Home Beauty Dating While Fat And Feminist, And The Nasty Things You Learn When You Lose Weight

Dating While Fat And Feminist, And The Nasty Things You Learn When You Lose Weight

by Erika Nicole Kendall

First, let me preface this with a thank you to The Crunk Feminist Collective – yes, you read that right – for even existing… ’cause I might not be here, in this form and fashion mentally, if it weren’t for them. I also love environments where women of color can come, converse, and be in support of women and vociferously defend their stance as such in a realistic fashion. I’m sad to say, there isn’t enough of that out here.

And, apparently, many of my readers hang out over there, as well, because like four of y’all sent this to me apparently within hours of it coming out. (Never stop sending me stuff, though. I can’t keep up with everything, especially now with all the studying for my certification.)

Now…on to the business.

The following excerpt appeared on the CFC’s blog:

Because desire is socially constructed (no matter how much folks justify their limited dating choices based on ‘natural preference’), the fact that we live in a fat-hating culture greatly affects who we’re attracted to, and what we find attractive. The idea that we’re only attractive within a range of sizes is absurd. And narrow. And it is absolutely a function of patriarchy. And yet, I live daily with those realities.

Some (admittedly anecdotal) examples:

Several months ago I was in a bar/lounge type spot, with a group of 7 or 8 homegirls. We ranged in size and skin tone, from short and petite, to tall and lanky, from light-skinned to dark-skinned, from skinny to fat (me being the fat one), and everything in between. The homeboy of one of my homegirls happened to be in the club. Now in many ways, he was my type. Mid-height, stocky, dark-skinned, bald-headed. My girl gave us his vital statistics and it turns out the brother is highly intelligent and very accomplished. He was also a natural flirt. This I discovered, as I watched him at different points during the evening, strike up a conversation and flirt with every single girl in the crew—except me. My homegirl indicated to me at some point that I should make sure to meet him, because she thought we’d have similar interests. Not one to be shy, I did at some point attempt to strike up a conversation. He barely acknowledged me! I mean he literally didn’t look me in the eye, made no real attempt at conversation, and pretty much gave me the brush off. And starting talking to another one of my homegirls!

It was clear to me that he wasn’t really that interested in a serious thing with any of the girls at the bar that night. He was just doing the bar/lounge thing, as was I. But why the cold shoulder, from a brother I’d never met? Why the unique snub reserved for the one fat girl in the crew? I wish I could say that this experience was isolated, but it’s been more the rule rather than the exception for me.


I think of all that CRUNK club-hopping I did in ATL back in the early days of the CFC. Nothing can make me dance with abandon like a smoke-filled club strung out on CRUNK. And when me and my girls would go and shut the club down, routinely, I’d be the only chick that hadn’t been approached, danced with, hit on. Now I never thought I’d find my prince charming in a club. But everyone likes to be desired. So no matter how much Big Boi proclaimed back in 2003 that “Big Girls need love, too,” I don’t think the other ATLiens got the message.


And of course there is that story of the time that Crunkadelic and I went to one of those Big Beautiful Women parties. But um, I’m not trying to date a dude with a fat fetish. No hate on fetishes, but being the object of that particular one feels…objectifying. I want to date a man that has a range of desires wide enough to see a big girl as attractive. Just like I find a range of men attractive.

Getting back to Big Boi, the reality is that Big Girls do need love. This big girl anyway. So as much as I resent the limited range of desire that it seems (Black) men have and the ever-present male privilege that allows them to never have to interrogate their sexual and romantic investments, I hate my limited partnering prospects much more. As un-feminist as I’m sure it is, and as much my Sagittarian self wants to say f**k the world and embrace my life of singleness in a blaze of principled feminist big girl glory, the #truestory is that I’m seriously trying to figure out how I can get my J.Hud on. (Well, maybe not to that extreme!) In my thirties, I’m prioritizing self-care and that includes being loved on and getting my groove on. Regularly. And I know for sure that those things are feminist. I also know being thinner won’t guarantee me a date, but I’m willing to bet it’ll improve my chances.[source]

It’s a really hard thing to admit, and it’s a really nasty realization that one of the things you stand against, as a feminist, is also one of the things you still have to live with and grapple with in order to live the life you want.

I’ve written about it before – the fact that, the smaller I got, the more likely it was that men who weren’t even trying to hear me like that before now wanted to “be down” in different ways. In the Huffington Post feature on me, I talked about being at a sorority event (which, after a 7-month and 90lb disappearance, was a bit like a “big unveiling”) and men were touching me in entirely different ways. I spoke about this on my appearance on Michael Baisden’s show. In both the HuffPo comments and on the show, the sentiment was the same: “they didn’t want to touch you like that before because you were fat. Duh.”

It’s kind of soul crushing. As a big girl, you’re often shielded from the kinds of things people say about big girls because the people who love you [and, assumedly, want to see you happy] aren’t going to say any foolishness like that to you. No one wants to hurt your feelings like that.

Dating while considerably smaller is… interesting. Especially when, as I’ve had to do, you explain to someone that you blog about weight loss because you used to be over 300lbs.

“Wow, I could never see you as being so fat.”

“Were you single during that whole time? Or….what?”

“Soooooo… you’re never gonna gain that weight again, right?”

It’s hard to be oblivious to the change in the tone and context that people use to discuss weight – or fatness, rather – at a smaller size, because the conversation is much less about “health” and much more about “these fat b-tches are so unappealing to my precious eyes! Get them treadmills, stat!” As a big girl, whenever you hear “weight” it’s about “health.” It’s always [insert list of diseases]. But, the smaller I became, it was more about “Oh, so you’re out here getting these fat Black women into shape, huh?”

In fact, when you’re in a position like mine, you start to notice a lot about people’s dating habits. You also wind up making friends with guys who admit their dating preferences freely, knowing that – since you’re no longer fat – they won’t offend you. I’ve had men admit to me that they get chewed out for dating so many non-Black women, but they don’t seek out women who are simply non-Black – they seek out women who are fit. They seek out women who work out. They meet women and make friends in the gym, the one place where they spend all their non-work time, and want a partner that not only understands that but will be right there with him…working out. They don’t want a partner who complains about how much time they spend “up in the gym, just workin’ on their fitness.” You and I might know that now, but I certainly didn’t know it before.

You also start to notice the pairs on the subway, late on a “date night,” out together. Him, in his cardigan, bowtie and hat… her, in her cute dress, jacket and heels. Neither one overweight.

You also start to hear stories of how some men only “use” overweight Black girls as a “last resort,” meaning that if a guy can’t pull a more socially-approved-as-sexy-looking-woman, he’ll go to her because at least he knows “I’ll get laid tonight, and breakfast tomorrow.” You start to find out how some men manipulate society’s fat-hating culture into a way to skate by without accepting any responsibility for anything: “if fat Black women are considered the least worthy of love and affection, then if I choose one, she’ll do anything and tolerate anything to keep me.”

How do I hear all of this? People often misjudge me as one of those people who loses weight and now “hates” fat people to the point where I would high-five them for telling me these things.

Big girls have to live, date and eventually love in this environment. It’s especially difficult as a feminist – admitting you’re doing it because you want to benefit from the patriarchal bargain of being more of what men want to look at – because during 22.5 hours of the day, you’re fighting the patriarchy… but there’s an hour and a half of the day you’re working hard to increase your ability to benefit from it.

Hard as a feminist…hell, it’s hard as a Black person, period – the higher up the assimilation scale you go, the more you realize there are fewer and fewer people wo look like you period, let alone overweight people. With upper-middle-classdom, ostensibly, there is the time required to commit to your fitness, or at least the money available to make sure you “don’t gain weight,” whatever that means.

The point, truthfully, is that dating is far more complex than that when you’ve got the advantage. Think about it. We’re beat over the head with the idea that there are only twelve “Good Black Men” out there, and we’re all clamoring for them. “Good Black Man” is never defined clearly, and any dude with a job, a car, and a studio apartment think he’s “good” and has the right to choose who and what he wants… and he wants the thing that society says is most desirable. Unfortunately that means, for certain men in certain cities with certain careers, certain traits get you sent straight out of the window.

Trust me… I know. When I’m in NYC, men love my ‘fro (which extends well beyond my shoulders in width.) I took my ‘fro to Indianapolis? Um…let’s just say that there were plenty people in general giving me the gas face. Men in finance, as opposed to, say, a man in customer service? A man with a higher-up position in a company as opposed to a peon? I’m just sayin’…holding up society’s standards start to matter more, the higher up you get. Messy, messy, messy.

Do I think the blogger is right to make this decision? I don’t think it’s my place to determine right and wrong for someone else… because, just as I can judge based on what she’s written, I also have to remember that for every word written, there’s almost always five other words not being written. I think a few things will happen, though: I think, for starters, she’ll be pretty grossed out by how quickly men who have always been present in her life will start to approach her differently; secondly, I think she’ll be annoyed by the new-found “thin-privilege” she may experience depending upon how much weight she chooses to lose; and thirdly, I think she’ll be more skeptical of the men she does encounter in wondering if they would like her if she was heavier…and what that says about their character.

The comments over there are full of gems so, please, do check it out and see what they’re saying. I’m also interested in what experiences y’all have had with dating and what you’ve heard people saying about dating and size preferences. Think I’m off the mark, here? Let’s hear it!

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Keiji April 19, 2012 - 12:31 PM

Oh what a post. It is so sad that this is the truth, and it’s even worse that growing up as a perpetually-larger-than-everyone-else child/teenager/young adult, I had to figure this all out on my own. I remember once, after I had gained 40 lbs in a year studying abroad, I came back to ATL and went to a party with a friend. Not even a club, just a house party. The only guys who would talk to me were drunk, and then they wanted to motorboat me. Like, whenever I went out partying, it was some kind of “Oh look at the big girl go!” like my weight stops me from being able to pop it (I also do ballroom and belly dancing, but I guess no one cares about that), or that they would get drunk and motorboat me (even female friends!) in public whether I wanted to or not. Anyway, I asked my male friend why it was that guys only hit on me when drunk, and he said it’s because the men (I’m just gonna say boys here, they were all college-age dimwits) will shame, tease and belittle each other for even liking a big girl. And yet, who were they always trying to snuggle up to when drunk to feel the t**ties?

I have since lost 60+ lbs, and the gym says I should aim for another 60. But when losing the 60 I could tell based on whose eyes I was catching on the street. I sadly joked to my mother that I would know I was skinny when white men began paying attention to me.

It’s just sad sad sad that it’s the truth, and it sometimes feels so shameful and like a never-ending struggle.

CO April 19, 2012 - 12:36 PM

This is spot on. I only lost 30 pounds in my journey – and was never what you’d consider a “big girl,” just needing to lose a few – and I get tons more attention. I guess now I’m that “fit bitch” who looks good in a ‘kini, it’s cool to do a double take and smile. I can’t even imagine what it was like for you and others after losing 100+ pounds. Crazy.

Rakesha April 19, 2012 - 12:59 PM

I totally relate to this article, I am the fat woman out of my group of friends. You are easily looked over or considered the cool one. It’s a constant battle. I been loosing weight, that is the first thing my friends and people I know say you have really lost a lot of weight..What are you doing? It is frustrating because weight becomes the focus of the conversations… I can honestly say I have never been on a date or a relationship (casual sex yes).. I make excuses that it’s because of the shortage of men and I haven’t been doing much to put myself out there. In reality when I do go out I don’t get the stares like my other friends who are all skinny or have nice bodies. When I speak it’s generally like hey and then the men are moving on to someone else. The article spoke volumes..

Grace @ Healthy Dreaming April 19, 2012 - 1:10 PM

Totally interesting points being raised here. I definitely feel when I was at my higher weight, men didn’t give me the time of day. Now that I’m thinner, I get hit on a lot more but I’ve had a boyfriend through thick and thin and he loved me through my highs and lows. Now that I’m fit, he’s very supportive and not jealous at all. He has nothing to worry about though because guys who only see me NOW aren’t worth my time.

honey April 19, 2012 - 1:21 PM

Soooo. I have something to add/expound upon. In Crunktastic’s blog, she mentions that she is BROWN-SKINNED and big. She definitely mentions color in her article. As a medium-big light-skinned woman, my experience has been somewhat different. Men – and women – I am bisexual, and can I just say that, surprisingly to most women, WOMEN are far more BODY-CRITICAL than men are – respond not just to the roundness of my body, but to my light skin, “pretty face”, and “good hair.” I think colorism is relevant to this discussion on what is considered to be attractive in Black America. As disgusted as I am by the fact that potential mates are attracted to the fact that I’m the closest thing to white that they can get without going Caucasian, it’s a fact of my life that I get positive attention for these attributes. My curves are not met with the same disgust because I have other things that supposedly make up for them. And I get GOOD LOOKING, IN SHAPE MATES AND SEXUAL PARTNERS. I know, I know, it’s really disgusting. But like Crunktastic, my taste does not tend toward out of shape people. My dating history is full of military, firefighters, personal trainers, sports enthusiasts, etc. Very attractive, fit BLACK people. I am interested in continuing this conversation with the inclusion of the light-skinned “advantage” with regard to dating while Big, Black and Feminist. Crunktastic?

Q April 19, 2012 - 1:34 PM

Hello! Great post. I was always a big woman. After graduating high school the fall of 2004, i was 315 lbs. I would constantly have headaches and chest pain. I went to the doctor about a year and a half ago and noticed I was down to 296 lbs. I had no idea when and how I lost 19 lbs, but just seeing that I COULD lose weight (by this time I just convinced myself i was big boned, and was just meant to be a big woman). I started by dieting and walking on my lunches at work. The weight started coming off. 26 lbs, then another 36, now im down 104 lbs. I am currently in a size 11, and I feel great. It is sad that men who never looked at me then, most definitely want me now. I wouldn’t dare! Why would I let you have me at my best when you couldnt even look at me before. I am still very much in denile about my weight lost I will get looks, and approach by men and think its a joke. In my mind Im thinking, “am i really that attractive now?, he must be looking at someone behind me). In a nutshell it is very sad how people treat you when you are big and looking for love. If someone can judge you based on your weight, you don’t need them around.

T. Dixon April 19, 2012 - 1:36 PM

Thanks for sharing. We need to talk about this – often and honestly. I have body image issues from being to “bony” as a girl and now from being to big now. And I can honestly say that I only occasionally have an accurate or objective view of my body. It’s nice to have discussions other than “I’m too” or “not enough” – to get to what the actual experiences are and what they make us think and feel about ourselves and others.

This is my first time reading your blog and it’s wonderful!

Christina April 19, 2012 - 1:42 PM

This is so amazing and HONEST, fighting patriarchy yet wanting to be a part of it. I would love to see this from a lesbian/bi perspective.

TheBarberLady April 19, 2012 - 1:44 PM

I think weight is a hot button issue in general. I have also always been unhappy with my size and the comfort level others had when they would comment freely on my weight. I wasn’t accepted. When me and my girls hit the club, I got no love. I was basically a last resort for the men there and its kind if embarrassing when dudes get your attention, just so you can help them holla at your friend but the real problem for me was that NONE of the other women understood. Even to the point of belittling me for not being more grateful for “what I had”. Being black and southern, there is a very small window of physical acceptability. You can’t be too small or too big, but right there in the middle. Video chick size…booty model size. I was skinny…just damn bony…and tall. Graduating high school I was 99 lbs. I don’t think people know how often I heard “DAMN, You need to eat!!” “Are you sick?!”. Followed immediately by “you are lucky to be that size.” What the whaa??!!?? Guys didn’t talk to me. They would, however, discuss loudly how I had “no body, no butt, no boobs” to approving laughter and jeers. Btw, none of the girls was telling me how lucky I was at that time. I was so grateful for the emergence of Cross Colors apparel because the baggy clothes hid my lack of a womanly body and for some reason, society seems to have accepted that an insult about your body is not an insult if you can shop in the Juniors department. I spent most of the 90’s trying to get thick to no avail. I’m not trying to belittle what bigger women go through because it is real and it’s cold blooded but being singled out because your body doesn’t meet someone’s unrealistic expectations can be soul crushing.

