Earlier, I was directed to a pair of articles on Yahoo! from two halves of a couple. The first was from a woman who is fat and dating a thin man. The second is the boyfriend’s perspective. While I’m happy for them, and appreciate that they are putting it out there that fat people are not loveless, sexless pariahs unable to find happiness, I’m pretty sick of how a preference for fat bodies is treated like some kind of freak show.
Some people prefer redheads, some like taller partners, some people are into big boobs, shapely arms, booties, or curly hair. We all have things that make us take note of our preferred gender. It is absurd that we can accept so many other sets of differences within a couple but not one of size, especially when the woman is larger (in a hetero couple). Obviously, this is a reflection of the way our society views fat people: as inhuman, as less-than, as below second class, as completely undeserving of affection.
I’m not angry with this couple for writing about their relationship. They have, it seems, dealt with some ignorant people and needed to clear the air. And if publishing on Yahoo! makes someone think that fat bodies aren’t unlovable bodies, then great.
What I am angry at, however, is a society that makes this kind of thing necessary. I’m angry at the notion that fat people are so dehumanized that anyone who loves us but could “do better” needs to explain themselves. I’m angry that “do better” means “find someone thinner.” I’m angry at the double standard that allows King of Queens and The Simpsons to show a fat husband and thin wife, but demands answers from a thin man attracted to fat women. I’m angry that this notion is so heteronormative and sexist that a woman’s body is judged by whether or not men will like it.
I’m angry at the constant reminders that my body is some kind of circus act, that I’m what someone settles for when he can’t do better (since my body probably means I’m grateful for whatever attention I can get). I’m angry that two consenting adults – any two consenting adults – can’t just be together without having to answer invasive questions, including those about sex mechanics.
So how about when our friends or family members are in a relationship, or say that are interested in someone, we just take them at their word? Unless that person is a known serial killer or abuser, don’t question someone’s interests. Preferences are personal. They don’t need to be headlines.