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Talking the scene over with my fat lady friends, we all felt that it was unrealistic in that regard.
Mostly, when we have gotten up the courage to talk to men we’re romantically interested in about our fatness, we’re met with protests and denials of the “not men” variety.
At the same time, fat people, especially fat women, are supposed to pretend we don’t exist or that we’re not fat.
I can’t count the number of times thin people have made reference to fat people or fatness in a negative or joking way in front of me, from the petite woman sitting next to me at the coffee shop complaining about fat people on airplanes, to my friends who routinely make jokes about their “inner fat kids” coming out when they eat a lot, to the women in my family who compete to see who can look the thinnest in family photos.
What I do know is that to date as a fat woman is complicated in ways that other people, especially thin people, don’t often seem fully able to grasp.She says, “Look, I really like you, you’re truly a good guy, I think. On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys.” By making Louie represent “all the guys” on behalf of “all the fat girls,” Vanessa conjures the junction of where the big, impersonal beast of gendered, sociopolitical systems of power intersect with the intimate, personal, deeply subjective terrain of relationships between particular individuals.Vanessa wasn’t just recounting her experience of dating as a fat woman; she was demanding recognition that she was worthy of respect and love in a culture hell-bent on denying fat women both.This ideology pits the rational and the irrational against each other along with other corresponding binaries: the masculine and the feminine, the public and the domestic, the mental and the emotional, the mind and the body, the head and the heart.Even feminist, queer, and antiracist activists are often dismissive or cruel when people of size politicize their personal experiences.