T April 19, 2012 - 2:04 PM

Its not an easy thing to admit, but my efforts are, in part, for said ‘thin privilege’. My dating history is virtuously nonexistent, guys barely notice me and if being thinner changes that then I’m going to at least give it a try.

Trenia April 19, 2012 - 2:07 PM

I wish there was a way to speak to all of the big girls who are healthily and happily married, because they do exist. The article was fraught with so many real issues and challenges but the reality is there are lots of thin women who are single and don’t want to be, and losing weight is no guarantee of finding a mate. So while losing weight will most definitely enlarge your dating pool, will it matter if it takes 5 men or 50 to get to the right one?

I’ve been a big girl most of my life, with the exception of a 100lb weight loss, then regaining it all 3 years later. I could relate to some of the experiences of the writer, but for the most part I’ve had positive dating experiences. I really think a lot of it is a confidence issue and the ability to feel that you belong in the space that you occupy. And either they will love you or they won’t.

Jazzy April 19, 2012 - 2:20 PM

Thank you for posting this. This hits very close to home for me. It’s amazing how invisible you become in the eyes of the opposite sex once you put on weight. I’ve been a small woman, slightly overweight to now obese and the larger you become, the more invisible you become to men. At times it hurts because my weight does not tell if I am a good person, if I’m honest or hardworking and I believe every human has a desire to love and be loved.

anr April 19, 2012 - 2:33 PM

i am having the same reaction to this blog as i did to the original one and that is, tears welling up in my eyes. i have and continue to encounter this situation although i have moved to an area, atl, where being a thicker chick is more accepted. and to make matters worse, my bff and main hanging out partner is considered to be “perfect” in society’s eyes…light-skinned, petite, attractive. i can’t think of a time that we’ve been out that she HASN’T been approached. so i find myself feeling invisible, insecure, and questioning “what’s wrong with me?”

i have come to two realizations: 1. the pool of men that find her attractive is larger than the pool that find me attractive and, 2. we all have things that we need to work on. fortunately, most people’s are internal and unfortunately, one of mine is external for ALL to see.

i will accept responsibility for the choices that i’ve made or haven’t made when it comes to eating and exercise. i am now resolved and committed to do better NOT for a man to approach me, BUT for me to live a longer life! If and when God decides to send my helpmate, i know that he will love me for who i am regardless of size. Regardless of what my status is, i know that in the words of my boo, I LOVE ME SOME ME and that’s the MOST important love of all under God’s love.

anr April 19, 2012 - 2:35 PM

and that’s my boo, T.O. (forgot to credit the originator) 🙂

Allhoney April 19, 2012 - 2:42 PM

WOW!!! Thanks for eye opener! At least I’ll get laid and get breakfast in the morning?

Ricky April 19, 2012 - 2:45 PM

I.LOVE.THIS. BLOG! I am 261 pounds, I was once 150 pounds…There wasn’t a man that I was attracted to I couldn’t have…Now, men dont even look at me, open a door, nothing…My friends treat me differently AND my man who I have been with for 12 years doesn’t even try to please me anymore, I guess he thinks why should he cause don’t nobody else want me…I have lost 24 pounds so far, my goal is to be back between 150-160….At thirty, its about a lifestyle change and healthiness but promise you that I will remember all of my offenders…thanks for talking about this…

RayRay April 19, 2012 - 2:51 PM

You said it. I went down about 4 sizes a few years back, and although I’m still not some wispy waif (nor, frankly, do I care to be) the male attention I began to receive (and still do) was way different than it had been before. In point of fact, in some ways I wish for the fat days again… it’s a great repellent for some of that disgustingly inappropriate male attention that is sometimes inspired just by sporting a pair of tits and a “non-fat” body.

Tiffany April 19, 2012 - 3:06 PM

Co-sign all of this. This has been my exact experience. When freinds of mine ask me whyI don’t to sign up for online dating or putting myself out there, my first response (in my head) is “I’m fat, duh”. Because they’re my freinds I know theyd be like “you’re beautiful” blah blah blah, but I’ve been in this body my whole life and I know most men are not checking for the fat girl. Now that I’m losing weight it makes me leery of ALL men.

Mark April 19, 2012 - 3:26 PM

Oh man. I just find the whole slant of this article to be misguided. I understand the policing of desire inasmuch as it related to historical oppression around race, ethnicity, and culture — I’m somewhat on the fence about policing desire as it relates to gender performance.

But this? It’s an expression of patriarchy for a heterosexual man to have a preference about the type of woman he’s interested in? Or for a heterosexual woman to want to meet a man at his preference? That doesn’t make any sense to me. This isn’t a historical manifestation of patriarchy, after all: in medieval Europe and still in some non-Western cultures, a fat woman is seen as healthy, prosperous and fecund — therefore, desirable. It’s a modern preference shaped by American concepts of attractiveness rooted in fitness, measurable health indicators and, yes, lifestyle.

Why, exactly, would a man who spends significant time in the gym want a woman who doesn’t share his lifestyle? That’s counterintuitive.

What’s most telling to me in this article, though, is the invisibility of fat men. You don’t explicitly say what these anecdotal men in the article look like, except for the skinny man with a skinny woman in the subway. Do you want a fat man or a fit man? If the latter, why do you get to exercise a preference about the type of man you want, but not vice versa?

Jeff April 19, 2012 - 3:32 PM

The article makes many important points and observations but misses a very important issue; one that I find easiest to explain with an example.

A friend completed his masters in chemical engineering. I asked him what the most difficult part of it was. He said it was that he constantly had to remind himself that he WANTED to do it because he wanted to DESPITE the fact that his very overbearing parents WANTED him to get the degree because it would reflect well on them. They didn’t care about his happiness, they wanted to be able to brag to their friends.

That was 20 years ago and he has enjoyed a very fulfilling and satisfying career that almost didn’t start because the desire to rebel against overbearing pressure almost got in his way of doing what was best for him.

Resisting “unloving” pressure to do something is a sign of self respect. Doing something for your own healthy reasons despite unhealthy pressure to do it takes a lot of fortitude and extra ordinary self respect.

I am both sad and angry that woman in our society are put in such a horrible position.

Annette April 19, 2012 - 4:08 PM

I say do it for yourself. Be honest about how you feel about yourself. It is all about you, the attention and whether you get guys interested is the icing. Being smaller doesn’t make sure you get the right type of partner. There are still other emotional issues that she needs to deal with.

Losing weight will give you choices that is true yet you still have to deal with the emotional issues and habits that got you there. My mother always harped on the vanity of it and to be stubborn and rebel I didn’t listen.

Whenever I approached it from a health aspect didn’t pressure myself to lose so many pounds a week it worked. I just eat balanced meals with a lot of fiber, veges, protein, fruit. But worked on the things that triggered me, trigger myself to help clear away emotional issues that I have hung on for too long. It always surprised me how the men I worked with all of a sudden decided I was worth a holla.

That irritated me cause now he is interested. Yet I was the same person he used to talk to. I was so angry I shut him down.

I say do it, having a healthy body, and an even healthier lifestyle is the best. But do it for you, it is always about you. Always change it up. There have so many specials. I want to try a boot camp workout, Zumba and Pilates to keep it interesting. Just start to move take a good multivitamin..nothing wrong with caring about yourself.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 19, 2012 - 4:21 PM

It’s not “slant” as much as it is a “different perspective.” What looks like a tan to you could look like a sunburn to me.

Considering the fact that there is so much pressure on women to look like a specific manufactured ideal that is intentionally difficult to recreate (without purchasing someone’s products), and considering that men have historically tended to take their cue from this pressure in regards to what their “ideal” woman does and/or should look like, it THEN becomes an expression of patriarchy to feel like your dating options are limited largely in part because of the way this all plays out, with women’s bodies being up for discussion/dissection. Size performance is directly related to “the male gaze.”

Is it counterintuitive to be a gym rat who mates with someone who isn’t? Absolutely. If you’re not a person who has ever been a gym bunny or has ever dated one? You would never give that a second thought. That’s why this post also includes the phrase “The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight.”

Fat men aren’t invisible. Fat men are everywhere. Particularly on TV, y’know – the fat, bumbling man and the hot wife? So, let’s not act like fat men are cast off in the same way that many fat women are. Let’s be real.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 19, 2012 - 4:23 PM

With all due respect, there’s a reason I didn’t address “confidence” and “happy big girl relationships,” mama:

So posts like this make folks uncomfortable, often leading to three kinds of reactionary (and unhelpful) comments. The first will be from those folks who insist that I must really have low self-esteem about my weight and that it must be coming through to the dudes I’m meeting. Um, that would be a Negative. That ain’t it. Even though we all have insecurities, self-confidence is not my major struggle. The only way to live in my body, doing the work I do, is to be confident.

Others will come over and lecture about weight loss and health.

Before you do it, don’t.

I know that we have huge problems with obesity in Black communities. I have thought long and hard about my relationship to food (and exercise), and I have started to make some changes in order to remain healthy. I also have both short and long term goals for doing so. I made those choices for myself, not for a man. So please save the condescending lectures (and arm-chair therapy) for someone else. This big girl (and I suspect every other big girl with access to a TV) doesn’t need it.

And a third, fundamentally more well-meaning group, will come over an give anecdotes about all the thick chicks they know who have male partners. The number will usually total up to no more than 2 or 3 mind you. Those stories ring hollow, because they ultimately amount to a futile attempt to amass enough exceptions to disprove the rule. Moreover, perhaps folks aren’t considering that the partner-less fat girls simply remain invisible to you, and the thick girls with guys are visible, precisely because they are an anomaly.

That’s a part of the post that I didn’t quote.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 19, 2012 - 4:24 PM

I actually am sad to admit that I agree with this.

Jenn April 19, 2012 - 4:45 PM

I read and really enjoyed your post. It gave a very honest, open perspective about how bigger girls are viewed and treated, which is honestly quite sad. I appreciate you sharing, because many people are not comfortable with airing out their emotions which then leaves people not experienced in that particular issue in the dark about how to feel and in turn react. Having never been a “big girl” though, there are a couple of observations and questions that come to mind when I read this. One observation is that most big girls (that I know, at least) tend to be just as or even far more judgmental/harsh/rude towards other overweight people (men and women). Why is this? And how can anyone hope to be judged less harshly than they openly judge others? Two, a lot of my friends that a bigger girls are constantly bringing up the issue of their weight and their insecurities surrounding it, which puts the person listening (usually me) in an awkward, no-win position. They will shoot down an honest, good-hearted invitation towards any activity promoting better health and at the same time almost blame you for being thin and “not understanding”. If this is how they are treating men, honestly it’s no reason they’re getting overlooked. It may not be that the man is turned off by their physical appearance as much as he is the lack of confidence and self-hate they exude. I really, really do not mean to sound callous or to offend anyone, but speaking from a friend perspective, if I love you for you, regardless of your weight it’s rude and unfair for you to retort by putting your own insecurities and negativity off on me. As a woman, and I imagine if I were a man, I would not enjoy spending a great deal of time listening to the self hate or the fishing for compliments/reassurance that many bigger girls (again, I only speak of those that I know) engage in. It’s hard to ask others to accept you when you don’t accept yourself. You also mentioned that guys seek out “fit” women, because they want a partner that is not going to complain about their devotion to fitness, but rather be right there with them. Is this a negative? I think it’s reasonable for fit men to seek women out that are also fit (and vice versa), because it means they most likely will have a more compatible lifestyle. It may be out of practicality, rather than shallowness or prejudice.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 19, 2012 - 5:33 PM

I’ll leave your post to others to address, but in terms of my own words regarding men seeking out fit women, I said earlier in response to someone else, “Is it counterintuitive to be a gym rat who mates with someone who isn’t? Absolutely. If you’re not a person who has ever been a gym bunny or has ever dated one? You would never give that a second thought. That’s why this post also includes the phrase “The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight.””

Listen. I am a pretty fitness-minded person now. I spend an embarrassing amount of time in the gym, in my blog and in my CPT books. I couldn’t have a partner that complained about this. I understand. I “get it.”

I’d also be remiss in failing to acknowledge that the old me wouldn’t have understood why it mattered. We’re talking about “fat people,” but this is much more of an issue of “not understanding the commitment to fitness,” and that can be found in “fat fat” as well as “skinny fat” people. It IS out of practicality as opposed to shallowness. It’s also something you “learn about people AFTER you lose weight.”

Michelle April 19, 2012 - 7:29 PM

Hi Erika!

I read this and it definitely struck me. So many interesting perspectives in the comments.

In college, I reached a high of 406lbs. I dated.. a LOT. Got hit on.. a LOT. Had a lot of sex, great sex, with extremely attractive men. Sure, there were men who weren’t into big women, but I never seemed to have a problem having men in my life. In fact, when I got married, I was 375lbs. For whatever reason, I always seemed to attract men who liked not just bigger women, but all women.

Now, I’m 241lbs… and I don’t get nearly the same attention I did then. One theory is that men were turning to me as the fat girl last resort, or they felt I was desperate so I would do anything. I can’t say I was desperate or that I did/tolerated anything. I think that I was carefree as many women in their early 20s are. Reflecting on that time, though, makes me wonder if maybe that’s what THEY were on. Another theory is that, at 6’0 tall and 241 lbs, I look kinda “normal”, if that makes sense… or maybe there is an intimidation factor? Like, if men were confident approaching the morbidly obese fat chic, maybe they aren’t as confident approaching the more fit, beautiful amazon that I am? *shrug* I don’t know. I’m also 10 years older, so age might play a role.

There’s definitely the insecurity that comes with weight loss. I find myself often wondering about people and their intentions. Would this person have even acknowledged my presence 165lbs ago? I often say that fat people are so invisible in society, and people don’t get what I mean. We’re often not seen for who we are because we’re dismissed. People *do* treat me different now. People are nicer. They offer me more help with things, especially men. There is a “thin-privilege” that I’m starting to experience. It makes me reflect on how poorly I was treated before, just for being fat. Like you, I’m not a fat-hater and still align myself with women in the struggle. Hell, I’m still in it. But the things people say when they don’t know you used to be much bigger? Man….. smh

When I tell people I don’t get approached anymore, they don’t believe me. Street harassment aside, I really don’t. And.. I admit.. it is beginning to mess with me. I thought that with the weight loss, I’d get more attention. Now, I feel more invisible than I ever did. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s intimidation (friends say I actually look even taller now that I’ve lost the weight). Maybe it’s simple a product of me looking “average”. I don’t blame certain men for being attracted to me now who didnt know me back then. But the ones who knew me then, and trying to holla now? I don’t know man… I get preferences. But, just leave ME alone. It makes me feel like crap.

Just offering that other perspective.

Rich April 19, 2012 - 8:42 PM

In truth there are alot of guys out there that like bigger women, and it is not just a fetish because in truth you could make the arguement that wanting a fit women is also a fetish. I know that people will disagree but some of it does have to do with self confidence if you believe that guys will not pay attention to you, then they won’t part of the reason you get more attention from guys after you lost weight was because you had more confidence in yourself. In truth certain body types of guys get the same reaction, even some times from the same women that complain about how guys don’t like big girls. For instance how much attention do you think a guy that is 5’6 and overweight gets?

Keren April 19, 2012 - 8:43 PM

Absolutely NOTHING more needs to be said girl!!!! …except for oKAY?!!!!

frank April 19, 2012 - 8:57 PM

I known about this I’m slender and tall and whe onen I’m out with my guys they for the thin I’m been down that road. I have more fun with the biger ones that knows how to move shake it up and known I’m a gooding man but let’s keep it really all women have good sex and if your a real man you will known how to find it I do all the time no problem.

Angela April 19, 2012 - 9:27 PM

I’m going to try to keep this short. Why can’t a man have standards? If a guy wants a woman who can keep her appetite under control, he’s probably wanting to know what else is gonna be out of control? I know, everybody has issues but when a person just simply SHOWS their issues on the outside, you just know what to steer clear of. Everybody is entitled to their own standards. I mean, I don’t want an overweight man. That’s just MY STANDARD. Why should he want to be with you JUST because you exist? I just think to each his own..

