It’s a scary word – the F word – and people cover it up with euphemisms whenever they can. Plus size, big, fuller figured… It’s a bad word.
I’ve written about it for W24 before, but still find myself veering away from the word whenever it comes up. These four long reads by four fabulous writers each tackled the F word and really moved me with their brave, beautiful copy.
- Why Am I So Fat? This piece by Sara Benincasa – comedian and all round awesome person – is in response to that question, and the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek and just wonderful and hilarious.
“…she wanted to work with me and never brought up the fact that I wasn’t skinny. Can you imagine? It’s so strange. I talked to her yesterday and she still did not say anything about me being so fucking fat. Is she just being nice? She’s from the Midwest and those people are sweet. And Ben Stiller’s company, Red Hour, worked with me too. None of them told me I was fat. Ben Stiller didn’t tell me I was fat! Was he busy thinking about other things? Maybe! He’s very successful and talented and busy so maybe he just forgot.”
- Here’s How I Got Fat. Author Shaunta Grimes is brutally honest and touching in this article, and I loved her writing.
I used to lay awake at night with a belly full of whatever had made me feel better and think about using a knife to carve off my round belly. I used to avoid looking at myself in the mirror because all I saw was an immense body, less human than Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. Expandable. Expendable. Unloveable. Taking up so much space. Too much space.
- I Know Why The Fat Lady Sings. Caitlin Moran is a wonderful British columnist who is both funny and poignant, and does crazy things I can look down on (getting really high at a celebrity’s house and passing out in his attic) and aspire to (getting really high at a celebrity’s house and passing out in his attic). She’s quite ‘Bridget Jonesy’ and this excerpt from her book hits all the right notes – and discusses overeating as an addiction.
“People overeat for exactly the same reason they drink, smoke, have serial one-night stands or take drugs. I must be clear that I am not talking about the kind of overeating that’s just plain, cheerful greed—the kind of Rabelaisian, Falstaffian figures who treat the world as a series of sensory delights and take full joy in their wine, bread and meat. Those who walk away from a table—replete—shouting, “That was splendid!” before sitting in front of a fire, drinking port and eating truffles, don’t have neuroses about food. They aren’t “fat,” they are simply…lavish. No—I’m talking about those for whom the whole idea of food isn’t one of pleasure, but one of compulsion. For whom thoughts of food, and the effects of food, are the constant, dreary background static to normal thought.”
- The Perfect Body Is a Lie. I Believed It For A Long Time And Let It Shrink My Life. I discovered Lindy West on Jezebel, and grew to love her brazen feminism, how funny she was and how little shit she took. This excerpt from her book really struck me – especially the passage I quote below – because I have thought ALL THESE THINGS.
“We each get just a few years to be perfect. To be young and smooth and decorative and collectible. That’s what I’d been sold. I was missing my window, I could feel it pulling at my navel (my obsessively hidden, hated navel), and I scrabbled, desperate and frantic. Deep down, in my honest places, I knew it was already gone – I had stretch marks and cellulite long before 20 – but they tell you that, if you hate yourself hard enough, you can grab a tail feather or two of perfection. Chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman, and I would never know what it was like – this thing, this most important thing for girls.
I missed it. I failed. I wasn’t a woman. You only get one life. I missed it.”