Yesterday I found this blog post written my Toni from The Left Of Perfect which explains that Cosmo recently published an article called 'What Being A Fat Woman Is Really Like' wherein two un-named woman answered questions around their weight. Claire from A Monkey Fatshionista suggested #psbloggers answer the same questions.
After reading the article, I wanted to have my own shot at it. While I agree with some of the answers, there's a few I don't. It just goes to show that just because we're all a bit heavier than the 'average', doesn't mean we all think the same.
Anyway, here's my answers;
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
I've only ever heard women who are a fair bit smaller than me say this, so a year or so ago this was a fair bit of an insult to me. I felt like, while they were saying "omg, I'm so fat", they were actually saying "whoa Jayde aren't you a chubber!".
I've been loving my body more and more over the last year, so now when I hear things like this being said, I feel so discouraged: for them, not for me. 'Fat' is a descriptive word no different to 'blonde', 'tall', 'green eyed' so why is it said in such a negative manner? If the whole world would just reject the totally artificial meaning behind the word 'fat' that the media has created, we would all be much happier people.
How has your body image changed since high school? College?
I'm unsure about this. When I was in high school I was very depressed about how fat I was, however I was a confident person because I had a big personality. I was looking back at old photographs recently, and realised I definitely had some sort of ED during those years, I was fairly skinny and still insisted on starving myself. More on this another time if you wish.
Nowadays, I'm a lot happier with my body, even though I am everything my 16 year old self feared: A plus sized lady. I am however, far less confident in general, but I feel this has more to do with not having my security blanket of old friends close by, who's personalities complimented mine perfectly rather than my body image.
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
As I just mentioned, I starved myself as a teenager- not recommended I must add- but that's an illness rather than a diet. In all honesty, I've always known fad dieting and dieting for short periods of time would never ever work for me, so I've never done it. I have however, recently changed my lifestyle. I say recently, but it's been a slow progress for about a year now. Just increasing healthier options, decreasing junk, increasing movement, decreasing sitting on tumblr for hours on end. This has resulted in some weight loss, but more importantly, happiness increase. I catch every illness going, can't sleep when I need to but am tired all the time, can't run for my life- but I've seen all these things improving recently. I've got a long way to go before I'm happy with how my body is working, but it's a start.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
Yes and no. My mother was overweight until she and my dad split up, and while I've always felt bigger than everyone else, I do think it was more to do with being taught an unhealthy relationship with food from a young age rather than a 'fat gene'. This is not me blaming my mum for me being fat by the way! I have a very turbulent relationship with food- I both love and loath it. I reward myself with food and cheer myself up with food; not the best system for someone with very erratic mood swings! Thyroid problems do run in my family however, so this will have definitely played a part in my weight.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
No. As I said before, I have been making healthier choices for about a year now, but I'm not 100% healthy. I love food, and will never deprive myself of anything (I do think this is a healthy attitude to have), which means I will never live a 'only healthy foods' life, because well... pizza.
I do think people assume I'm unhealthy, but they'd be right in my case, so I can't really blame them. I do think it's a total myth that anyone who does not fit your 'healthy' ideal isn't healthy.
Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you're at? Have they always been?
As a teenager, my family constantly told me I was thin and that I was being stupid when I was having a hard time accepting my body. We've never really talked about it since. My family know I'm fat, and know I'm working towards being healthy and so anytime I mention anything to do with it they are supportive, but they just see it as a non-issue I think- a stance I think the whole world could learn from!
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
I'm quite lucky in that I'm about a size 16 on the bottom, and can fit into 14's most of the time up top (and dresses I can be anything upwards of a 10, I'm a very strange shape it seems!) so most retailers 'regular' lines go up to my sizes. I'd love to see brands just including so-called 'plus size' sizes into their regular range (of course taking note that different sized bodies require different shaped clothing pieces) because after all they are all just for people. 'Average' size or 'plus' size- you're just a person!
