Being the Fat Friend | Fat Friday


hey there,

As I am reading and writing about female friendships for my dissertation, the idea struck me to consider my position as a friend, mainly my position as the Fat Friend. I've been the Fat Friend most of my life, even though I only got labeled "fat" around age 7 or 8. But what is it about being labeled the Fat Friend that makes it different from being just "the friend"? This week's Fat Friday article will dive into that.




I've always been the only one or one of the very few fat people in any school environment, which obviously led me to befriend mostly straight sized women. The ease with which they browsed clothing stores, pick meals, and were able to use their bodies in public often left me very jealous and frustrated. Not to mention that being around other teenage girls would inevitably lead to being subjected to "I feel/ look/ am so fat" and other variations of the sentiment that ultimately stresses how awful being fat is. How awful being like me is.. Their outcries were always met with others reassuring them that they weren't fat, they were beautiful. I too often assured them of their beauty, until I realized it wasn't really a concern of them as much as a way to seek attention. So I stopped, because fuck separating beauty and fatness: you can be fat and beautiful. You also don't owe anyone beauty, but that's a story for another time.

It's difficult trying to relate, to laugh along with fat jokes while not being able to find any jeans that fit in high street stores while your friends walk out with bags of clothes (this was before I discovered ASOS). It's difficult to be comfortable in your body when you take up more space in public than your two friends and this is pointed out. It's difficult to be comfortable in public when people either avert their eyes or look at your like you're shit on a stick merely because you exist. Being the fat friend "others" you from your thin friend friend group, and they don't even seem to understand how. Some still don't, despite the amount of times I've tried to explain my experiences. I'm often met with "yes but I struggle with XYZ too." I am not trying to devalue their experience, but they shouldn't be minimizing my experience either.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered the body positivity movement and discovered that I there were plenty of women who shared these experiences. Seeing people embrace and even love their bodies and refuse to change just because society demands they do was so freeing. So what can you do if you are the Fat Friend? Possibly try to connect with other fat people, to share your experience and find some security in being in your body online or IRL. Realize there's nothing inherently wrong about being fat and make peace with that. Find the literature and educate yourself, share articles with friends if you think it'll help them too. If the friendship exhausts you, drop them. If they want you to lose weight so bad, just drop the whole weight of that friendship  -  bye Felicia. 

Live your life and do what make yourself happy. The world might still be hella shitty but at least you'll be too busy working on you, loving yourself.

I hope you liked this first official installment of Fat Friday. If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or strong opinions leave a comment and I'll see you next week.

- Y.


2 comments

  1. Yess!! I should also definitely read more on this subject, it's so important and I don't nearly know enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I highly recommend finding some instagram accounts, they often link to great gateway articles x

      Delete