Hard to believe I know but yes a blog post. I have changed jobs recently and now seem to have a slightly better work life balance and one of the things that I really want to do is start blogging again. My beloved photographer is still not keen on taking the photos so we need to get round that but the dog is itching to get back into the jewellery modelling, so needs must.
Claire saw this article on Cosmopolitan about whats it like being a fat woman. The answers are quite interesting and she was keen to see how representative they are. So some have us have undertaken to answer them. Can I stress the below is my personal views and based on my own experience & there are no rights and wrongs here.
How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
It varies depending on the person. it does annoy me when its someone who is pretty slender as its usually loaded with negative connotations. They arent fat and its usually a cue for you to tell them “Oh don’t be silly, your not at all”. Most of the time I pretty much ignore it. i certainly never get into the comparisism with myself.
How has your body image changed since high school? College?
Yes Im much more confident and positive about it now. Ive never considered myself even now as a pretty woman but I do think Im attractive. I do feel that a lot of that is to do with confidence and who you are as person. When Im on good form Im interesting, Im funny, I have stuff to say and Im a bit of a challenge. I occasionally smoke cigars(which men seem to find fascinating) and I probably 90% or more dont really consider my size. When I was younger I didnt consider myself attractive at all really and I think I missed out because of that. I had boyfriends but particularly at Uni, I think I missed out on developing friendships with people I thought were probably a bit too cool for the fat girl. Looking back there were clearly some guys who were interested in me but I just didnt ever consider they would or could be and didnt follow up any cues.
Have you tried dieting? What happened?
i have lost a few stones at one point doing weight watchers. Over the past 18 months I have probably lost a couple dress sizes and kept it pretty constant. I think a lot of this is due to having a wheat and gluten intolerance and I dont eat much bread, cake or biscuits any more. Much less pasta etc. The lifestyle change approach seems to work for me. I would like to loose a bit more weight and ideally would like to be a 16/18. Mostly I want to be fit again and get back to the gym. Hopefully with this change of job that will happen.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I think its a combination. My mum and me have very similar body shapes. However I also recognise it has also to do with what I eat.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
I am relatively healthy. i have no major health problems but my level of fitness isnt great at the moment and I need to address this.
I think there is a general assumption by people that as a fat women you are unhealthy. This includes GP’s who will link every problem you have back to your weight. When I was pretty fit and going to the gym a lot. I used to do a lot in the water and people would underestimate how fit I was. I did a running class in the water which was quite difficult. It developed a bit of a macho rep at the gym and i used to love the faces of the aggressive guys in the class when the fat girl would easily breeze past them. Especially when they went under trying to catch you up, running too fast when their legs werent strong enough.
Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
I love my mum and I think she always had my best interests at heart but weight was an issue growing up. There were lots of comments around ” you have a really pretty face, if you lost weight youd be . . .” and “Yes but you cant wear that its for thin girls”. It did affect my confidence and I think is part of the reason I never considered myself attractive when I was younger. If I had a daughter I would work really hard to combat the crap that your confidence or value is linked to your looks or size. I would daily make sure I somehow worked a confidence builder into their day.
However it probably did contribute to my sense of style. I think my mams reasoning was if I was thin I could dress like everyone else. I remember one day her saying to me, “If you lost weight, you could buy stuff off the market like Angela (made up name to protect the innocent).” I was horrified! I have to say by the concept of buying stuff off the market ( always had tastes running to the luxe), dressing like Angela or even dressing like everyone else.
My dad has never made an issue about my weight but I know they both worry about my health and probably wish I was thinner.
How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
How long have we got on this one?
I think just seeing us a valuable market would be a key one. If we were valued, they would listen more and be willing to produce more of what we want.
I hate not really being able to have a high street experience any more. Its like we really are not worth the use of valuable floor space. There are such negative connotations around being fat or plus size most retailers dont want to tarnish their brand. It never ceases to amaze me that Topshop dont have an extended size range.