'Plus size' brands these days are charging extortionate prices for mediocre clothing- I'd love a pair of jeans that fit, didn't cost the world, and lasted me more than a month (damn you rubbing thighs!)
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
I'm not sure, I'm not a plus-sized man. I also don't know any men who would consider themselves plus-sized so can't event consult anyone.
Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Most of the time yes. I get a lot of people assuming I'm unhappy, lazy, and bubbly? It's a bit of a weird mix. Honestly. I just let it go. I don't have time to do my laundry more than once a week, never mind waste vital brain power on convincing people that I'm not "___", If someone wants to know what I'm like they'll get to know me, if they want to trust a stereotype, there's a big chance I'm not interested in them getting to know me!
Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?This is a hard one. I'm leaning towards no. Weight is such a sensitive topic for so many people- and in a lot of cases, especially with how freely people can access information on fat-acceptance, being plus-sized, etc due to the internet, they'll come to you. If you're worried about someones health, and you're a close friend or family, then maybe you should asses why you think there may be a health issue. Is it weight that is the issue, or are they tired/depressed/nauseated/etc, as them if they need help for their symptoms not for their weight, you do not know if that is the cause of the problem. As 'Woman B' said "If you're just concerned that someone doesn't look as attractive to you anymore, the problem is you, not their weight. "
If you're a stranger, you have no right to judge people from how they look- you don't know anything about the person you're talking to, so cannot have a worry about their health.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?As a child a friends mum used to say pretty mean stuff to me- but I didn't really understand back then. It's only in recent years I realised she was actually being pretty darn mean.
We get drunk people coming in at work, and they'll sometimes call me 'lard arse' or something similar, but generally I ignore that kind of shenanigans. So other than a few comments from strangers, stares on the bus and a few sniggers here and there, I get off pretty lucky I guess.
(ps. how disgusting is it that in 2014 I'm deeming myself 'lucky' because I am only sometimes degraded- Aren't we supposed to be the most evolved species?)
What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
I'd honestly much rather people compliment my personality or work. As much as it's nice to be told you're looking pretty, it means so much more to know people value you as a friend. I care much more about how my friends are as people rather than visual objects, so I'd much rather they do the same to me. (I do love telling people how nice they look though, so I guess I'm a bit of a contradiction).
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?Not at all. I'm definitely the curviest out of all of my friends- old, new, uni or work. I'd love to have some more plus-sized friends though, there's just some things that only people of a similar size to you can understand to the full extent (those damn rubbing thighs!).
How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?Again, not at all. I've been engaged for nearly 3 years now, so if I can't be completely comfortable being fat with my fiancé, when how could I be in every day life!
When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
When I was a teenager, it made me really insecure- and I didn't really date a whole lot. I had 2 fairly long term boyfriends, and a not as long term one before meeting Liam (my fiancé), so I wasn't dating all that much. The two long term men weren't always all that nice about my weight, nicknaming me 'thunder thighs', which effected how easily I let others in.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
No? I've never even thought about this to be honest. I've been with Liam since I was 17, so past girlfriends aren't really an issue for us anymore! (thank god)
Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?
Same as above.
Everyone has preferences- and as long as that person is with you for you, and is attracted to you, why would it matter?
I don't want to be with someone who likes me 'even though' I'm fat, and I don't want to be with someone who only loves me because they're attracted to fat people.
I'm very lucky that I've found someone that loves me fat, thin, happy or sad (or drowning in pizza...)
So that's what I have to say on the matter. If you're struggling with weight, starving/binging, or body acceptance (your own or otherwise) and need a chat, please feel free to email me or tweet me/DM me. I'm more than happy to talk to you about anything, and I'm friendly! I can't promise to know the answers to everything, but I can endeavour to find out and be there for you.
If you fancy answering these questions, please tweet the link with the hashtag #cosmoQs , I'm loving seeing the plus-sized life through others eyes.