Chae April 19, 2012 - 9:30 PM

I really appreciated reading this post. I have been thin for the majority of my life. My weight spiked in 2010 and I gained about 65 pds. As you can imagine, becoming a big girl launched me into a completely different world. The funny thing is I was self-conscious when I was thin, so the issue was all in my head. When you aren’t happy with yourself it is evident whether you are big, small or in between.

I went through a spell where I had severe insecurity, but luckily that is cured (Thanks be to God). Knowing that men have extreme size bias I am cautious in my relationships. Men with poor character pick on insecurity whether you are big or small. If you aren’t insecure you won’t allow the mistreatment to happen. I am still overweight, but I treat myself with love and respect. I will be back to normal one day, but this has taught me a great deal about love. Weight is conditional, but poor character isn’t. If you don’t want me now… please don’t look my way later. Men like what is appealing to the eye, but I want something that is appealing to my soul/spirit.

I agree with the man who commented on big men. I actually dated my first big guy a year or so ago and ironically it would have likely never dated him if I wasn’t big myself. I really enjoyed who he was, which showed me something that my skinny self would have overlooked. Maturity & character.

Lioness April 19, 2012 - 9:34 PM

This is very heartbreaking to read. As Black women the dating pool for us is very small to begin with. I have always wonder if my best friend resents me because she is the fat dark one while I’m the brown skin fit one. I’m not skinny just very athletic and tone. When we go out, I’m the one who gets approached. One time she met a guy and they seem really into each other so of course as her best friend she was excited for me to meet him. All 3 of us went out and when she went to the bathroom he turned to me and said “damn your fine, wish I had met you before her. ” Then he had the nerve to ask me for my number. When we got home I told her what he said and that was the end of that. She put on a brave face and said she didnt care but deep down Im sure she was devastated. There was another time she forced me to go speed dating with her and we found it hilarious that we both wrote down the names of the same 4 guys. The next day we checked out emails together to see if we got any suitors and 3 of the 4 guys we like chose me. No one chose here. I felt so uncomfortable because it was the elephant in the room. She was not chosen because she was fat. I really think it has affected our relationship because we dont hang out like we use to and if I ask her if we are ok she says yes just busy. I would hate to lose my best friend because of society’s obsession with shallowness

Stephanie April 19, 2012 - 9:34 PM

I’m so grateful to find this article…I’m in the process of losing weight now and I think about how I’m going to feel once I reach my goal…I feel like men are so evil, shallow, and inconsiderate now and I feel like once I lose weight I’m going to hold a grudge…I’m going to keep following these articles so I can get tips and encouragement….thanks!

Shy April 19, 2012 - 9:41 PM

Yes!! We are practically the same person, but different name. I am experiencing the same thing. Twenty-five and have never been in a relationship. While I would like to, I’m too wary to date. As stated in the post, I don’t want to be anybody’s fetish nor do I want to be perceived as, the woman that will allow anything. I know the perception of females and I think of that each time I am approached with a lame pick-up line; by men who clearly only want sex, masking it as genuine interest. I will be single before I allow such disrespect. Although, my esteem isn’t too high, it’s not low enough to permit disrespect, because I should be “appreciative” that I can get a man.

And even the regular “good” man, doesn’t want the big black woman. He may have values and stable employment, but he would rather have a relationship with a non-black woman (big or otherwise) than a “fat black woman” any day.

Chae April 19, 2012 - 9:42 PM

As a BG, I will give it to you …You are right. That is why I stopped talking about it to my skinny friends lol. If you have a friend who you want to support, consider motivational interviewing. This allows you to not try and be the solution, yet be a motivator and help a person come to their own solution which of course will be more actionable than your affirmations. In my experience, God’s love invites Self love and these were the game changers for me and really the most powerful. Even on days that I am down, I love myself enough to know I am worth it and remain optimistic about getting myself back to normal.

Charlese April 19, 2012 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for that example. I have never heard it put so plainly or succinctly until now.

I will think of this when I forget that I’m doing this to broaden my life and NOT simply to broaden my dating prospects.

Jame April 19, 2012 - 10:30 PM

This was a really great post. Because I feel the same way. I have never been small. And right now I am working on losing some weight. I have about 60 more pounds to go. And I’ll be honest, it is totally a vain goal, so I can it into more clothing options and have more dating options.

I wish I could say I was doing it for health. Because it isn’t really true. Before I embarked on my journey, I was already eating 80% clean. Just because I believed in it on principle. I didn’t exercise regularly since I didn’t prioritize it. But I wasn’t completely inactive, I walk 10ks, walk for errands. I am healthy — with very minor health issues (hypothyroid). I eat my veggies, I have normal blood pressure, low cholesterol, and low blood sugar. So nothing to worry about. I don’t have mobility issues. So I am losing weight to look better.

I started to realize, where I live, if you are bigger than maybe a 12, you pretty much don’t exist. Especially as you move up in class. I get attention sometimes. Usually from older people. Or you know the sketchy catcalls. And I realize losing weight will open up a lot more options for me. Sad but true. And right now I am down 30 pounds, and I notice a difference. We’ll see what happens when I get to my goal. But frankly, it was either lose weight or move to another part of the country. I chose the first option.

janelle April 19, 2012 - 11:56 PM

The point of view is from a used to be fat brown skinned woman . Not a used to be fat man. I’m sure if u insert male the experience would be similar in this fat hating society. One exception to the rule :rich fat men. Forget the criticism, what this article reads is real straight truth and fact. It is more fat or used to be’s experience than not. Well said and awesome perspective. Im in awe at reading my own tesimony. Dont tell my boyfriend this, but i wish i was skinny because im tired of broke men. Im sure most of u understand me when i say this.

BrainyBabe April 20, 2012 - 12:42 AM

This post sooo GETS it. It completely validates the “truth” about being a big girl that I have long tried to explain to my closest friends and family who tell me I’m crazy and — yes — say things like “You’re beautiful blah blah blah.”

I am beautiful. Unfortunately, too much of the world in which I reside doesn’t see it that way. Their loss. And mine.

I have been heavy since I was a toddler. I suffered the slights, insults and cruelties from classmates and society in general. But I had my pride and I refused to lose weight to “please them.” My feminist attitude was definitely “eff ’em. if they don’t like me for me, i don’t need ’em.”

But I have matured and come to realize that I have been cutting off my nose to spite my face. I am the one taking meds for hypertension, suffering early onset arthritis in my knees due to my weight, and putting myself at great risk for [insert other disease here].

I need to lose 50 percent of my weight, so says my doctor. And I have had periods where I’ve gotten half way to my goal only to get terrified — in part from ALL the male attention coming my way — and regain it all back and then some. But with therapy to help me overcome my demons, I am on track once again and determined to go the distance with exercise twice a day on most days of the week and a diet low in fat, salt and simple carbs that I cook for myself for the most part.

I will not forget the frenemies and outright enemies I faced as a big girl, but this weight loss is about me and for me and will be doing what’s best for me.

Sadly, what families, especially with children, and communities need to know is that there is so NOT a need to call anyone fat. Trust. They already know. And making someone feel bad just drives a person to eat more to soothe the pain.

I am not naive enough to think that reaching a healthy weight for the first time in my life will be the panacea for all my ills, but I am completely curious to learn how PEOPLE engage with ME without this moat called fat surrounding me.

I have no doubt that I will learn a LOT more about THEM than they will about Me.

Courtney April 20, 2012 - 2:28 AM

“One observation is that most big girls (that I know, at least) tend to be just as or even far more judgmental/harsh/rude towards other overweight people (men and women). Why is this?”

You’re asking other people to explain your anecdotal observations? How is that possible? Personally, I can’t speak to sharing this observation but from a psychological perspective, it’s pretty common that we’ll hate in others what we most hate about ourselves. This plays out in a lot of different ways regarding several different issues.

“And how can anyone hope to be judged less harshly than they openly judge others?”

This reasoning doesn’t make any sense. You’re still talking about your limited experience with a limited number of overweight women whom you’ve concluded all judge other overweight women worse than the rest of society, yet somehow extrapolated that to every overweight woman everywhere that they can’t reasonably protest against having their entire value judged (and subsequently dismissed) because of how much gravity it takes to keep them to the ground. And furthermore, we all judge people to some extent or another – that is basic human nature. That still doesn’t negate the fact that we all deserve to have our worth based on the internal and not the external, and when people are judging these overly judgmental overweight women you know – there’s no way for them to reasonably know that said overweight women are also judgmental before they judge them. This is by and large being done without any sort of acquaintance whatsoever with the actual women.

The rest of your post I understand and agree with to some extent… but I think discussing weight with female friends is kind of a common topic REGARDLESS of what weight you’re at, simply due to the fact that we live in such a ridiculously patriarchal society where womens’ worth is so often determined by how ****able she is. Maybe you notice that your overweight friends talk about weight issues more – and maybe they do – but this really is a topic that many women tend to discuss with friends. I can understand that it would make you uncomfortable if you feel compelled to offer suggestions that are constantly rejected, but at some point you have to realize they will make changes when they want to. It seems like they may just be more negative people in general – I wouldn’t necessarily attribute that to their weight, but more their personalities. If that is bringing you down, then you need to limit contact and/or cut ties. Life is too short. And it’s not unreasonable for fit people to want relationships with like-minded partners but that’s not being argued against. Regardless of how fit I am, I cannot help but realize that the pressure is much heavier on women to look physically perfect and attractive than it is on men, and our appearance impacts us socially more than it does for men. If you are a straight woman, generally your male prospects will put more value on your appearance than you will put on theirs, and this patriarchal oppression affects all women, regardless of size. One can have “thin privilege” and you can have “beauty privilege” but you’re still hurt by it, because it’s conditional and it can be taken away or used against you if you age, lose your looks, etc. One of the main points of this post is that everyone deserves to have love, REGARDLESS of size.

LBrooke April 20, 2012 - 4:17 AM

I want to say this article hits home, but I say that with EVERY article! I’m on my journey.. still at the freakin’ beginning, but I too wonder and have a problem with this body hating attitude towards people, especially females. I decided that I didn’t really want to date until I got to a comfortable weight, because like she says in the article, I fear being with a fat-fetish kind of dude (lol).

However, I do feel ready for a boyfriend a lot of the time– but like most, I’m not finding one. I can always strike up good conversation with a cute guy in class, but then he goes and sits next to, or pays most attention to the skinny chick who wears ripped daisy dukes and a belly shirt to class. And I feel like, I don’t blame him, I’d pick her body too.

This has also left me kind of angry though. I’ve often thought about scenarios when I lose weight, and people being nice to me, that I’d put up a big Facebook status that’s like “If you didn’t like me before, don’t like me now” (someone needs attention). Because that’s how I feel. I’m who I am, but defined by my body *loath*.

When I was younger, and lost weight due to a battle with bulimia and anorexia, I saw this first hand. Guys touching me in places I was never touched, and frankly, was uncomfortable being touched. And I hate to say it, even family members paid more attention to me.. or played favorites with me when I was thin. Once I gained my weight back, plus another 50 lbs, I really saw the dynamic shift– it’s a lonely world for some of us. I just feel like I’ll be mad if it turns again, especially because I am older and wiser, and DEFINITELY a feminist– this time around, I definitely won’t be open to people whose demeanor changes towards me.

Nona April 20, 2012 - 6:53 AM

I nearly cried when I read this post because it makes me so sad to think that plus size women have to feel this way just to find love. I’m a size 18 and recently engaged to a white man, and he loves me as I am. He also knows I want to lose weight for my own personal reasons and he completely supports me in that. He’s not overweight nor a gym rat but we take walks and hike together and he doesn’t mind trying my new recipes.

What’s interesting about this conversation is that there seems to be these two opposing sides setup, the fat woman and the fit man, but there’s an entire world in between. The number of obese people in the United States is growing everyday and so is the wedding market, so there is no way it’s only the thin women who are getting married. In my experience, there is an entire group of men out there who like bigger women even if they don’t necessarily identify as such, but they like you when they see you. I have many much thinner friends who couldn’t find a decent man if he knocked down their door with roses. Maybe I’m just an optimist but love is quite possible, even for a fat woman.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 20, 2012 - 7:48 AM

Find where anyone said a man – or any person – can’t have standards, and maybe I’ll respond.


Find where I said someone should want to be with you just because you exist, because I’m pretty sure no one said that.

Annette April 20, 2012 - 8:29 AM

“Weight is conditional, but poor character isn’t. If you don’t want me now… please don’t look my way later. Men like what is appealing to the eye, but I want something
that is appealing to my soul/spirit.”

Exactly the way I feel no trust level there when all of a sudden you turn to me.

Couldn’t have said it better.

Annette April 20, 2012 - 8:35 AM

Love yourself enough to allow someone to truly love you!

Dominique April 20, 2012 - 10:35 AM

Oh girl, the first time I lost weight in college, I had this one guy in particular try to strike up a conversation with me and would try to give me hugs all the time. Dance with me at parties, everything. I was always pretty short with him because months earlier when I was bigger, we were working on something together and he barely wanted to tell me his name. Keep it mind, I was not trying to “holla” or anything. I just introduced myself and asked his name because we had to do something together. He clearly didn’t remember acting this way towards me but like Mike Jones, I don’t deal with “back thens”.

Weight and hair length are the two main reasons I prefer dating at specific points. Weight, when I’m bigger and hair when it’s shorter because (in my head) I feel that it helps weed out the superficial ones….at least a little bit.

Jenjersnap April 20, 2012 - 10:54 AM

Thanks for interjecting about the colorism point. One thought comes to mind… “You can get rid of the fat, but you can’t totally get rid of the ugly”

Nicole April 20, 2012 - 10:56 AM

I’m interested in thoughts on this aspect of the conversation as well. I didn’t even consider the aspect of skin color in this conversation and how that would impact experience. I’m all ears… errr, eyes on this one.

Mayotte C. April 20, 2012 - 11:50 AM

I find that comment offensive. I had been pleased with the heartfelt comments I read thus far until I read yours. Clearly you do not read Erika’s blog as being “fat” vs. being successful at Weight loss is so much broader than simple “appetite control”.

I always thought the “but/purpose” of dating was to find someone who accepts for who you are, rather than what you can provide them, whether it is a hot meal, financial security or bragging rights.

We’re all entitled to standards/preferences but seriously… I am doubtful that most (good) people are so in denial that they would choose to hide behind the guise of “standards” in order to uphold and remedy some sort of superficial agenda. And if in fact they are, may God help them.

honey April 20, 2012 - 2:23 PM

Jeff – That example was very explicative and has caused me to think of several things in a different way (as I am very rebellious). Thank you for adding that to the discussion.

Vee April 20, 2012 - 4:00 PM

Wow Barberlady talk about being on the other side of the fence….it’s like you can not win or lose.

Eloquence, Inc. April 20, 2012 - 8:48 PM

I don’t think it says anything about the men’s character…if she didn’t like the extra weight why the heck should they? Come on we want them to act like they don’t have eyes to see. Black men are the most forgiving bunch where weight is concerned and the most status conscious given the constant reminders of how low on the world’s totem pole they are (at least here in America)..and the appearance of whoever they commit to have a relationship/marriage with tends to reflect “the best they could get”…so if they don’t want us, might as well suck it up and hit the gym or whatever because no other group on earth is as lax in the body fat tolerance department as the black man, so don’t take it as a diss, take it as a wakeup call to get yourself more competitive on the dating market. And I say that as a very overweight person who still gets attention from them, but when I was in shape the quality and quantity bordered on insane, now it’s just…average.