I think for me its still the lack of choice and quality. There are still very defined plus size shapes and looks. My own personal nemesis being the fecking skater skirt or dress. I like a minimal, edgy, tailored look with a slim silhouette. Very hard shape to buy for in plus size. Its just not a style thats seen as an acceptable plus shape & things just dont get produced.
I also get wound up that certain key stories or looks just dont get picked up every season by plus retailers. They tend to pick one or two trends and all do it to death. In mainstream fashion you have such a level of choice its not so limiting but in plus size its very difficult.
This season is going to be a mare for me. I pretty much dislike most of the key trends anyway btu I know the plus choices are gong to awash with only vomit inducing pastels and lary prints. In skater style I bet. Also, things are always at least one or two seasons behind. I want fashion forward! I want it now!
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How?
I do. i think unfortunately still in society womens value is still too tied up with how they look. I think judgements about fat women bleed over into their professional life more than a fat man.
Having said that I think its getting harder for guys and some of the same judgements are being applied to them by both men and women.
Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
I think there are lots of stereotypes and assumptions linked to your health, energy and personality.
I try to challenge them when ever possible. I draw the line however at pretending to be a miserable git to challenge the jolly fat person stereotype.
Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
I think this is a fairly complex issue and I would only do it to someone I knew really well & I cant imagine that their weight would be the only aspect of my concern.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
Its just the usual crap we all have had. The standard name calling bollocks and smart arse groups of guys. I havent really suffered much from it to be honest as I think being fairly confident and happy does limit this a bit.
One of the things that did piss my off in the last couple of years was a group of guys being arseholes. I was coming out of the opera (cultured northern monkey) with my friend on St Martins Lane and a group of guys on a stag do actually thought I was dumb enough to stand and let them take a picture of me and my friend with their arm draped around me.
How did you respond?
On that occasion I really gave them a hard time and insisted they f*ck off out of my sight. My husband is a good looking guy and I gave them all a very detailed critical appraisal of how far short they fall of him and that none of them were any kind of guy I would look twice at. I then managed to convince him that my husbands station is Charring Cross nick and if they didnt mover their arses quickly out of our sight I would get one of his mates down to put the groom to be in nick for the night. They moved tail between their legs, pints abandoned and we stayed.
It upset my friend.
I always challenge people being arseholes male or female. Im fairly mouthy and quick on my feet and Im proud to say I have faced down groups of and single guys who have tried to be derogatory and come off the best usually making them look like pricks. I particularly like it when some dim guy is goaded by his mates to come over and try to to take the piss and you can turn it around and end up with their so called mates laughing at them.
The main reason I do it is because I genuinely dont give a f*ck what they say but I do know for some people they find this very difficult. I just hope I make them think twice about doing it again.
What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
People say nice stuff to me all the time. I love it when women who’s style I admire complement me on my style or what Im wearing. My lovely husband compliments me and still looks at me like Im something amazing. Thats all I need.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Not specifically. I have friends of all sizes. I have made some amazing friends though from the plus size community. They are great women and its about that really the plus size community just put us together really.
How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
No I cant say it has in all honesty.
When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
It did when I was younger as mentioned above, but not since my mid 20’s. I have been with my husband for over 10 years now so it all feels very gladly distant to be honest.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
Not necessarily. Everyone has preferences and that might just be his. If that was the only reason they were with me, they wouldnt have lasted long.
Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before you?
No, not at all. I went out with several guys that fitted that description. I dont really ever think guys went out with me for looks alone.
So there you go!
Feels nice doing a blog again. There are lots of other amazing women doing this tonight too. The list is below
Becky Barnes http://www.mrsbebeblog.co.uk/
Becky Brown http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com
Please read their responses too. I may not have got the links working properly tonight. So copy in the URL, but bbc2 and Line of Duty calls. I look forward to reading everyone’s answers.