The Problem With “Fat is Beautiful”


I’ve lived most of my life under the supposition that power is held by a group of white males we learn in college to call the “patriarchy”. What it took me many years to realize is that real power and control do not lie in an establishment. A group of males does not hold the greatest amount of power. Real democracy and power do not live in Washington DC. It lives out in the hands of people just like me who have the ability to change the flow of our social stream. We citizens vote. We decide where to spend our money. We decide what social mores and laws to follow, and which ones we will rise up against. We control them, not the reverse—something many seemingly forget.

Life hasn’t always been that way for all of us, of course. My foremothers fought for me to have the right to vote. They put some of that power in my hands, and just as my predecessors gave me solid ground to walk upon, I feel like there is an issue we need to resolve so that we may pass the power on to our successors.

I can barely glance at social media without finding an article declaring that fat is beautiful. I agree. Fat is beautiful. The articles, however, are extremely divisive.

Fat, obese, overweight—however we decide to call being large, is nothing that should be hidden from the view of others. No one should hide their heads in public because they have extra pounds, but so is every other body type.

Here’s the thing, one body type is not universally beautiful, nor should it be. Skinny women are beautiful. So are in between women, short women, tall women…

There is no end to what is beautiful. Beauty lies in a beating heart and thinking mind, not in aesthetics.

What many seem to mix up is being a “beautiful person” and being “sexually attractive”.

Most of us can probably agree that most humans are beautiful people in their own way. Where we disagree is whether or not someone is sexually attractive—aesthetic beauty.

Not all people will find everyone aesthetically pleasing. Some like blondes. Some don’t. Some like tall, muscular people. Others prefer short, smaller built folks. Some people are attracted to heavier people, and some are not.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with finding different variations of body type attractive or not. We simply like who we like. Telling someone they should be attracted to one type or another is as absurd as telling everyone they must like strawberry ice cream.

The real problem we women create by dividing ourselves into only body type—the sexually attractive categories—is that we relegate ourselves as no more than sexual creatures. We no longer say “We’re all beautiful”. We say “We come in different colors and flavors, and XYZ is the best”.

When we divide ourselves, and are complicit with the patriarchy in that we are nothing more than sexual creatures, we give away our power.

Thinking about the Civil Rights Movement, there was an internal aesthetic battle underlying the main cause there, too: Colorism.

Because of slavery, some people believed that different shades (lighter or darker) were better than others. This basis for discrimination still lives on today. However, during the movement, it was put aside so that the whole group could benefit. Being divided left room for internal conflict. The exact same thing happens in the Women’s Movement today.

We get so busy at first trying to uplift a group whose been viewed negatively (such as overweight people have), that we don’t even realize when uplifting them becomes overlooking others.

I’m a fat girl. I wasn’t always. I was once a small, athletically built woman. Lifestyle and childbirth changed that for me, but I’ve lived as both relatively skinny and obese. Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter what your body type, someone will not approve. Someone will make foul comments. Someone will laugh at you.

I was beautiful then. I’m beautiful now. Someone didn’t like me then. Someone doesn’t like me now. The only thing that’s changed is the size clothing I buy.

What I cannot do is let my body shape and size take the focus away from the bigger picture. At the end of the day, I’m a woman. I am uniquely me, and that in and of itself is beautiful.

If I can put away my pride and obsession with being aesthetically pleasing to others, I can retain my power to fight those who would love nothing more to own my sexuality for their own profits. I can share my power with other women—even those women who are equal, but totally opposite me.

We are all beautiful. I don’t think I’m the first woman to utter this mantra, but I say it with fervor. WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL!  Do not let some group who claims to own our sexuality, who claims to have more power than we, who finds join in keeping us self-conscious keep us from being united. It will only be when we stop dividing and start uniting that we win for good.

(image source:


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