Let me start off by saying: I’m not “phat,” I’m fat.
Although nine times out of ten, the word is used as an insult and has negative connotation, “fat” is merely an adjective I use to describe my outward appearance.
I am a brunette. I’m clumsy. And I am fat. I am finally at a point in my life where I can refer to myself as fat, and not be completely devastated by it.
Being Latina, there is a certain kind of curvy body that the patriarchal society we live in expects of me— big boobs, flat tummy, round booty. I, on the other hand, have average-sized boobs, a soft belly with lonjas (rolls), and a flat butt.
As a feminist and someone who champions for fat people, I am ashamed to admit that to this day, the fact I cannot conform to this stereotype will at times bring me feelings of insecurity and repulsion toward my own body. I am “supposed to” look like JLo, right?
I get it.
It’s ridiculous. It has taken me years to be able to display a level of confidence, one I am satisfied with people assuming I already possessed. And I guess I am more confident now in my 30s than I have been in my entire life. Part of me questions, though, if I really do actually have self-confidence, or if I have faked it so much I have started to believe it.
I went through puberty young. At eleven years-old, I looked older than I really was— or at least that was what I was told. I wanted boys my own age to notice me. Instead, I got stares and catcalled by grown men. One time, my dad dropped me off at the gym and the attendant thought he was my husband (*BARF*).
I became aware that it didn’t matter my age, I was being sexualized and made to feel like it was my fault. I started wearing baggy shirts to hide any and every curve. I developed a hatred for my body that lasted well into adulthood. As a child, and into my adolescence, I was chunky (okay, in high school maybe I was borderline obese). The point is, while I was much bigger than most of the girls in my grade, I was not nearly as big as I thought I was.
And what does someone’s size matter aesthetically anyway? If I wasn’t being harassed for being fat, I most certainly was being fetishized for it. Fat people (especially women) have been conditioned to believe that our size determines our beauty.
Size determines our “value” in society? I am worthy of love and respect, dammit!
Do you know how many times I have received the backhanded “compliment,” “You have such a beautiful face”?
What they mean by that is “You have such a beautiful face. It’s a shame you have such an ugly body.” I know this because people have told me. Not in those exact words, but it’s definitely implied.
The cliché of “it’s what’s inside that counts” is totally true. But let’s be real— we all want to look fly on the outside. I’ve realized that not allowing other people to validate my beauty and self-worth is the first step in embracing what makes me hot sh*t.
To call it a day-to-day struggle would be a gross understatement. It’s HARD to look in the mirror and like what I see. But I am beautiful. Not despite or because of my size. But because I decided that I am. Not society or the media. Me.
What are 3 attributes that you like most about yourself when you look in the mirror?
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