So, you all know BStu, right? He comments here frequently, and he has his own fat blog, Red No. 3, which you should check out.
In addition to being a fat acceptance advocate, BStu is also a Fat Admirer — i.e., someone who’s attracted to fat people. (Which is a way different thing from being a fat fetishist, btw.) In this society, that’s a pretty radical thing. I mean, duh.
So the other day, a troll who’s plagued him for ages showed up over here to “out” him as an FA — by way of explaining to us all why he’s a passionate supporter of fat acceptance. It’s because he’s a chubby chaser! He just wants every woman to be fat, so he can fuck them all! Or something like that. The fact that he’s completely open about being an FA didn’t stop her (or “her”) from trying to use that information like a bullet: Ha ha! Brian digs fat chicks! Loser!
That inspired me to ask BStu to write something about being a Fat Admirer that I could post on my blog, because frankly, I don’t know much about that sexual orientation — which is exactly what it seems to be. (Both BStu and this guy describe recognizing their attraction to fat girls at a very early age, and knowing it made them different — but it just was what it was.) I knew FAs existed, but he’s the first one I’ve ever interacted with (to my knowledge). The guys I’ve dated have generally been of the “I prefer a woman with a little meat on her bones” school, but that, too, is a whole different thing.
One of the toughest things about being an FA is the some of the harshest receptions you’ll get come from fat women. Fat hatred is so extraordinarily internalized by fat women in our culture, the idea of a guy thinking they were beautiful just couldn’t be reconciled.
This kills me, though it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Internalized fatphobia is a powerful force, and I know a lot of fat women who suffer from this “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member” syndrome. I’d also say it’s responsible for why I, as someone who’s pretty well versed in fat studies, know diddly shit about fat admirers. What I do know are a lot of fat women who are, as a rule, suspicious of anyone who finds them attractive — and not without reason. They fear being reduced to fetish objects, being treated like crap by guys who think they can get away with it because fat women are taught to believe they have no other options, or finding out it was all actually a big joke. As BStu ably demonstrates, this culture simply does not allow for a perfectly normal, healthy, attraction to fat people — and no one’s more aware of that than fat people themselves.
Not to mention, some FAs are just dicks:
I mostly weathered this without falling into “Nice Guy” traps, thankfully. Still, a lot of FAs don’t. A lot of FAs keep hating themselves. They think its wrong to be attracted to fat women. They buy into the cultural hate as much as anyone. Others waste energy trying to be a “white knight” pretending they can undo years of social conditioning just by telling a woman that she’s beautiful. Or worse, they grow to think fat women owe them something for their affection.
I would argue that the last two examples issue more from a perverse sense of male entitlement that’s familiar to women of all sizes, but then, a sense of entitlement itself often issues from a desire to take your own insecurity out on other people. And FAs are given plenty of reasons to be insecure about their attractions. Meanwhile, fat women have plenty of reasons to be wary of the white knights and the guys who think they’re doing Fatty a favor. Even with my little, fairly low-traffic blog, I get e-mails and comments all the time from guys saying, “But you’re pretty! I like women with a little meat on their bones! There’s nothing wrong with you!” Yeah, thanks, dude — my boyfriend agrees completely, and also, way to miss the fucking point. (Better still are the ones that say, “But you’re not fat! You’re pretty!” I’m both!) There are a lot of men out there who have an obsession with “boosting fat women’s self-esteem” — and getting hero points for it — but they don’t take the trouble to actually select fat women who have low self-esteem. They just assume that all fat women will be pissing themselves with gratitude for any attention. And nobody wants to date that guy. (Parenthetically, you’d better believe I’m gonna rant my ass off about the trailer for the new Dane Cook movie, just as soon as I can stop sputtering incoherently.)
So, since finding fat aesthetically pleasing is regarded as sick and freakish, fat admirers end up hating themselves and fat people end up too suspicious off fat admirers to date them — how fucked up is that? People could be falling in love and screwing like bunnies left and right, but they don’t get to, because they’re trained to hate their own bodies and attractions. And man, even if I weren’t already a fat acceptance advocate, I would be staunchly opposed to anything that gets in the way of romance and hot sex.
BStu points out that the internet is changing things, helping people both connect and better understand the difference between fat admiration and fat fetishism. That’s hopeful. But I’m not going to hold my breath for things to get easy for fat admirers any time soon.
Thanks for the insights, BStu.