Some of this is instinct and some of it is society…but considering all the health issues tied to being out of shape…it’s not like people have to say it for it to be true…yes it’s unhealthy (the pc reason to lose) and it’s unattractive in a general sense (the non-pc reason) even though some can still have a feminine shape with it and carry it well (but looking good fat doesn’t mean she shouldn’t still lose it). What you should do though, is remember the men who wouldn’t give you the time of day and when they try to talk and you say no and they ask why, remind them they dissed you when you were big… I notice though a lot of big women don’t give fat men the time of day…they more want a guy with a perfect body than the slim women! Let’s all keep it real the best looking man in the club deserves the best looking girl in the club…if that’s not you be real within yourself and get on his level physically or bat in your league. Same to all the average looking and average-pocket men who think the fact that they stayed out of jail and don’t live with their mother entitles them to the next Stacy Dash or Megan Fox…if looks didn’t matter to even us females, we would all go find the next lonely ugly or 500 pound dude that all the other females are ignoring in the club or elsewhere, and have a happy ending…but we all want an attractive man, by our standards…well, the men want the same. A black man told me despite how men have “sh*t” to talk about black women, all black women have to do is lose all the weight and they would have black men eating out the palm of their hands. That’s it. Harder than it sounds for me, but I congratulate you and everyone else who gets it done regardless of outside pressure. Men are visual creatures.

Monique April 20, 2012 - 9:59 PM

Reading this brings back a lot of memories….it seems that, in my experience, men have been more truthful with why they dated me when I was larger versus when I was smaller. Granted, I was told that I was considered as more likely to do whatever I to, i.e. sexually, in order to get some attention–but it was the truth. I dealt with more lies from men when I was thinner. Part of the reason that I gained weight back was the invisibility that I get from being overweight…less drama to deal with, I guess. And now that I am walking with a cane due to an accident, I have been rendered even more invisible. I am now working on losing weight solely for health reasons now, since the only person that I have to–and can–please is myself. Part of me wants to have a relationship, but on the right terms and for the right reasons–because of who I am on the inside.

steve April 21, 2012 - 6:22 AM

“The idea that we’re only attractive within a range of sizes is absurd. And narrow.”

This would seem to imply that it is absurd to have standards of attractiveness at all. Why ought size not to be considered, if any physical traits are to be considered at all? Why is it *bad* that fat = ugly for many people?

Erika Nicole Kendall April 21, 2012 - 9:52 AM

“This would seem to imply that it is absurd to have standards of attractiveness at all.”

…except, it doesn’t. Stop reaching.

Critiquing personal preferences is nowhere near the same as critiquing societal preferences, though it is clear that society influences personal preferences.

Toni April 21, 2012 - 2:53 PM

Wow, this is exactly were I’m at. I just don’t have the courage to try and date right now. I’m usually the fat one in my group and yes, I usually get completely looked over when at a club or party. It’s soul crushing, for me anyway. But this idea that I must lose weight to find love is also soul crushing because I just don’t know if it will happen or if it’s true. I know plenty of beautiful women of average sizes that are single. Love shouldn’t be contingent of your size. I don’t know what to do. losing weight means a complete change in the way I eat and my overall lifestyle. That a hard ass thing to contemplate much less do.

Cristina April 22, 2012 - 8:36 PM

Here is my (somewhat abridged) story. Growing up….I was a chubby girl (since the age of 10). I attribute my being overweight to emotional eating. Emotional eating is what I chose to deal with a lot of my internal issues. I was molested. Not once, but on four different occasions and food is what I used to deal with my feelings. I figured as I continue to eat and pack on the pounds the more invisible I became and it worked. I didn’t mind. It was my protective cloak. My armor if you will. I believed that I was the one in control….that I was going to be the one in control from hereonout….by “controlling” both the male and female attention or lack thereof that would come my way.

At 22 I reached my heaviest at 270lbs, realizing that I was holding myself hostage, I made a decision to start tackling my demons one by one. I had to decide which reasons I loathed more, was it the unwanted attention, the invisibility factor (the times I actually wanted to be visible) or was it the self sabotage/the missed opportunities and declining health? As much as I may have been in denial about this, I realized how I viewed myself and how I chose to deal with my feelings, as good as I was at compartmentalizing, my skewed/jaded outlook spilled over in all aspects of my life in how I related to men and “being visible” with regard to the attention I received. It was evident in my career, romantic and social lives. I realized what I thought I wanted, what I believed to be in my best interest, well, was no longer and a change needed to be made.

So I started my journey, It wasn’t until I lost 80 pounds did I see and fully experience how different things were on the lighter/thinner side. At 190, 5″9 and a size 10 (medium brown complected and rocking the bald look). I was getting more attention than I had ever had. I mean, white men, asian men, hispanic men, Indian men, Arab men (this somewhat surprised me), black men, AND women. I was getting approached and hit on by wide variety, from different ethnic backgrounds and sexes. The peak in my self confidence and my self esteem was short lived (seeking/needing validation from others, makes it temporary). I mean men were falling over themselves to open the door for me, I was getting discounts/freebies, VIP access, favors. If there was a man interviewing me for a job opening, I was getting the job (and that was every interview I had). I definitely was not getting this preferential treatment 80lbs heavier. As shallow as this sounds, not only had my dating pool expanded so did my career opportunities, because of how I looked. Women who knew me pre-weightloss either fell in one of the two categories…trying to befriend me or viewing me as straight up competition. I used the attention from both men and women, the favors, the discounts, the freebies, the opportunities as a way to validate (stamp) my value on the attractive/beauty scale. My confidence which was at an all time peak begin to decline, I was constantly worrying/concerned about the “new friends” I had acquired and was second guessing their motives, their agenda for wanting to be my friend or getting to know me better just because of my outer appearance. This was something I wrestled with constantly. The men who saw me as the funny fat chick, or the cool home girl, now were giving me “the look,” whereas before, I would be lucky to get any sort of acknowledgment. You know that look all men get when they are about to approach you. THAT LOOK.

When I was thinner, I would hear “I just can’t be friends with fat people, I just don’t get down like that. I roll with a certain group of girls,” and “I just don’t hang with ugly people.” What is sad, is a lot of people have that same type of mentality, the only difference is some choose to be more vocal than others.

Currently, I am back on my weightloss journey and in midst of getting my body right, I am working on getting my mind right (thru therapy). Losing weight is scary for a multitude of reasons. It is a sad realization that people can be extremely superficial and shallow. Being on both sides of the fence, I am a lot more cautious on who I choose to get to know and the lucky few I will allow to get to know me better. Great Post!

Side Note: When it comes to dating nothing is wrong with preferences. Shoot, we all have preferences. I am just left scratching my head when I hear an overweight/fat dude (270lbs+) saying he won’t date big girls/fat girls (bigger than a sz 14) if they have a gut? True story.

Spiderlgs April 22, 2012 - 9:37 PM

These comments are difficult to read, but have been very enlightening. I’ve never been overweight, and of the people I know who are overweight, even those who have accepted their size, aren’t overjoyed with it and most attempt to lose it. I think it’s interesting perspective, and something that I needed to hear so that I can be more compassionate and more understanding, and more everything. Just in understanding the hurt and rejection that is felt.. regardless of any valid or invalid reason..

I dated an overweight woman for over 2 years, and that was a struggle for many reasons… and I loved who she was, but besides our lifestyles being incompatible, I struggled to find her physically attractive, and that kind of intimacy is important in a relationship. I don’t know if it’s society that narrowed my ideas of what’s attractive. I wish I was one of those people who found everyone attractive, but I don’t. I’ve tried to expand my horizons.. and have always felt it unfair for me to experimenting with them when I wasn’t really all the way there. I was with another woman who gained weight while we were together, and that created other issues because she brought in food into the house that triggered me.. and I felt like she wasn’t supporting my life and my goals.. and the way she felt about worse about herself, without doing anything about it, made it difficult to support her.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a jerk because I would never be rude to someone who was not physically my type for any reason.. that’s just a hot mess, as humans we have to treat each other well. I just thought I could throw in my experience from another perspective.

I think from my POV, I also worry about health. I work out because I dont want to have a heart attack, diabetes or stroke, like many many of my family members.And as a control freak, I work out to keep all of that under control. AS i’ve been thinking about this for the past few days.. I think one prejudice I might have is that someone obese doesn’t have that under control. And I realize that’s unfair, and I realize that i have my own shiznit, you just can’t “see” it.

Tons to consider. Thank you.

Mike D April 22, 2012 - 10:19 PM

I see nothing in this article about being a fat man and women finding you unattractive. Of course that must still be a product of this ‘patriarchal fat-hating society’. I’ve got to say that truly I feel bad for you. You will most likely end up alone – of course you’ll find some slight comfort in imagining yourself as some kind of martyr fighting against patriarchy and societal constructs or somesuch. When really the truth is that you are just so self-obsessed that you cannot handle the fact that people will always judge others on their appearance. You’d rather believe the problem is with society than with yourself, and that we are just one women-led crusade away from utopia. The fact that your complaint is something as arbitrary as the perception of overweight people just makes it even more sad because it’s something readily corrected by excercise and dieting. Try being someone with a true deformity living in this world.

Your problems are so trivial but because of your victimization complex you make them out to be some kind of conditioned problem with men – a giant conspiracy led by a male-dominated society that mostly exists in your mind. One day you’ll realize your error, I only hope for your sake that it is sooner rather than later. I’m sure than in reality you are quite a nice, possibly even intelligent woman.

Feel free to delete this comment in what appears to be your personal echo-chamber for not fitting in with your worldview.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 22, 2012 - 10:50 PM

A few things:

1) I’m always amazed by people who say unbelievably rude things, then end their comment with “feel free to delete… [insert foolishness that implies you only approve comments that agree with you]” – “possibly intelligent?” Whether you think someone else is nice or intelligent has nothing to do with the fact that you entered MY house to discuss a topic *I* laid on the table and if you cannot show respect then you SHOULD expect to be deleted. Don’t “dare” me, because I can delete and probably will continue to do so and will think nothing of it.

2) I don’t know why, in discussing being overweight women and dating, “fat men” and their feelings have to be considered. I’m wondering what the hell television shows you people are watching. King of Queens. According To Jim. The Simpsons. Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. Family Guy. Family Matters. George Lopez. Every time one of you wants to remind me that “fat men need to be considered here,” I feel like it’s my duty to remind you that THE MEDIA ALREADY HAS YOU COVERED. You’re not only dating, but you’ve got hot wives with giant racks and great figures POST-kids!

I’m not going to re-mow a freshly-manicured lawn. Sorry. I, quite frankly, would rather talk about this and how it affects overweight women. That is today’s perspective.

3) I’m not sure any person here needs you to “feel sorry for” them. I certainly don’t. I don’t see any problem with being “self obsessed,” especially when it sure as hell beats being an Internet troll.

4) You insist on reminding me that “my problems are trivial” but you want fat men to be considered here… why should it matter who I consider if the topic is so petty? Pick a side – either its worthy of exploration and inclusion, or not.

5) I’ve been at this for far too long, son. My only error is giving this the five minutes it took to respond to it. Especially when you use words like “dieting.” ROFL

How’s that for an echo chamber? *wink*

Oh, and as for “Try being a person with a “true deformity.” Repeat after me: this is not the Oppression Olympics. That is the epitome of petty.

Bella Figura April 23, 2012 - 12:24 AM

Erika, I’m going to clarify things for you.

Would you date a midget? A homeless man? A high school dropout? A man missing all his teeth?

If you said no to any of these, then maybe you can understand why men with options avoid fat women. You have your mate preferences, men have theirs. Those unattractive men I described are simply the male analogue to fat women. You can vent all you like about it, but that’s the reality of male desire and it ain’t changing any time soon.

What seems to really bother you is actually that the MAN is doing the choosing, and not YOU. How dare these men snub you, how dare these people pass on your afro, when that should be your prerogative, you seem to be saying. Honey, you’re not the only one with free will.

Gegee April 23, 2012 - 6:31 AM

I agree with Q. If you couldn’t look at appreciate me nor find the time to speak to me while I was big then when I’m smaller please keep it moving. I’m at my heaviest now 230lbs. I’ve gone from being the attractive one to being the overweight one.

I put on the weight to protect myself from men after being hurt by them. Now that I want to lose the weight it’s hard because I tend to self sabotage. Therapy has helped but I’m not about to lose weight and get with someone who is only interested in my size.

There is so much more to me then my weight. Yes for health reason we should all be active and conscience what we eat, however no one needs to be made to feel less than due to their size.

Some men are very shallow.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 23, 2012 - 7:17 AM

To clarify something for me, you’d have to have a better understanding of what I’m talking about here. You don’t.

I’ve said at least three times in these comments, this isn’t a slam at “having preferences.” I didn’t even say whether or not I agreed with the original blogger’s decision to do what she’s doing for the reasons she’s doing it.

This isn’t about “the MAN is the one doing the choosing.” My post is heteronormative because I am heterosexual. There are women in these comments who’ve said they experience the same issues in lesbian relationships. I’m not “bothered” by men passing on me. Men pass on me for tons of reasons (another commenter mentioned colorism, that’s a huge reason), and that’s okay. The point of bringing that up is that preferences exist in a multitude of combinations in different regions, and they all affect who approaches us on that level and who doesn’t. What’s acceptable in one place isn’t acceptable in others. The weight that might be “acceptable” in one part of the South CERTAINLY wouldn’t be “acceptable” in a place like Miami.

This isn’t even entirely about dating. What if I brought up the salary gap in white collar companies between the thin and the not-thin? What if Crunk was saying that she believed her income was being adversely affected by her weight, so she was going to lose? We’d all be like “Hey, do what you’ve got to do to get that money, but damn if it doesn’t suck that this is the reason why you have to do it.” THEN, this blog post would be all about the things you learn about how people’s perceptions of the overweight affect the salary they offer them, or whether or not they’re offered a salary at all…and if you DO lose weight and find out just how much money you were missing out on, you might be so crushed that you decide to work someplace else, instead.

This isn’t a man-hating diatribe. This is “Hey girl, hey…this is how it is and you might not’ve known that before, but understand that your weight may matter far more to others than it does for you… and, even if you DO change it, it might not yield the desired results.”

Hope I’ve clarified a few things for you.

vee April 23, 2012 - 8:44 AM

Erika I agree with your last post.

I never got any indication that this was a man-hating post/thread.

I so agree with your last statement:

This isn’t a man-hating diatribe. This is “Hey girl, hey…this is how it is and you might not’ve known that before, but understand that your weight may matter far more to others than it does for you… and, even if you DO change it, it might not yield the desired results.”

Excerpted from “Dating While Fat And Feminist,” And The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Cristina April 23, 2012 - 10:09 AM

Just to piggy back on what Erika said with regards to preferential treatment when it comes to career opportunites.

“This isn’t even entirely about dating. What if I brought up the salary gap in white collar companies between the thin and the not-thin? What if Crunk was saying that she believed her income was being adversely affected by her weight, so she was going to lose? We’d all be like “Hey, do what you’ve got to do to get that money, but damn if it doesn’t suck that this is the reason why you have to do it.” THEN, this blog post would be all about the things you learn about how people’s perceptions of the overweight affect the salary they offer them, or whether or not they’re offered a salary at all…and if you DO lose weight and find out just how much money you were missing out on, you might be so crushed that you decide to work someplace else, instead. ”

She realy did hit the nail on the head. I have experienced this first hand and witnessed it second hand. For those individuals, who do not feel weight and perceived attractiveness doesn’t play a role in salary, promotions, or even getting a job offer are sadly mistaken and strongly in denial.

Case and Point: I have a girlfriend who works for an engineering firm. She is a Marketing Manager and countless of times, the Vice President and President of the company, has hinted they only seriously consider “attractive” candidates to come work for them. She has said herself, everyone who works with her looks like they stepped out of a GQ magazine and this is at an engineering firm. I had to see it for myself in order to believe her and let’s just say, she painted a very accurate picture. I didn’t see one person who would be considered overweight nor less than average.

Second example, I worked in management with my previous employer, I lost count how many times I overheard colleagues of mine (on the management team mind you), mention how attractive a candidate was and how they planned on hiring her to benefit from some extra eye candy in the office. It does happen folks and these aren’t companies/positions where a certain look/level of attractiveness is a requirement to get the job done, it boils down to preferential treatment….based on looks. Some make the cut (the aesthetically pleasing) and some just don’t (the overweight and the less than average) and it just so happens, the decision makers (hiring managers) just so happens to be the judges. Sad but true. I don’t believe this happens everytime nor everywhere, but I believe many would be surprise by how often it actually does happen.

