Caught Between Pretty and a Fat Place – the plight of curvy women

I started writing a blog in January of this year and I wanted to reach out to women – especially curvy women – to celebrate them and show everyone how beautiful and desirable they are. I wrote posts, made a Facebook page and made some videos about my views on relationships. During one of my live videos, I asked my male friends if they would seriously date a BBW (big beautiful woman). I got a very interesting response; I never identified myself as a BBW in my live video, but many men referred to me as one.

Let’s Back it Up

Before I go any further, I think I need to delve a bit into my history. I have reached a point in my life where I am perfectly secure with how I look – curves and all. I would be lying if I said I was always a strong and confident woman, but life has taught me to appreciate what I got so I do.

Growing up, it was rare to see one single crumb left on my plate, unless it was a dish I did not care for. When I was younger I was called fat, but fat turned into thick by my mid twenties. Not sure if it had to do with the change in times or me growing into my shape.
After I had my daughter, I gained some weight and within the past year and a half I, I made better food choices and worked out. I have lost a few pounds and I am very proud of my progress.

My Twenties

At my heaviest

before weight loss- curvy

Now

now- curvy

When I heard the feedback from my video, I wasn’t sure how I felt – especially after working very hard during the past few months to tone up. I knew they were complimenting me, but nonetheless, I couldn’t help feeling a bit hurt.
I began asking myself, do I feel this way because larger women (size 12 and up) are portrayed so negatively in society?

Pretty for a Fat Girl

Typically women wearing double digit sizes are stereotyped as fat, lazy, unattractive, and smelly. Completely unfair and ignorant, but pretty typical. I would like to challenge this stereotype.
Take Ashley Graham for example. If I do a Google search for plus size model, her name tops the list. Yet many people would not classify her as “plus size”. When I look at her I definitely don’t think of a fat, lazy, unattractive or smelly woman. I see a beautiful woman with an amazingly naturally curvy body.
Look at Sports Illustrated model Hunter McGrady. She looks absolutely stunning and completely slayed in her swimsuit photo shoot, unfortunately there are those who were so quick to attack her appearance in the most cruel and dehumanizing way.
I still try to make sense of it all even though it’s so senseless. Maybe it’s because I am a black woman and curvy has always been prized as an asset in the black community. But I have met men of all races and cultures who thought I was beautiful even at my heaviest. So this is clearly an issue which crosses racial and cultural lines.

Daily Struggles
If celebrities get this harsh treatment, I doubt there is any hope for me living a normal life. Even though I feel confident in my own skin, I sometimes have doubts and find myself slipping into negative thoughts from time to time.

Not too long ago during a recent shopping trip, I started wondering about size and just how relevant any of it is. What brought this on you might ask? I fit into a size 12 skirt at one store, and that same day, I went to another store and struggled to fit into a size 16 pair of jeans. You could only imagine the blow my ego took after wiggling and squeezing my butt into those jeans. It’s kind of like walking by a group of men and hearing “She would be perfect if she lost some weight”.

Reset my Thinking

So why torture myself over a stupid pair of jeans? In my very brief yet very real lapse of judgement, I felt like I needed validation. I worked so hard to tone up, so I should be able to fit into a smaller size.

But what I realized was even if I worked harder to shed extra pounds and became the skinniest I have ever been, when will it end? If my sole reason for weight loss is to get compliments or fit into smaller sizes, I will always crave praise and attention after every milestone I attain. So what will happen months after all the praises disappear along with the inches around my waist? I will still have to deal with my deepest insecurities. Unfortunately that part doesn’t magically disappear.

I don’t want to live like that, and it is definitely not the image I want my daughter to idolize. It didn’t take long for me to snap back to my usual logical self. I know I am enough being my curvy self, but I am human. Sometimes the irrational outside world somehow manages to creep past my logical way of thinking.

At the end of the day, I take comfort in knowing that I will always come back to my reality. I am not cute for my size or perpetually striving to reach a goal set by a misguided frame of mind. The world can see me as a size on a rack, as a BBW, as a slob, or as a pretty BUT insert whatever needs to be improved woman. What matters is the approval of the most important person of all – me.