November 2017
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dealing with body worry & internalized fatphobia / attraction and beauty


[TW: internalized fatphobia, body talk]
I've been dealing with epic insecurity over the past couple days. The two people closest to me right now are getting to know each other better, and for some reason that sets off all this body worry. They're both of average-to-slim build, and have lots of the same positive qualities that I do, so my brain is like, "why would they want you, when they could have something just as good that DOESN'T come in a fat body?" And I worry about this because apparently I expect others to think that (even platonic) closeness with a slim person is more desirable than with a fat person.

I am the largest I have ever been, and I worry that I have gone past society's measure of "pleasantly plump" into "gross." I've been called gross many times over the years but my features didn't fall into the categories that I considered taboo, and now they do. Even though I no longer have those categories, I really expect other people to. I feel uncomfortable because it's considered appropriate and ethical to form an opinion of the ideal body shape (or a set of ideals), and it's a benevolence to be attracted to someone who does not meet one's ideal. No, an ideal of 'healthy' or 'average' or 'curvy' is NOT NOT NOT better than the ideal in magazines. Considering fat people the 'most' attractive is just as repulsive to me.

Being considered attractive 'in spite of' my fat means that if I ever fuck up as a person, my aesthetic and sexual worth is gone. That's a fuckton of pressure. If you can't regard my body as aesthetically beautiful regardless of who is in it, don't talk to me about beauty. And don't tell me you don't care about beauty if you have EVER enthused about the looks/shape of someone you did not know. I'm sure some people genuinely do not care about beauty, and I'm also sure that I have met at maximum 10 of those people in my lifetime. (Not talking about sexual attraction but only aesthetic)


I don't want people to ignore my body, I want people to be able to value the aesthetic qualities of it like I can. Most people just don't think like that. They measure attractiveness in closeness to an ideal, not by observing someone with careful appreciation. I can find thin lips on one person every bit as gorgeous as thick lips on another, freckles and scars and moles as lovely as unmarked skin. Every quality a person's body can have is something I can find beautiful. And I do, if I spend time with them and care about them. I don't think most people consider this a worthwhile effort. They might do it if they happen to fall for someone who doesn't resemble their ideal at all, but they don't do it as a general rule. They don't do it with their friends.

I feel proud of how I am handling this. Working through it by looking at each thought as it comes up, deconstructing it, and sending it away. I have no good reason to think that I am going to be rejected because of my body; this may be a societal danger but it's not a real danger in my relationships. The people I care about are just not that shallow. Even if they find me unattractive they aren't going to throw away my friendship because of it, because they're not shitheads.

It's taking such a lot of effort to tell myself this over and over. But I can feel the shift as it goes.

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Comments
bunnika ══╣bunny: hugs╠══
Every quality a person's body can have is something I can find beautiful. And I do, if I spend time with them and care about them. I don't think most people consider this a worthwhile effort. They might do it if they happen to fall for someone who doesn't resemble their ideal at all, but they don't do it as a general rule. They don't do it with their friends.

I do this, if it's any consolation that you're not alone.

I'm struggling with body image a lot right now because Matt's struggling with his own, so hearing him say I'm beautiful how I am seems at odds with him insulting his own weight (when I'm not actually heavier than him, but am further beyond the social ideal than he is). I think there are lots of things that can cause this sort of thing even in someone who doesn't judge others by weight, or put value in thinness as a general concept. It's really hard to self-apply certain standards, and deconstructing internalized fatphobia is hard as fuck.

*hugs*
meri_sielu ══╣muggles╠══
"I'm struggling with body image a lot right now because Matt's struggling with his own, so hearing him say I'm beautiful how I am seems at odds with him insulting his own weight (when I'm not actually heavier than him, but am further beyond the social ideal than he is)"

This. I totally get this with Josh at the moment and I think his gender dysmorphia often has a part to play in his uncomfortableness with his body. I totally understand that but it's confusing when I'm angsting over my body and he's telling me I'm gorgeous and not fat when he's going on about having a bit of a belly himself and feeling ugly. It's a catch 22. :/
belenen ══╣╠══
It is consolation, i have never before met anyone whpo did it. If i find something unattractive in someone (physically) i take that to mran there is a part of my thinking that needs changing, and i find the beauty in it. Uusually all it takes is deliberate thought to undo some societal bullshit.
classical_wolf ══╣Shane - L Word - Stare╠══
And I worry about this because apparently I expect others to think that (even platonic) closeness with a slim person is more desirable than with a fat person. - I have this in my head quite often!

I am the largest I have ever been, and I worry that I have gone past society's measure of "pleasantly plump" into "gross." - Again, I've been here often too.

Every quality a person's body can have is something I can find beautiful. And I do, if I spend time with them and care about them. - I've done this :)

I have no good reason to think that I am going to be rejected because of my body; this may be a societal danger but it's not a real danger in my relationships. The people I care about are just not that shallow. Even if they find me unattractive they aren't going to throw away my friendship because of it, because they're not shitheads. - All of this too!

belenen ══╣╠══
*hugs* im sorry to know that you have fel these things, and i hope they vacate your life soon!
classical_wolf ══╣╠══
Thank you - HUGS! ♥
ecosopher ══╣╠══
It is really good to hear that you're working through this in a systematic way and that you're also around people who are not shallow. The weird way our minds work... I have a body image in mind for myself, one I want to be like, but I don't tend to apply that to other people at all. And I found through gaining and losing massive amounts of weight through pregnancy, I had real issues working out what felt like 'me'.
belenen ══╣╠══
I think one of the worst ways the beauty myth gets us is in the idea that there is only one way we're supposed to look, all life long. Human bodies are made to change constantly! And you are equally YOU whether at your larger or smaller size. Its all you.
ecosopher ══╣╠══
That's very true about how we change through life. I find photos a little... dishonest? for that reason. Because it catches us in a moment, in a way that we never are in real life. We never stay still, something is always changing, and yet we take pictures and think, 'that is me'.

I've been so grateful that my body has risen to the challenge in almost everything I've wanted to do. I'm definitely happy with it--but I also realise that slowly, it's getting older... I'm not so worried about aging but I am thinking that I can't expect some of the same things of it as I used to. That's an adjustment in itself.
meri_sielu ══╣misty turkey vulture╠══
It is /so/ hard to shake internalised fatphobia.... it's just the way society slams on about what is "acceptable" and "desirable" that makes us feel this way despite being happy and healthy in our own skin most of the time, these little niggling thoughts worm their way in because we feel it's how we're supposed to think. It's horrible. :(

I completely understand how you feel 100%.
belenen ══╣╠══
Yeah, exactly. Its been a long time since i felt this, so it was a shock. I always think it is gone for good but i think as long as i live in this society, its going to come back around eventually. Just gotta slam it out and move on again.
keiwontia ══╣╠══
Please, don't take this as my trying to minimize your pain or what you're experiencing...

When I read this "I am the largest I have ever been, and I worry that I have gone past society's measure of "pleasantly plump" into "gross." " I actually laughed.. like aloud. Just a quick "Ha!" Because, at least to me, in my eyes, nothing could be further from the truth. Plump or otherwise your body is absolutely pleasant and not even a little bit gross.
belenen ══╣╠══
This made me feel lots better, actually.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.