CJ April 23, 2012 - 1:17 PM

“I feel like it’s my duty to remind you that THE MEDIA ALREADY HAS YOU COVERED. You’re not only dating, but you’ve got hot wives with giant racks and great figures POST-kids!”

That’s ridiculous. As an fat Black male, I can tell you I am not in demand. And while TV may portray fat white men with hot wives, walking through any Walmart will show you that reality stops outside Hollywood.

Using TV as what’s acceptable in the real world doesn’t work.

Other than that, good article.

Drea April 23, 2012 - 1:19 PM

I agree with you 100% on everything you stated in your original post….my only gripe is with the part of the post that wasn’t published…in particular the last paragraph that states that the total number of big girls with partners could only total up to 2 or 3. I think the assumption that the total number could only total up to 2 or 3 sexual partners is highly presumptive and inaccurate. As a big girl who has been in a committed relationship for over 6 years and has had a significant number more than 2 or 3 sexual partners I believe confidence and a great personality are just as important as physical appearance. This is in no way disputing the prevalence of fat discrimination…it is all too real in the dating world, as well as in healthcare and career settings….i can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ” Dre A’s pretty as hell and mad cool, I just wish she was in better shape”…but for every one of those, there were 5 waiting in line to holla at me. Just saying….you can be big ( I’ve been in the 230-240 range for a good 10 years now) and have to beat them off with a stock. Love this blog….down 20.lbs because of you and haven’t had red meat soda or anything processed in months…yay clean eating!

Gloria April 23, 2012 - 1:25 PM

In my life I’ve had a serious crush on two fat guys, and the fun thing is that in both cases I was quite the slender one in comparison.

In both cases, my friends asked me what I saw in them, and I would tell them that I found that they had a nice personality and a charming smile… Still, never got a chance with any of them: apparently I wasn’t the “queen of the prom” slender type they were after.

Of course they have the right to have a “type” of woman, and if I didn’t fit it, well, there isn’t much to do… But then, talk about standards

Erika Nicole Kendall April 23, 2012 - 1:39 PM

Not entirely.

1) TV CAN be used as a gauge of what the real world finds acceptable: if society finds a show or its topic unacceptable, the show gets cancelled. Fresh Prince of Bel Air was a HUGE show for a long time, and I’m pretty sure that I could argue that the lack of shows like it has a lot to do with the lack of Black shows (especially ones that have to do with families) on TV period, than it has to do with anything else. You couldn’t tell me that Fresh Prince would’ve been just as popular if it was Aunt Viv who was the heavy-set one. (Edit: Family Matters, Meet The Browns, Still Standing…?)

2) Walmart isn’t, for a number of reasons, an accurate portrayal of all “overweight white men.” It’s actually interesting that you’d use that as your sample. It’s similar to saying “look in the projects!” to describe Blacks. I’d sooner use a mall or a restaurant as an example, both of which I’ve worked at in my day.

3) Is it about being “in demand” or is it about receiving repeated messages that who you are in the body you’re in is wholly unacceptable and you must change or be considered forevermore unworthy of anything? Are articles being written about Black men and their weight, their inability to mate, their everything? Have Black men ever been the virtual Hottentot Venus that Black women are today? They’re not.

I’m not interested in playing the Oppression Olympics, so please don’t take my comments as saying “what you deal with is nothing compared to us!” But there are plenty of discussions and images of overweight men in the media. This simply isn’t one of them, and it doesn’t need to be. Y’all will do just fine without it.

Drea April 23, 2012 - 5:23 PM

I may have misunderstood you…perhaps you were stating that if we count the number of thick girls we know with partners that number would equal no more than 2 or 3….still presumptive in my opinion…I think its very possible to have a healthy fruitful dating life as a big girl…but if I misunderstood you I apologize and digress.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 24, 2012 - 4:31 PM

I just re-read this and felt the need to say…no, it is not “disgusting” that you have/have had in-shape partners. I, even at my heaviest – right after my pregnancy – was in a long-term relationship with a man who was Military-style fit. As in, wake up, run 6 miles before breakfast type fit. I also was long-term with a man who was well into the 400lb range at 6’5″, but he was brilliant, civic-minded, clever, great to my daughter and made me feel like I floated on air.

Even though there are people to whom body-size matters a great deal, there are many who find other traits more valuable. There’s nothing “disgusting” about that, IMO.

Eloquence, Inc. April 24, 2012 - 4:54 PM

still going strong wow…i hope the fat or overweight ladies showing off how much men want them remember men always want women, it’s what they want you FOR that counts. Everybody wanting sex with you is not something to measure by? Have you looked around at most of who black men marry the first time they get married? If you don’t fit their concept of wife material both inside AND OUTSIDE they not doing it… don’t believe me look at how many black women have weight problems and also have trouble getting married for the first time…when I was slim I had marriage proposals starting from before I was 18…I mean guy came home to ask my parents, proper way type of asking… the rest of men who just want to get it in mean nothing… I don’t recall the offers coming easy like that as an overweight female…fact. And I was always considered a very nice girl so it’s not personality either… Re-marriages (which is what I would be on now since I have married before) are a different matter cause generally those guys have aged themselves and are more forgiving…but they may also not be interested in round 2, or not be marriiage material why they are divorced in the first place.

aisha1908 April 24, 2012 - 5:30 PM

“commenting here is a privilege. Not a matter of ‘freedom of speech,’ but a matter of ‘approved at the discretion of the the owner.'” <————– I love this reminder!

I'd like to explore ways that we as hetero women can encourage change in the way men isolate & cut large women off from consideration, or hypersexualize them. As a small-sized woman, men constantly think they can validate my size & body shape by sharing disparaging remarks of bigger women. After complaining that they're objectifying or being obscene, they either exit my life, or keep their opinions to themselves. Changing the way media either erases large women, or commits them to buffoonery isn't really something I know I can affect, but I'd love to entertain the possibility of changing what men & women in my circle think/believe about the desirability of fat women.

T-Love April 24, 2012 - 5:43 PM

I was always the biggest one in my crowd, but one of my best friends was the “skinny” one. One night she shared her pain with me about the very things you discuss with regards to people discussing her body without concern for her feelings. At the time, she was on track to be valedictorian, and was dating one of the cutest and smartest guys in our school, so I wasn’t really “hearing” what she was saying, but in later years I understood. Lately, I find myself falling back into that habit with a new friend, who has recently lost weight. Thank you for reminding me that this is not appropriate behavior.

T-Love April 24, 2012 - 5:51 PM

I am a latin social dancer who has stopped social dancing because no one will dance with me. Its like they think “you still haven’t lost this weight after all this time”? I, too, plan on remembering on the offenders. (sometimes I think its petty of me, but then I think, “you can sit there and talk to me about your problems for hours, but when the music comes on you run to someone else?” I’m not the only one being petty.)

honey April 24, 2012 - 8:14 PM

Thank you for the comment, Erika. What I was referring to as “disgusting” was the fact that they “overlooked” my physical shortcomings in favor of their internalized racism expressed as colorism. What your comment gets at is that it’s not always about color. And that makes me think that maybe they were – and are – into me for something besides color with me, too. So thanks for putting that into perspective. 🙂

honey April 24, 2012 - 8:27 PM

One more thing that I would like to add to this conversation, as I browse through the comments: Being fat is also a coping mechanism that many women use after suffering trauma. I was NOT, by any means, a fat child, adolescent, or young woman. I was very active and fit, if curvy. I did not gain the majority of my weight until after I was raped in my early twenties and suffered from PTSD. I was living in DC at the time, and men there are not shy about voicing their opinions about your body – often shouted from the open window of a car. Every one of these “compliments” felt like an attack to me. I just wanted to be invisible. I subsequently gained 65 pounds and began exploring my attraction to women, who seemed “safe” at the time. I have now swung back to bisexual and have lost much of the weight I gained back then, but I still cringe sometimes when men feel the need to comment on my breasts and butt when I’m just trying to get on the bus.

FJ April 25, 2012 - 1:47 AM

So…I was 375 when I got married and my husband was 6’4 225.

But ok….

Erika Nicole Kendall April 25, 2012 - 9:10 AM

“What I was referring to as “disgusting” was the fact that they “overlooked” my physical shortcomings in favor of their internalized racism expressed as colorism.”

Ohhhhh, I feel you. I’m also glad you said this:

“And that makes me think that maybe they were – and are – into me for something besides color with me, too.”

…because weight is – and should be – something able to be overlooked. It’s kind of creepy to think that people prioritize “skin color” that highly, but I’d never know. Hell, I tan. ROFL

Erika Nicole Kendall April 25, 2012 - 9:12 AM

And, ohhhh…we’ve covered that road againand againand againand againand again… and probably still will. It’s a very common thread, not just with sexual assault but harassment as well. 🙁

honey April 25, 2012 - 12:39 PM

Wow, Erika. Those blogs are *certainly* worth going back and reading. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting that out there in such a frank, matter-of-fact, this-is-the-truth manner. When I have mentioned this as a factor of my weight gain in the past, it is often treated as simply an excuse. In fact, it is a coping mechanism – seen as the survivor as a SURVIVAL mechanism – and it often takes therapy and/or other means of recovery and healing to get to the point where the survivor can “safely” lose weight again.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 25, 2012 - 1:30 PM

Some people need to believe – or perpetuate – that no one wants an overweight woman.

Not sure if it makes them feel better about themselves to actively perpetuate that or what… but it’s ironic that it’d make an appearance in the comments of this post in particular.

Kind of proves my original point… and is also reminiscent of “an oppressed people can be manipulated into being complicit in their own oppression.”

Erika Nicole Kendall April 25, 2012 - 1:32 PM

Just wanted you to know that, no, you’re not alone, and those conversations are being had elsewhere on this blog, too.

Kacee April 26, 2012 - 8:08 PM

I read all of the comments and I must say…some of them I can totally agree with and some I am not surprised about seeing. I did not grow up overweight, nor did I gain weight after having my son. It was when I started working in corporate America. LOL! I worked in sales, ate at all of the after work dinners, pot lucks, luncheons, etc. My waistline began to expand and bam…I was wearing plus size clothes.

This has been a struggle for me for 10 years. I am the girl who is overlooked in the club because I am the big one. I don’t dance out in the club anymore because I get tired of “go big girl” being chanted because I ACTUALLY have rhythm. SMH. It is funny to read this article because I always said when I lose weight, I don’t know how I would react to the attention; whether I would embrace it or would I be bitter. Is it fair to the man who didn’t know me when I was larger? No it isn’t. but, I am only being real. That is why I want to get counseling while losing weight because it isn’t just about the body image, it is a mental block that I have because of all of the criticism. Being just a pretty face has gotten so old. My family always says, “you are such a pretty girl, I don’t understand why you are not married.” I have had friends who attempted to “hook me up” with guys that they felt would be a great match. When the blind date comes and they see that I am not fit, the date either ends early, or I do not get a second date. It is a reality that occurs often. But the real reality is that men are visual and yes they have preferences…but it still hurts to be treated as if you are hideous because you are overweight.

Miss Maven May 6, 2012 - 6:17 AM

I have lost and gained 100 lbs in the course of 3 years and let me tell you, men DO treat you totally like night and day. Well first of all let me say it depends on who you are trying to attract, white or black men.

If you want a black guy, you are good at like 160

If you want a white guy, white guys consider 125 average, so anything over that is a divination from the norm in their eyes. So 140 is fat to them.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t help what I am attracted to, which is wm and because of that I have recieved hell for being overweight.

I am in the 220’s right now, and now matter how great of a person I am and patient, my 107 lbs also black friend has had 4 relationships in the past 3 years and I have played observer and had none.

This is not by choice, the only opportunity’s I have is one night stands, and she is constantly asked out to dinner by the one night stands asking me’s friend (because we hang out at the same place I know we attract different types of effort on the men’s parts)

Naffy May 10, 2012 - 7:15 PM

This was a balanced perspective from a male. I’m currently an overweight woman who is in the process of losing weight, and I can’t say I disagree with anything that you said. I have experienced some of the same types of brush offs that was written about in the original post, and it wasn’t a case of me trying to flirt it was just a plain lack of common courtesy from men who think that just because you say hello or ask a question of them, somehow you want to date them. That can really do a number on your faith in human decency, I tell ya lol. In any case, I can’t fault you or anyone about what they find physically attractive. At least you tried being open minded. I think that ultimately being with someone who is overweight and really not trying to change it, if health is very important to you, is just going to lead to conflict unfortunately.

Nitha May 10, 2012 - 11:40 PM

I enjoyed this post. I’m a big girl. Need to lose weight, definitely. Trying to lose weight, working on it. I’ve always wanted to be smaller for 3 reasons:

1. That’s the only way I will find someone
2. People will treat me better
3. Cuter clothes.

Sad to say, I still feel this way. I’m not the most active socialite, but I don’t go out because I’ve always been the big girl. It hurts to just be looked at as a NO!!! Or sometimes H*** No! So I love this article because it tells the absolute truth. No matter who criticizes or tries to help every person is different. If you have not walked a mile in my shoes, don’t try to disagree with me about my journey. The one conclusion I’ve come to is that my weight is baggage due to life events. I’m inspired from this article that I will and can lose it. When I do find Mr. Right it will be because of my shining personality, not my looks. My looks will be an addition the awesome womant that I am!

Ms.Dawn May 11, 2012 - 3:54 PM

I was once 5’5,165lbs. I now weigh 235lbs. and have pecan brown complexion…I wanted to gain weight because I wanted to be curvy like my auntie, whom everyone thought was the prettiest. What an adventure it has been, guys who I used to date have begun to ignore me or outright reject me. You might wonder why I would allow myself to go through such hardship, the truth is at my old weight I wasn’t very happy because I still had self esteem issues. Competition is fierce, when your in the dating world there are a lot of fakes and phonies you have to sift through. The whole process went from being fun and flirty to down right dirty, I always found myself disenfranchised with the process or who I ended up with so it finally hit one day…. maybe I need to focus more on me and making myself happy. So I took a hiatus from the dating world and haven’t looked back. I emerged myself in my other attributes and I have found more satisfaction in being 5’5, 235lbs. than 165lbs. like I said earlier those who I dated have treated me differently but I’m glad I can see them for who they are now, I ask myself “what if I had married this person?” I excercise, I have ” pretty good” eating habits,but most importantly I try not to stress. I still go on occasional dates but only when I THINK I need confirmation that I’m still “desirable”. Idk I don’t have the answers but I do what works for me. #lovingmeunconditionally.

Jlow June 21, 2012 - 2:19 PM

I have a question. This piece seems to be about how people judge others on the appearance, but the article in reference says, “The homeboy of one of my homegirls happened to be in the club. Now in many ways, he was my type. Mid-height, stocky, dark-skinned, bald-headed.”

Isn’t the woman doing the same thing the man is accused of. She is interested in a “type”, including “stocky”, but he can’t prefer petite women or non-fat women.

I would like to hear your comments on this.

Erika Nicole Kendall June 21, 2012 - 4:11 PM

It depends. Do you actively ignore or avoid speaking to people because they’re not your “type?” I mean, does “not being your type” automatically exclude people from the pleasure of your company in ANY capacity?

I think we need to be careful with what kind of behavior we “allow” just because people have preferences. I prefer tall, dark and handsome, but that doesn’t mean a fairer skinned, short man couldn’t even speak to me and receive a response. He wouldn’t be rendered invisible like she was in her story. That’s what matters, here.

Tiffani Washington June 23, 2012 - 2:39 PM

I co sign to this. I have always been the big girl in my group but im making changes to improve my health ive loss 80 pounds and im going to keep going until i reach my goal. Now im doing this for myself not so i can catch a man. I feel that God will bless me with a man who loves me for who i am not because of physical apperance. I will continue to love my life until that happens and if it dont happen then i will continue to live continue to love myself and love my two sons who love me regardless of how big or small i am !

