock, eventhough I've made out to be bad) get me all upset. Because it might make me gain weight. I kid, I kid!

images via fatshionista on flickr


Lizzie said...

This was very interesting to read and I really agree with it. ANd I think you look GREAT!! You are well proportioned and look in shape, which is what is important anyway :)

Lina said...

I battled with the same thing a while ago, especially since I am a 22 on top and a 14 on the bottom. I'd comment on my size and someone would say, "You aren't fat, you've just got big tits." However, when you have to shop at places like Ashley Stewart, Lane Bryant and Old Navy's plus size section, its kind of ridiculous to not say you are plus sized. I think what we've all got to stop doing is stop trying to compartmentalize everyone into these groups (model skinny, plus-sized, in-betweeny, etc.) and just allow ourselves to be. Anyway, I say all that to say, you're beautiful at whatever size, so handle your business and keep being you.

Lisa said...

Well said!
I think you look great as you are! I think most people do and they just don't realize it.

emiene w. said...

If you need an 18 for non-stretch 100% cotton to hang right, you're fat--I know, I'm a 20 in cotton. I am confused by people who try to cut divisions between the fat and not-as-fat. I think some bigger girls resent smaller big girls' voice in the fat fashion community, because they think smaller big girls have it better. We are closer to the socially accepted ideal. But anyone who's been a size 14 knows the frustration of finding a bare handful of the not-so-cute peices in the straight stores and because of vanity sizing, not being able to fit anything in plus size stores. Bigger big girls actually have more options when it comes to shopping!
It's natural to be resentful when another group has it socially easier, but even if it's true, blame shouldn't be laid on individuals in the other group. It's another version of exclusion that weakens the fight against fat prejudice. Sorry for the long rant.
By the way I think it's pretty common to carry weight in the belly, especially for apple shapes. sigh. pears are so lucky...

Ambs said...

I feel your pain! I'm size 16 but I can still wear a lot of stuff from places like Forever21 in a size Large without it being too small...ever since the 8th grade I've described myself as being plus size to people but they always look at me crazy afterwards. I think it's practically impossible to classify everyone's body type since NO body is the same.