Musings of a mad fat woman
by Caitlin Irvine
A few months ago, unbeknownst to me, I received a message on Facebook from someone I didn’t know. I stumbled upon this message in my filtered messages a few months later. The person who sent me the message I couldn’t recognize but the sentiment expressed was all too familiar. All it read was “Why are you so fat?”
At first I didn't recognize this guy at all. We can’t possibly be Facebook friends? I just couldn't place him and then suddenly it dawned on me! I realized it was Mark FROM THE DAIRY SECTION. This guy worked with me at a grocery store over five years ago and boy was he peripheral at best. Sure, I was cordial with him. I said hello, how are you, have a goodnight but we were by no means friends or even friendly. Never took a break together. Never rode the subway home. Never had any conversation whatsoever that I can recall.
Why me? Why was his hate pointed at me? What had I done to him to deserve this treatment? Then I realized OH WAIT! I am a woman and therefore I must exist solely for the pleasure of men. I exist to be constantly qualified and am subject to any man's opinion. Doesn’t matter if it is right or solicited - simply because I am a woman. Silly me ! How could I forget?
For some context: I most definitely am fat. I have always been some version of fat for as long as I can remember. I have struggled with my body image and self confidence since childhood. Only in recent years have I been able to culture a sense of love and acceptance within myself, but it has been a long and hard road. Reading Mark’s message was like opening the floodgates. Seeing this message brought back all this pain and shame and anger that had been brewing inside me for decades. Mark and other men like him contribute to a toxicity that has plagued me for too long. This toxic garbage has come in many forms but is not limited to:
a) men who “just don’t date fat chicks”
b) men who are ashamed of being seen dating or courting you in public
c) men who yell disgusting things at you on the street be they either sexual or derogatory (most often some lovely combo of both) ex. “I like your big tits” or “Nice thunder thighs”
d) men who say things like “you’re pretty for a fat girl”.
I am finally figuring out that my waistline ain’t the fucking problem here. Turns out this turd has sent other women, friends of mine, his hateful messages and I am fucking mad about it. He has sent other young women sexually explicit and degrading message demanding sexual favours. When they do not respond positively he lashes out and calls them names - degrading them further. This behaviour is utterly unacceptable.
A quick interjection for the benefit of any men reading this who may be confused and still see it fit to pass judgement on me or any woman be it by catcalling or making any unsolicited comment let me set the fucking record straight here and now:
You are not entitled to pass judgement on women simply because we exist in your world. If you ever feel the urge to blurt out anything I encourage you to take a moment to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. Your opinions about my body do not matter.
Back to you Mark, and your burning question. WHY AM I SO FAT? Do you think that I don’t know that I am fat? That I don’t feel the weight of other people’s judgements and expectations every single day? Like I am somehow less feminine? Like I don’t fit in? Like I am not desirable? I can feel this all the goddamn time.
I am constantly reminded that being fat is the least desirable of states, and that my desirability and my value are inherently linked. I was so sure for so long that in order to be fuckable you had to be thin and that in order to be of value in this world, you must be seen as fuckable by men. I was conditioned to believe that. I am now realizing that this belief is constantly being reinforced in almost all aspects of life and it is so fucked. It has taken me a long time to unlearn and instead acknowledge how much value I have.
Thanks Mark, though, for the gutting reminder that misogyny is literally lurking around every corner.
I hate to take time away from what I'm sure is a busy schedule of furiously masturbating to revenge porn in your mom's basement and sending hateful messages to women you barely know and haven't seen in 5 years but boy do I have a couple fucking questions for you:
1) Why are you so motherfuckin rude? Have you no respect at all? Have you no sense of boundaries and of common decency? You are a grown ass man. You are no child. Get your shit together. You're pushing forty. Build something for yourself instead of tearing others down for Christ's sake.
2) What do you honestly hope to gain from sending this message? Is it negging? Surely it must be negging. Is it because I didn't pay you much attention? Were you hoping that after years of not speaking or seeing each other I'll turn around and say OMG HEY HOW ARE YOU? LET’S FUCK. Or did I say something six or seven years ago that offended you? Have you been stewing on it, stalking my social media ever since waiting for a moment to cut me down? Or is it, most plausibly, that you hate in me what you see in yourself. I mean you weren’t exactly a gym rat. Must be a sad existence to hate a part of yourself so much that you feel compelled to infect everyone around you, even those you don't even fucking know.
3)Why are you so fucking foolish to think that I wouldn't stand up to your hatred? For a fucking stalker you're a pretty miserable one. I do not exist for you. I will not allow you to pass judgement on me or any other women. I vehemently refuse to take your toxic bullshit. You can keep it. I’m full up on toxic misogyny this week.
I am visible intentionally and very purposefully. I have been made to feel uncomfortable for being who I am. I have heard that I am too big, too quick, too smart, too passionate and too assertive for a literal lifetime. From here on out I am going to claim my rights and space and I will make every effort to support and make space for other women, people of colour, for lgbtq and gender non binary people. I am here to make you Mark and men like you uncomfortable.
In closing, I really and truly hope you puke in your mouth a little bit every time you see my social media. Hope you like pictures of me in a bikini! Hope you scroll through pictures of me and my boyfriend on dates! Look at me even eating a doughnut! The audacity I have to document my life and put it out into the universe! HOPE YOU ENJOY MARK!
I am fat, proud and happy and there ain't a damn thing you can do it about.