F.A. Harper aka AirHarp June 23, 2012 - 3:50 PM

I was a guy. Got myself in shape and saw how people treated fat folks. Its like giving up drinking for a month and you realize how much people drink where ever they go.
Also, everyting you stated about how men change in how they relate to you since you lost weight can be said about women. So its a people thing.
I am a photographer and I hear women (not only models) talk about how they have a hard time trying to be sexy when a photographer is not appealing to them.
I say all that t say what? You’re asking. I don’t know. Maybe I just wanted you all to know that in my weight loss life I went through te same stuff s a man you all have gone through as women

shatani July 21, 2012 - 6:36 PM

Drea, I think you might still be misunderstanding. I think she was saying that when people come to talk about the happy big girls in relationships, they are usually only able to come up with 2-3 examples.

Vicki July 22, 2012 - 2:48 AM

Go Erica. I am so glad you addressed his comment, it was way out of line.

Vicki July 22, 2012 - 4:34 AM

I’m black and 270lbs. I prefer white or asian men as well. While it is true that the vast majority of white men prefer thin women, it is not always the case. My current boyfriend is white and gorgeous (to me anyway), he is a succesful aerospace engineer. He’s not particularly attracted to overweight women in general but he said that physically he’s mostly attracted to pretty faces. He always tells me I’m beautiful. I’ve met many white men who were attracted to me (although I wasn’t attracted to them) so they are out there, don’t give up.

Rooo July 22, 2012 - 1:40 PM

RayRay has said pretty much all of it so I don’t have to.

I told my mama that when you do and don’t have a man (or multiple men approaching you, for those ladies dating widely) in this society, it’s not that your problems go away – it’s just that you have a different set.

Rooo July 22, 2012 - 1:53 PM

” Why, exactly, would a man who spends significant time in the gym want a woman who doesn’t share his lifestyle? That’s counterintuitive.”

As a WOC who is in the Pilates studio 3x weekly and the gym the other 3x, I need to give this a side-eye. What I notice is that men of color in the gym will do the “piece of meat” eyeball on me, but can only be so bothered to speak to the women who are either white or a color other than Black.

Interestingly and ironically enough, by contrast, the majority of men who do make the effort to come and speak to me — either in the gym or out of it — are Mediterranean (northern Italian, Greek, French), or Caribbean of color (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Haitian) – but never, and I mean never (except for one lone “brother” in DC, and even then I had to open the conversation) African-American.

Food for thought.

And one more thing – as far as “What about the (fat) menz?”

a) Ericka already covered that in one of the very first comments .

b) It — whatever the “it” is — doesn’t always have to be about you. It really doesn’t.

Rooo July 22, 2012 - 2:07 PM

“As Black women the dating pool for us is very small to begin with. “

I … you know, it really doesn’t have to be.

Everyone has their preferences, but I really wish people would stop saying this like it’s some kind of truth set in stone.

There are men of color – of a *lot* of colors, to get into it without getting into it – all over the world, and I really wish [SOME] Black women would stop acting like the societally-influenced biases of [SOME] African-American men limit our choices.

Caressa August 19, 2012 - 6:21 AM

It is not unreasonable to uphold your standards of dating. After all I wouldn’t date a broke dude. Is that fair to all the good, intelligent guys out there who may be in between jobs, or looking for a good job but having trouble finding one? No. But those are my standards, and I have found those guys to be the exception, but the rule is that most guys who are broke, will always be broke, and that is not who I want. Obviously, not all women share this preference, but it’s mine, and I’m entitled to it. I’m sure there are a lot of nice guys with low wage jobs, but I’m not going to give my number to the guy in the drive-thru. So if a guy doesn’t want a “big girl”, I understand. That’s his preference, and he is entitled to it. If anyone had to chose between an attractive fit person, or an attractive overweight person, most people, including overweight people, would chose fit. (Think Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump St, based solely on looks alone, who is really gonna chose Jonah over Channing?) Crunk is just complaining about it because after continually getting passed over, it starts to get a little irritating, and you need to vent. But, that’s not the point. Male or female, you know if you need to lose weight. And you know that being overweight is one of the few things you can change, that limits your choices in the instant attraction based dating scene like clubs, bars, coffee shops, etc. So, I am by no means making excuses for overweight people not to exercise and eat healthy. But I think the main point of feminism, is the irritation with society consistently basing a woman’s worth on her appearance. It’s not just about weight but hair color, hair length, makeup, no makeup, nail polish, maincures, pedicures, handbags, etc. We get bombarded with advertisements telling us we’re not young enough, firm enough, tall enough, bright enough, dark enough, thin enough, thick enough, toned enough, whatever enough! No matter how close we may be to those standards. They have entire shows dedicated to nitpicking at our fashion choices, hair choices, shoe choice, makeup choices. They tell us to fit in, but stand out. To be seen, but not heard and we are sick of it. They don’t do men like that. Yes they do tell men to be fit, have 6 pack abs and big, strong, muscles, but they don’t get anywhere near the scrutiny that women face. So when we can’t get a date because of the way we look, it’s like another slap in the face telling us we are not “enough”. That is where the anger comes from. Should they lose weight? Yes, most overweight people, male or female, should. Everyone should eat healthy and exercise, no matter what size, but not because you want me to so I can meet your “standards”, but because “I” want to look in the mirror and like what “I” see, regardless of your idealistically unrealistic perceptions of “beauty”

WellDamn24 August 23, 2012 - 11:45 PM

OMG, I’m so glad that others are writing about how I feel. I also feel that when I lose the weight that I’ll definitely date interracially because Black men only want perfect Black women unless they themselves have some serious flaw (ex-convict, shiftless, multiple babies’ mothers, bad credit). But Black women, on the other hand, are always encouraged to take on men who are works in progress.

We live in this bizzaro world where Black men not having multiple kids, having decent jobs, and caring for themselves as adult should makes them “good”. While Black women who do the same are penalized and called “too independent”.

As much as I have enjoyed Black men, I do feel that I’m the full package whom some ignore because of my weight. Once I lose the weight I don’t know if they are my best options for reaping the benefits of my fitter body. I’m not sayng that I’ll be running to White men, only that I won’t give Black men first dibs.

Annette August 24, 2012 - 2:06 PM

Can we say Biggy Smalls, Vincent Herbert, Bruce “Automatic” Vanderveer, Rick Ross. There are also many others I haven’t included.

Maybe that is your calling to start a support group for Black men to give and get the support you need, for a more health and balanced life.

Alinda August 25, 2012 - 6:20 PM

I totally can relate to the original post. It is one of the reasons why to this day I don’t like going to clubs and am uncomfortable in “party” type scenes. Five years ago i dropped 90 lbs and saw the exact response from males who ignored me completely prior to and got some of the same comments and worse – “so you don’t like yo-yo with your weight do you? ” etc. Flash forward to now and currently am residing in a “southern state” and have had the reverse problem. The small town where I currently reside I am one of a very FEW women who are smaller than a size 20 and the males down here have a decided “preference” for big gurls…?? You get to a point where you basically have to say the hell with all that and do you but its choppy waters to have to navigate through and its good to see this actually being spoken about – wish conversations like this were commonplace back in the day…but better late than never?

Bettie August 25, 2012 - 6:33 PM

We can love a man big as a house or two houses but they want us women to always look 16 young ,thin and no wrinkles My Motto is don’t let your self esteem go down you can be beautiful & big. Only diet for your self and health reasons! I am of normal weight but I don’t chase I replace!!! 🙂

Lynn August 25, 2012 - 10:29 PM

I just wanted to add that I have been large for a long time. I remember first gaining weight mostly in high school but I think it had to do with and abuse issue that I had at home from my stepfather. Anywhoo, I have been on both sides of this issue where in one instance I was totally ignored by guys and then in the other instance seemed like I was the best thing going. I just always figured hey that was those guys loss because I AM FABULOUS!

My problem was my friends.

I was ALWAYS the the big one in a group of fine goodlooking ladies, and my friends (I guess I could call them that) had a problem if the fine good looking fellow talked to me. Forget that, some of them had a problem if ANY guy spoke to me and did not approach them first. I never understood that but after reading some of Honey’s comments I kinda understand a bit better that maybe it had to do with color and my face.

The main point I am getting to is that one particular friend of mine would bring up the fact that men don’t want anybody but fat bright skinned women. The first time she said it I kind of over looked it because I figured I was hearing things. When she repeated it on SEVERAL other occasions, I started thinking about this thing and realized that I was the only over weight bright skinned person that hung out in our group. This particular friend was dark skinned nice shaped and thin. Then I messed around and got married BEFORE any of them. That was the mind BLOWER for um!

As she continued to remind me that men only wanted to MARRY fat light skinned women, I continued to analyze this and I realized that SHE was very negative about herself and toward others and especially if they seemed to be in a BETTER situation than her. Which made me think about these other friends of mine who had problems with me THE BIG ONE being the one approached and now GETTING MARRIED. They seemed to wonder WHY these guys would be attracted to me and WHY I WAS THE FIRST to get married.

I began to realize that I needed a different set of friends. I had to change my environment. These people were not only negative towards themselves and others but they were obviously selfish if they couldn’t be happy for whomever found someone to be happy with. I understand jealousy but we all had been friends for YEARS.

What I did was got rid of the negativity and started to pursue a more positive set of friends and not only that but as I got more positive I started losing weight for my health. As I pursued a more positive role I started to see that being around ANY negativity can affect your personal outcome weight, job, spirituality etc…

Obesity brings on its own set problems, be it health, stigma and stereotypes from society and other crap from the past and even past relationships. The last thing you need is all this negativity clogging up your personal space. Make sure that while you are getting yourself on that right road of health and becoming a successful weight loss person that you release the EXCESS baggage that can attach itself to you and keep you from achieving your ultimate goal in life not just in relationships or even weight loss but your whole life because negativity can block everything. MAINLY NEGATIVE PEOPLE. The killer is heck YOU DON’T KNOW IT! Sometimes sabotage can be very subtle.

And as a side note, the friend that said guys only want fat bright skinned women, she is STILL single, negative and now kind of bitter. I think her words spoke her own destiny.

Chasing Joy August 27, 2012 - 5:04 PM

this is a really great post! I have always been the big girl in my group of friends. I am losing weight to be healthier and be happier in my apperance. Another big motivation is that I want to get married and have children. While on the one had I feel that any man should be happy to have me as I am an awesome person and very pretty even being overweight. On the other hand I have had the same experiences mentioned in this post. It is hard to be the only one having not met anyone while going out with friends. Or when guys only want to be your buddy. I recently had a conversation with a fine brother who at the end of the conversation turned down my offer to exchange good numbers only to find me later in the elevator where no one else could seet to ask if I still wanted to exchange numbers. I declined. It is very hard to reconsile the fact that I should be loved and accepted as I am but would have the opportunity to meet many more men if I were smaller.

Sheshe August 27, 2012 - 5:29 PM

This made me feel all kinds of emotions. On one hand there’s sadness at the plight of even finding a decent partner and on the other hand there’s anger that finding someone who you’re attracted to has to be so complex. I understand the desire to date someone that is socially acceptable in whatever manner and how that desire increases with social standing. However, I think people would be able to think for themselves.

Contrarily, even when people think for themselves or fight against patriarchy and the hegemony that rules our world; they succumb to some kind of ideology that cloisters them in a box. I feel feminist and yet, I don’t. I feel my fatness is a hinderance, and yet I don’t. I understand what the woman was talking about when she said she doesn’t want someone to be with her because they have a fat fetish, but then if someone is with another because they’re thin wouldn’t they have a thin fetish? Why is that not labeled as being aberrant? Why does thinness have to be the mode of attractiveness and beauty, when we know that not all thinness is healthy or good? And why does fatness have to be the antithesis to healthy and, especially, beautiful?

Shoot. I don’t think a person has to be thin to notice who is matched with whom. But, in the same way that I notice 2 thin people together, I notice mix-matches; someone I find attractive/beautiful with someone less attractive/beautiful; someone wealthy/smart/funny with someone less; someone more social with someone less; these are the things that make up a person. Not fatness and thinness.

Kim August 28, 2012 - 9:11 AM

Overall, great post, really interesting reading. But my question comes from the part about losing weight in order to get dates being anti-feminist. In a way, I can see the author’s point (changing yourself to appeal to male defined beauty norms). However, don’t men have the same problem? In most cases, wouldn’t an obese man be rejected by a “fit” woman? Don’t these men who go to the gym, not only to lose weight but also to get buff, do so mostly so that they too can conform to society’s ideals? And lastly, don’t men who do not conform, who don’t have muscular definition or who have “man boobs” or whatever else, aren’t these men criticized and ridiculed as well, often by women? I am just saying, as much as it may seem anti-feminist to try to conform to the beauty magazines, men are pressured to do the exact same thing.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 28, 2012 - 9:34 AM

This was brought up earlier in the comments, so I’ll paste part of my response here:

“I don’t know why, in discussing being overweight women and dating, “fat men” and their feelings have to be considered. I’m wondering what the hell television shows you people are watching. King of Queens. According To Jim. The Simpsons. Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. Family Guy. Family Matters. George Lopez. Every time one of you wants to remind me that “fat men need to be considered here,” I feel like it’s my duty to remind you that THE MEDIA ALREADY HAS YOU COVERED. You’re not only dating, but you’ve got hot wives with giant racks and great figures POST-kids!

I’m not going to re-mow a freshly-manicured lawn. Sorry. I, quite frankly, would rather talk about this and how it affects overweight women. That is today’s perspective.”

Also, I’d have to challenge the idea that men who “get buff” are “conforming to society’s ideals.” I’m not certain that the “ideal” for men is as perpetuated as the “ideal” for women. Outside of the fitness/diet industry, I’m not sure where the message to “get buff” would be coming from, to be honest.

Kim August 28, 2012 - 9:37 AM

I posted a comment here about how men have to conform to appearance ideals as well, and I see in this post you addressed this, so I wanted to respond. Yes, obese men are featured much more regularly in the media than obese women, but think about the roles these men play. Peter, from Family Guy, King of Queens, etc. – they are all bumbling oafs there for comic relief. I am not saying it is equally difficult for men to be obese as for women – society in general is probably harder on women. However, from a dating perspective (which was the perspective of this blog post), I still maintain that most slim to average women wouldn’t date an obese man, just like many slim to average men wouldn’t date obese women. This doesn’t mean that these women would be rude (I hope), or that they would ignore these men the way the author was ignored. That was definitely uncalled for and unacceptable. But, would they seriously consider an offer of a date with an obese man? Probably not. And so, men also need to conform to beauty standards and devote time to the gym in order to be fully accepted, just like women do. Which comes back to my original post, about how it doesn’t seem anti-feminist to lose weight to be considered more attractive, considering men need to do the same thing. Idk if others experiences are contradictory to mine – maybe they are – but from my experience not many real slim, attractive women go after obese men, regardless of what’s on TV.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 28, 2012 - 9:49 AM

“However, from a dating perspective (which was the perspective of this blog post), I still maintain that most slim to average women wouldn’t date an obese man, just like many slim to average men wouldn’t date obese women. This doesn’t mean that these women would be rude (I hope), or that they would ignore these men the way the author was ignored.”

Listen. A preference is a preference… and I’ve said that further in the comments. But you’re trying to bypass the important part of the original author’s anecdote – she wasn’t even worthy of being acknowledged? What kind of foolishness is that?

The standard for being considered “fat” as a man is FAR more lenient than the standard for a woman. It’s also not wielded as a sword against men the way it is for women, and even though it hurts, men are granted the space to “rise above” that kind of remark. Women are not. The comparison you’re trying to make isn’t contextually accurate or fair, here.

If you *really* want to get in the nitty gritty of it all, the reality is that in *this* society, “fat men” have an out: it’s called “money.”

Like I said to you in another comment, let us not forget that “patriarchy harms men, too.”

Kim August 28, 2012 - 10:06 AM

Hi again,

Thanks for taking the time to re-post, then. I realize the post isn’t intended to be about men’s issues, and I am not trying to make it be about that. I just thought that it was important whether or not losing weight to be considered attractive is indeed anti-feminist and thought perhaps it is not, considering I felt that men do the same thing. But I can see that you feel men don’t do the same thing, or at least not to the extent women do.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 28, 2012 - 10:59 AM

But, men don’t, in fact, do the same thing… especially when it’s not even remotely in the same context.

These things don’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not as easy as “but men lose weight to get a mate, too!” If that’s all you’re seeing, then I’d politely ask that you look deeper.

Lisbeth August 28, 2012 - 5:14 PM

I loved this article, because I went from being a “chubster” to being fit and muscular, and the part where you predict how a big-girl-gone-smaller’s perspective on men will change is totally correct: I was disgusted at how men who wouldn’t have looked at me twice before were all about it. I judged them all harshly but turning their standards back on them out of sheer spite for the years I spent hearing comments about my weight–I can’t say I was correct in doing so, but still. It happened. And much to my amazement, men who couldn’t keep up with me physically were suddenly trying to bribe me with wealth, wanting to “spoil” me. I think the Sugar Daddy phenomena is a little more common than women being able to buy hot, chiseled guys. Sheer opinion, of course.

As a feminist with a new body, I felt a little torn. Is the healthy figure I aspire to maintain even my own idea of healthy? Left to my own devices, would I really care if I had abs? Or is this still some residual echo of what men want, what I’m told I need to have to be what a man wants? Is the message I’m sending by staying in shape simply that I want a man, or that I want to be healthy?

I want to point something out here, and I am NOT saying this is true… I had a white man tell me that, as a bigger white girl, no one but black men would want me. We obviously know this isn’t true. But the white guy that said that to me HAD A BEER BELLY!!!

So I think there’s some credit to the statement that it’s more socially acceptable for men to be overweight (not necessarily morbidly obese) than for women to be heavy. I don’t think men and boys are raised with the same social judgement as girls are, to be… well perfect. And to know that the less perfect you feel, the more likely you are to engage in behaviors that make you unhealthier and bigger.

Anyways, loved the article, love the site. Thanks for writing about this.

Bret Linden September 5, 2012 - 8:09 PM

I enjoy your blog. I accidentally ran in to it during a google search about whether or not Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition is fake or not, and was interested enough to read further. As much as I enjoy what you blog, I’ve never been compelled enough to respond until now.

I am not black. I am not a woman. However, I am overweight, I have been for some time (not gonna place blame for that one). I was also single for a very long time, didn’t get married until I was 35.

All that said, I can relate to much of what was said in your post, and the post you quoted. I shared many similar experiences, and feelings (replacing “girl” with “boy”, and “black” with “white” of course.) It does become clear that weight is indeed a factor for a lot of people. There have been many times where a girl was almost in love with me based on internet and phone conversations, then when we meet in person she can’t seem to get away from me fast enough.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is…are we somehow victimized because we don’t fit the mass-media’s template of “ideal”? Perhaps. Perhaps that might be a good thing…it helps us weed out those who are so weak-minded that they subconsciously allow others to form their tastes and opinions for them.

I took a lot of abuse during my single years. I was treated horribly by many people in ways I didn’t deserve, much more often than I deserved it. Somehow, the fat blocks the personality from coming through. I thought I deserved better. Looking back, I still think I deserved better back then.

Of course it ain’t right. I’m not disputing that at all. But, as to the “why”…we can theorize, but the truth I have finally wrapped my head around is that we’ll never understand this for certain. None of us will ever know this for certain. I’ve accepted that. I’m not suggesting that one can ever make peace with such a situation…but accepting that you’ll never know the “why” for certain, does help partially.

Don’t get me wrong…if there is a God, and if there is a heaven, and if I get to talk to God when I die and ask him whatever I want to ask him…one of the very first questions is going to be why did I have to endure all the rejection and abuse I did for all those years when all I was trying to do is a good thing…to love and be loved.

Crystal September 9, 2012 - 2:30 PM

What’s so crazy about this article is just recently my Uncle said to my mom that she is a very smart girl and I am so proud of her but she has to work that weight so she can get a man….really??? My mom defended him to the core saying he didnt mean it to be mean but you said you were going to work on your weight….wth?! Anyways I’m getting over the comment (as you can see lol)…but I just dont understand what is the big deal. This article opened me up to some truths, about how people really feel about big girls….I can even see the difference from when I was a size 16 and now I’m a size 20. Ridiculous…..When I was a size12 this guy that I was dating said that his friend believed that I would be prettier if I lost more weight…..well damn then I would look like a crackhead anyways……It sucks

anonymous September 9, 2012 - 10:31 PM

I’m not sure I follow your differentiation. could you explain? You listed shows like King of Queens, The Simpsons, Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Family Guy ( i have never seen the others so i can’t say) but none of those shows defends the obesity of the obese male characters (Everyone except for the father is actually quite fit in Fresh Prince, and FG and Simpsons make fun of fat guys, not glorify them, to be specific. so where do you see the distinction between the beauty “standard” presented to women, and the one presented to men? asking out more out of ignorance, not trying to invalidate your argument

Erika Nicole Kendall September 10, 2012 - 9:38 AM

Let’s start here: rattle off the list of TV shows with an overweight female lead who has a “socially-acceptable” husband (whatever that can mean, since society rarely puts the same kind of pressure on men’s bodies the way they do women), and then we can break down the specifics and differences.

I mean, I’d love to bring up Roseanne, but both Roseanne and her husband were in the same situation, weight-wise. I think Lifetime also has a show with a plus-sized female lead, but the show is centered around her having an abysmal dating life. You think that Peter and Homer are, in other words, ‘mocking’ “fat guys,” but even with all their blunders and failures they’ve still got the “hot wife” with the great body after having three children. If anything, that tells women that regardless of how their partner’s figure has changed, they are still expected to be hot and STAY hot. Even after having multiple children.

So… list off some shows for me that fit that standard, and we can talk and compare.

Yvette September 14, 2012 - 5:44 PM

Forget the tv show reference. Let’s be honest, you are far more likely to see a big man be accepted and considered lovers or players than a big woman. I’ve seen more than my fair share of overweight men calling themselves “Big Daddy”. Not sure about other cultures, but let’s be real about this black people.

Fiona September 21, 2012 - 4:28 PM

This article is so on point… I’m generally considered an attractive girl… yet I can definitely see the correlation between the quantity and quality of men who hit on me when I am a size four as opposed to a size fourteen. It seems every four years I go in between those two sizes… right now I’m working my way back down to a size four and praying I stay there (or smaller) for the rest of my life. That being said, my current boyfriend met me at a size four and never stopped adoring me even at a size fourteen (he is attractive fit educated etc). Black women should definitely make their emotional and physical health a priority but never expect or accept subpar treatment from anyone

Sophia Muriel September 24, 2012 - 1:48 PM

Hi, Erika:

I discovered your blog by a college acquaintance (Jamie Fleming) who has her own blog and company! She is wonderful at giving links about black women and how we are doing well in the business aspect of things. I’ve been reading you whenever I can or whenever I remember to! I’ve liked you on my Facebook, and you are in my news feed all time (which is awesome!).

On a serious note, you are, my friend, a fantastic writer. What I have read…I agree with. This blog entry is so striking to me that I had to come out of the lurking shadows and start to comment!

As a writer, avid reader,activist, feminist, humanitarian, philosopher, educator, instructor, etc., I tell you…the superficiality is a part of most human beings. HOWEVER, what distinguish us from others is that some of us have the superficiality gene more than others.

What I am saying? I am saying that, in our American society, particularly, as you so elegantly wrote in your response, we continue to be stuck on finding partners that embody how women are supposed to look externally by the images that we still see in our American magazines, films, televisions shows, online, etc. And this connection with women who are overweight or obese, it rears its ugly head when you have became healthier and fitter to the point where you look sleek or “thinner”–the ugly head is what folks really think about people who are overweight/obese. Or you start to notice these types of negative comments or feelings when you go from being fitter and healthier to a overweight or obese.

When I was healthier and fitter, yes, there were all kinds of men trying to holler at me. Yet, I’ve always been the selective type. What I mean is…I don’t date men or become friends with people in general because I can see right through them if they are genuine or superficial. I have a strong intuition about people and their behaviors. I’ve been observing people and learning about their behaviors since I could remember. What I do notice now is that…since I’ve been 30 pounds overweight, men don’t try to hit on me. A part of me is glad. Me, personally. I don’t like that attention. Also, I have a partner that I’ve been with for seven years. I don’t like people coming out me due to the way I look.

Yet, we met when I was healthy and fit…and sleeker than I am now. Yet, we have been together for seven years…and we have both gain weight. While reading your entry, one thing that came to my mind when you mentioned that the men you’ve had conversations with, you get the jest that they want a woman to workout in the gym with them or workout in generally all the time…what happens though when they meet that woman, decide to marry her, and she becomes overweight after the fact…or she becomes overweight after she has their first child (or children) but doesn’t decide to lose the weight?

I’ve seen couples like Rupert and I who have gained weight…and they are still together…however, the couples that have the the guy is still fit and she is overweight or obese…they are divorced. What I am trying to express here is that while these men want to date these women who are fit and look fly, they aren’t thinking about the long term down the road…the road where people change. Typically, not in all relationships, people do gain some weight because you are having a good time. You are eating out…you are enjoying yourself more with the person you are connected to. Now, this isn’t with all couples, but there are couples that this happens to. This isn’t bad, either. It is just that some of us are in the thrill of the relationship.

I believe that is a reflection of inexperience of the part of thinking that someone that you meet will stay the same in the longevity versus what the future reality will be. Because, you can plan for the future, but the future is uncertain. I would guesstimate that some of these fellows don’t read blogs like yours or mines where we are expressing all that goes down. Now, I am not saying that we are the only ones out there writing about this…and to be more educated, one should read a vast amount of folks’ experiences on all issues. For me, it just makes you a better person of difference and tolerance. However, I supposed, if you are superficial, you don’t give a care about other people’s experiences and what they are writing. Hopefully, some of these men are reading our stories and are learning from them.

Another aspect I love about this blog entry was this quote:

“You start to find out how some men manipulate society’s fat-hating culture into a way to skate by without accepting any responsibility for anything: “if fat Black women are considered the least worthy of love and affection, then if I choose one, she’ll do anything and tolerate anything to keep me.”

This reminds me EXACTLY of Tyler Perry’s Why I Get Married when the Jill Scott character is treated like pure garbage by her husband. He treated her like a doormat, and she took it because she believed that she wouldn’t be able to get someone that was better in compatibly with her. That couple’s situation broke my heart because it was disgusting in the way her husband treated her. She did everything to work on their marriage, and he treated her like a fat slob. Of course, he was impressed by her later…and wanted to try to hit on her when she lost a few pounds. Sorry to say…you don’t deserve someone when you’ve crowed all over their faces. I am sorry. Weight gain or weight loss, slimmer or heavier, I don’t care. When some women finally have that light turned on in their heads, the light that leads the way out of Plato’s cave of darkness, they aren’t going to go back in that cave again. I was so happy that she realized that.

Sure, there will be people who are always superficial and shallow…and single out the “fat black girl.” Yet, I always like to think of it is…you snooze you lose. Even though it hurts right then to have someone reject you when they haven’t even talked to you, I also think of it this way…they do NOT deserve to be in your company…and it wasn’t that you weren’t “right for them.” They weren’t right and worthy for and of you. That’s right. They don’t deserve to grace your company. And sooner or later, more real application will make them see that chasing after something initially doesn’t mean it will be like that infinitely.

Lisa October 6, 2012 - 1:39 PM

Standing up and applauding!!!!!!!!!! Best Article on this site ever!!!!!!!!! I got nervous as I was reading this article and I thought that someone has been eavesdropping in my brain and in my life’s experiences!!!! Sister girl you are me and I am you! I am an attractive full-figured…overweight to some…educated… successful…god-fearing….43 and still single Black woman! Did I mention I too am a Sagittarius…I have never felt more isolated in my life…especially from other single Black men! I don’t know what happened…I didn’t stop taking care of myself heck I kicked my fitness up a level and started doing martial arts…but Im still fat! I used to be a full-figure model..with a modeling gig every week…tooks some time to focus on my professional career and now I am a Licensed therapist with my own private practice….I did all the right things..never got pregnant…I don’t have any children…I go to church and worship regularly…I don’t have a wrinkle….I tak care of myself….I look 30…but can’t get a decent date to save my life! At the end of the day, Im really begining to wonder is it because I havent been able to win the weight loss battle despite all my other accomplishments! All I know is this isolation is dangerous but unfortunately we live in a society that must also have a scapegoat…just like America continues to marginalize people of color…the lastest target group for opression and exploitation are fat people. I am really begininning to feel hopeless and powerless. But if is God is for me….who can be against me….Greater is He that is in me…than he that is in the world!

Chi October 22, 2012 - 8:47 AM

Although I agree with your article about the baseness of people and how superficial they are, I also understand human nature. Not too many girls would look at a short 4’8″ guy with 1 arm and 1 leg. Men are geared to date a woman with beauty, and women are geared to date men because they have the potential to provide protection (through money or physical strength). If a man doesn’t find a woman of a certain weight attractive, or feminine enough, he will not give her respect. Hands down. Likewise, if a man is weak and has no job, he will be at the bottom of the dating pool. There must be some responsibility for a person to take their physical appearance into their own hands and make a change if they want to attract certain types of men. Men want well groomed, slender, and humble women. That disqualifies dirty OR fat OR loud-mouthed women. Some men will sacrifice one quality or two, if a woman is strong in a third category, but the majority of men will not sacrifice on beauty. No matter what anyone says, exercise is not the cure all for being overweight. Diet is. Remove all processed foods from your diet and you will see an immediate change. A lady of substance has to look and be the part in mind, body, and spirit. There is nothing wrong with being overweight, but to make it seem ludicrous that men don’t look your way is to me, being a little out of touch with reality and understanding of even your own nature.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 22, 2012 - 8:17 PM

“If a man doesn’t find a woman of a certain weight attractive, or feminine enough, he will not give her respect.”

Oh, word?

LMAO And this is okay with you?

You didn’t say “won’t consider her for companionship.” You said “respect.” The point that you’re failing to miss – and what ‘makes this a feminist issue’ – is EXACTLY that. You’re OKAY with “not getting respect” because someone deems too fat to be respected?

Wow, the patriarchal bargain is real. This makes me sad as all hell.

WellDamn24 October 24, 2012 - 1:41 PM

I don’t think that Chi is saying that men disrespecting over weight women is right. From what I’ve seen and experienced, if a man is with a woman whom he thinks isn’t on his level, he’s using her and is overall disrespectful of her. It is human nature that the more you value someone or something the more carefully you treat it.

I’ve seen men not even look me in the face to give me a greeting in passing because I’m not attractive to them. For some men, unfortunately, if you aren’t thin, or LSLH, or whatever they like in a woman, you don’t exist. If I were crazy enough to chase after one of those men how respectful do you think they would treat me?

I’ve known men who value women based on beauty over brains and even personality. It’s certainly not the smartest way to judge a person, but that’s how these men honestly are. I don’t want one of those men, but I’m honest enough to recognize that being fat puts me at a disadvantage.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 24, 2012 - 5:01 PM

“I don’t think that Chi is saying that men disrespecting over weight women is right. From what I’ve seen and experienced, if a man is with a woman whom he thinks isn’t on his level, he’s using her and is overall disrespectful of her.”

I really want more for y’all, but in order for you to get it, you really need to begin to challenge the structures and systems that allow for this kind of behavior to continue on unchecked.

First, why would a person – gender notwithstanding – get “with” someone who isn’t on their level? Problem number 1.

Secondly, why do we not challenge the idea that people should use or disrespect people because they’re “not on their level?” Problem number 2.

“The more you value someone or something, the more carefully you treat it.” We are not talking about Faberge eggs. We are talking about PEOPLE. I meet PEOPLE every day who aren’t on my level, and that doesn’t disqualify them from basic respect. It might disqualify them from being dating material, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be polite or generally friendly. What kind of predatory sh-t is that? If I date a man, and it gets to the point where I’ve decided you’re no longer compatible with me, we are no longer dating. That’s not the green light for “Okay, since we’re not compatible any more, now I’ma treat you like fat trash since you’re not up to MY standards.”

This sounds like “Well, they don’t value me, so it’s okay for them to treat me like less than human.” I mean, no one is asking for hand holding and kid-gloves. We’re asking for common courtesy. Do people no longer deserve THAT, just because they’re fat?

No one else finds this pathological and creepy? And SAD?

“If I were crazy enough to chase after one of those men how respectful do you think they would treat me?”

I’m not interested in how the metaphorical “they” would treat you. I’m interested in why the metaphorical “they” thinks its okay to throw common courtesy out the window because a fat girl is involved… yet we, as women, are various forms of “b-tch” because we don’t respond to catcalls on the street.

Annette October 24, 2012 - 7:00 PM

I find it very sad cause I am not operating from that view point at all. I will definitely challenge that. Sounds like a GIGANTIC EGO!

Preach it Erika!! Where is that attitude coming from? This entitled snobbery. When did we give up common courtesy and treating people with respect.

WellDamn24 October 24, 2012 - 10:59 PM

General answer to your questions: With all due respect to you, you act like you’ve never met an @sshole before. LOL There plenty of them walking the earth, and if I spent time trying to discern the origins of their trifling natures I doubt that I could go to work, take care of my business, or live a full life. That doesn’t mean that I excuse their behavior, only that I choose not to waste time that I can spend recognizing them for who they are, and then hopping over them and moving on with my life.

There are many reasons that people deal with others who supposedly aren’t on their level such as desperation, low self-esteem, loneliness, and survival. Is it right? No. But people do it and I’d prefer to recognize the reality of how things are than to bemoan that my fervent wish that folks act right goes unfulfilled. I’m either going to cry a river, or build a boat and sail my way to happiness.

What I did in my post, and I believe Chi was doing, was stating the obvious about the real world. Not how I wish things could be and how wrong it is. Of course it’s wrong. That’s a given. Some people accept that B.S., and that’s a crying shame. Some people are full of self-entitled, ill-mannered B.S. and that’s a crying shame too. But like I said, I don’t have the tears or wishes to waste on the @sshole who values others based on pounds and not personality.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 25, 2012 - 5:10 PM

If refusing to let this stuff go unchallenged or unchecked equates to acting like I’ve never met an asshole before…. I don’t know what to say to that.

“There plenty of them walking the earth, and if I spent time trying to discern the origins of their trifling natures I doubt that I could go to work, take care of my business, or live a full life.”

Right, because I implied that it’s that deep. Of course.

“Stating the obvious” isn’t enough if the obvious is painfully problematic.

Actually, I’m at the point where I’m comfortable agreeing to disagree.

Amanda November 12, 2012 - 2:15 AM

Hi Erika!
This was a great article. I think that FAT is the last predjudice acceptable by society as a whole. Most people even if they are racist or a homophobe, whould never go up to a black person or homosexual and call a derogitory word, because as a society we have come to find this behaviour unacceptable. However, every person that does not have a weight problem (and even some who do) think that it is totally acceptable to step to me and tell me that I need to go on a diet! Are you kidding me?! At my heaviest (311#) I never had a problem getting a man, and for every man at a bar who was too good to speak to me their were 5 more who would. White, black, hispanic and everything inbetween! I have lost 37# so far and would like to loose about 120# more. And as far as being some guys last choice, don’t you think that there is a reason nobody else wanted them?

Amanda November 12, 2012 - 2:43 AM

Well put Nona! I myself am a big girl. Im white and I don’t limit myself in my dating options. Im open to all sincere offers, and when Im out and there are those occasional jerk off males who wont even look at me or just snicker and stare I just shrug them off and continue to do my thing. Congrats on your engagement!

Jackie November 12, 2012 - 2:52 AM

Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I have a similar look and some of the same journey. This is so helpful in regards of what to expect and how to properly handle the emotional aspects of it.

Angelica November 17, 2012 - 7:50 PM

All I can is #1 Love Yourself!!!!!!!
#2 Accept the love of Jesus Christ in your life.

I am currently going through the process of eating healthy, exercising daily and stopping all that emotional eating that got me fat in the first place. Am I doing all of this to attract a man? Hell, no!!!! If the dude was too shallow to not love and appreciate me for the person that I am, then he can go kick rocks! I am taking care of myself, my health & my body for ME! I trust God to bless me with a good man one day, but until then, I will be happily single and beautiful at 207 lbs and shrinking 🙂

Eric November 18, 2012 - 12:34 AM

Many black men prefer intelligent, confident, curvy / fuller figured women. However, the chip-on-the-shoulder / anti-male feminist attitude that comes through in some of the commentary is a turn off. I know you probably won’t publish this but I wanted you to know how this comes off to many black men.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 18, 2012 - 10:28 AM

While reading this, all I could hear in the back of my mind is, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

“I know you probably won’t publish this but…”

Awww, you clearly didn’t read any of the other comments. LOL

Joshua December 4, 2012 - 2:34 PM

I know this article and site is not for me but I was bored nd decided to read this article. I have always found it sad how superficial people can be judging by the outward appearence of the individual instead of their heart and soul, the content of heir character. The popular thing for women it would seem today is to find a guy who has darker skin. black hair, brown or black eyes, and in shape. Popular superficiality is stifeling me, I am dying here as my soul cries and bleeds in agony. I am forced into a cell in the hell of lonliness to stay for what seems to me to be an eternity because I am a 26 year old 6 foot one and a half inch white guy with strawberry blond (almost a light reddish-brown hair), hazel eyes, of course light skin, and I am not in perfect shape. I have been all over the world with my time in the military and as a government contracter and that dark skinned guy with black hair, brown or black eyes, and in good shape is actually the most common look throughout the world, a dark skin tone and black hair may not be so common in the US and Europe but it is very common in the remaining about 70% of the world. Still, because I appear to be the most common guy thinks to television, movies, etc… I find most women pass me by and avoid me, to include white women, because I am not that dark skinned Rico Swave or Cassanova they dream about because it seems so uncommon. If you look at hte majority of the world a darker skin tone and black hair is actually the most common thing you see. It is very popular today though for women to seek out whaat they believe is rare and uncommon, someone who seems to have that exotic look to them. I am tired of being judged by my outward appearence. When will people learn that what you see on the outside does not matter, all that matters is what is inside, the person’s heart and soul, their mind, their personality. I am alone now because my race is unpopular, undesired, and the most hated in the states because of events that occured before I was even born and before I grew up. Women don’t want the white guy because they perceive us as the most common guy there is. I am starting to believe that the only way that I will get any love, not just sex but actual love, is if I just find a lonely and desprite woman who also feels as though they have few options thinks to the superficiality of our sociaty. If that don’t work I may as well just take a long walk off of a chort cliff because to me a life without love is just not worth living no matter how much I manage to make. I don’t care about money, cars, fancy clothing, nice houses, etc. Those things are nice to have but you can’t take them with you and in time all that will decay and fade away. Eventually I will be a fogotten face in a photograph just like all those black and white photos you see from the 19th century. This is not a plea for sympathy, mercy, or your pitty. All I am saying is don’t judge me by what your eyes can see, look inside of me and see the reality of the heart and soul within the vessel you see. When people can learn to look inide of the body they see at the heart, soul, and personality to find the mate with whom they choose to be then they will find that thay are truly happy because the outside may be perfect for you visually but that which resides internally may be quite ugly. It is far easier to encourage a person to improve themselves physically thrn it is to change who they are internally. Until people can see that all that matters is what is inside the body then I may well be forced to reside in darkness and misery for eternity as all the women pass me as though I were completely invisible as all they see is the vessel which contains the being within me. Some day the world will see a phoenix rise from the darkness, pain, and misery and when they realize who it is they see none will believe what was inside of me. I have the soul of an artist and the heart of a warrior; this world will not defeat me. I am a master of tactical and strategic psychology and can rearrange you psyshologically and biologically as I open your heart and mind to reality and you see the fire which burns within me. I can be quite romantic and I am deeper than the sea but you can’t know that unless you talk to me and see who I am internally. The person meant for you will rarely be in a vessel you normally like visually but that is merely a test to see if you love that person truly. When you learn to look past what you can see visually then you will find a partner who can and will truly make you happy. I long to see a world that no longer judges people superfically and instead looks at who they are internally.

Erika Nicole Kendall December 4, 2012 - 4:50 PM

Normally I wouldn’t have let this slide, but…. there’s a lot of painful irony in this comment. A LOT.

Erika Nicole Kendall December 8, 2012 - 8:48 AM

And, because you keep trying to spam my post with anti-feminist foolishness, let me make something abundantly clear to you:

What your insinuating about Black men:
-that someone like YOU, as unintelligent and pedantic as you appear to be, are capable for speaking for them, whether the aforementioned “many” is “millions” or merely “my homeboys”;
-that there are NO Black men out there who are progressive enough to be open to discussion of things like “privilege,” “patriarchy,” “wage gap” (and how PHENOMENAL that you find it problematic that there are women concerned that they’re not being paid up to their full potential because they are WOMEN!);
-that Black women are even out here limiting themselves only to Black men as dating and mating partners, and they must bend over backwards to ensure that they are exactly what the mythical Black Male Collective wants in order to snag one of you;
-and that the assumption that being “pro-equality” is somehow “anti-male” and, in turn, some kind of ‘man repellant’

is so laughable and disgusting that I pity the educated, progressive, self-confident, dynamic Black men (and men of ALL races) I DO know for being, in some way, attached to someone like you.

If you think that being “pro-equality” would result in a woman failing to find a partner just because being pro-equality is a problem for YOU, then I’d politely ask you to step your game up, and stop spamming my got damn blog.

jacquie December 19, 2012 - 8:02 AM

I enjoyed the article. As a petite plus size woman I know the horrors of dating. Lately, I have been astonished by the blatant disregard for me and simultaneously the great appreciation of my “thickness”. So men do hit on me quite a bit but most conversations or dates tend to focus on how soft, thick, curvy I am. Which , of course, men think gives them the right to be very physical like this is the kind of behavior I expect. And almost like I should be grateful for the attention. I hate it. I hate the pawing and thick girl talk. I wish for a conversation about anything but my ass.

As for this “echo chamber”, I have to say sometimes its wise to hear people out and not feel the need to respond or be right. I wouldnt call this article a slant as I wouldnt call some of the opposing views a slt either; just different opinions and experiences. As for the big men, I hear you. I have big brothers who have similar experiences. They are used as cuddlers and or friends and qkly dumped when women are looking for a “real men”. This is equally as hurtful to big men as big womn. Thts valid.

Because I come from a large bigfat family from one of the fattest cities, Detroit, I didnt know the view that people had on big people. It waesnt uuntil finishing college and moving to California that I got a doze of how the other side lives. Who would have thought that skinny people occupy gyms and that big people are judged in places created to get in shape or that big people have their own size acceptacceptance clubs because they dont fit into the culture of a regular club. Im now learning to be fit and choose healthy steps in my life but that does not change the world around me. Whether its due to a patriarchal society or not…im unsure of. I think of it more as a mating game; a procreating game. We go after mates who will be good parents, are able to bare children and are built for the task of fatherhood or motherhood. I have been told by my doctor that I may have a hard time getting pregnant due to my size and I have friends who are going through the same healthy issues due to their weight. Like u said who wants to be with a woman who complains about having to workout. Who wants to be with a woman who isnt healthy enough to bare children or be a present, healthy woman in their childrens life? This is not patriarchal. This is my voice to myself as I think about the kind of wife, friend and mother that I want to be. I want to be ready…rready to be physical…to go hiking…volunteer at their schools…play with them…be a part of a sports league with my fam…ect. and I think, yes im confident in myself and love my appearance but am I ready …no patriarchy involved.

Erika Nicole Kendall December 19, 2012 - 10:22 AM

In all your effort to try to offer a definitive response to everything that appears in the comments and man-splain away why “patriarchy” isn’t the issue, you ignored everything that proves you wrong.

Like, you can’t just ignore the stuff that challenges your line of thinking and think that makes it go away.

“Whether its due to a patriarchal society or not…im unsure of. I think of it more as a mating game; a procreating game. We go after mates who will be good parents, are able to bare children and are built for the task of fatherhood or motherhood. I have been told by my doctor that I may have a hard time getting pregnant due to my size and I have friends who are going through the same healthy issues due to their weight. Like u said who wants to be with a woman who complains about having to workout. Who wants to be with a woman who isnt healthy enough to bare children or be a present, healthy woman in their childrens life? This is not patriarchal. This is my voice to myself as I think about the kind of wife, friend and mother that I want to be. I want to be ready…rready to be physical…to go hiking…volunteer at their schools…play with them…be a part of a sports league with my fam…ect. and I think, yes im confident in myself and love my appearance but am I ready …no patriarchy involved.”

If you really think that the man in the example the original author gave was thinking about “Hmmm, she probably can’t have my babies” when he decided she wasn’t even worth SPEAKING to; if you think “Hmm, she probably can’t have my babies” is the reason why so many fat women are treated like crap; if you think fat people are the only ones who can potentially get in the way of someone remaining committed to their fitness goals (are YOU fat? do YOU work out regularly? what if someone who you were interested in automatically assumed YOU are clearly a fat, lazy, gluttonous slob who doesn’t work out JUST because you’re fat? what about all the thin people who’ve never set foot in a gym, and don’t see the point since they’re thin? they’re not a problem because they’re already thin, right? WTF?); if you think the fact that YOU have these kinds of biased, foolish, self-hating standards for yourSELF erases the fact that there are standards of appearance that disproportionately affect women’s ability to earn what they deserve at work, affect their ability to be treated like human beings (as you clearly stated in the beginning of your post, since you can’t seem to be respected for more than your booty), and affect the kinds of care they receive from their physicians…

…then you shouldn’t be having this conversation. You should be in the gym, because the situation is so dire, right?


Some of you really need to let up on yourselves. Are there complications that come with being fat? Sure. And we can talk about the endocrinology of it all another day. But the very real issue of fertility and other hormonal woes doesn’t change the fact that there are MAD other issues that cannot be discussed without putting patriarchy on blast. Period. To ignore that, to me, sounds like you’re more interested in perpetuating that self-hating fat person culture, and I neither find that to be helpful, nor do I find it fruitful… and I won’t participate in it.

Amina February 27, 2013 - 6:19 AM

I know I am tardy to the party on this conversation, but as a female, I agree with Mike D.

I find this blaming partriarchy business for everything in regards to feminism as shear nonsense. You know females are very ruthless and unforgiving with opinions of how people should be and live themselves. Perhaps it is not partriarchy, but matriarchy that ruin women’s lives. Because quite frankly, yes, men are sexually driven, but men have stated thousands of times that women are more hard on themselves than they should be. It is women competing against women in regards of looks. Men care less about fashion, and beauty. Women obsess about it.

I am so over the “patriarchy” blame that women, and so-called feminist keep ranting about. Basically, I find it to be more of an excuse for women to avoid looking at themselves as they truly are by blaming someone else for their problems. It is like women can’t admit to being wrong, or having warped thinking coming from their own mental construct, so…it must have been some man to influence them to be all crazy in the head. No, a lot of women have backwards thinking without any help of a man.

As for fatness is concerned? I am 240. My highest weight was 265. Yes, I need love too. Yes, I have been hurt when men turn me down, because I am too fat. Is that patriarchy? Hell, no. It is called having taste and standards. Even I have taste and standards. I myself don’t find fat men attractive. Even though I am obese, I still chase after slim, fit men. Yet, I have this warped concept that slim men should like a fat blubbery body like mine? It’s backwards thinking. I am trying to lose weight, because if you want to attract people of a certain type, then you have to be on their level. And that is life. Not some childish concept of patriarchy.

Women turn down men all the time, but when men turn down women for whatever women, some women just get all butt hurt. As for black women, which I am also, we have used the excuse of being “thick” was a way to allow ourselves to get flat out obese. We do not eat healthy, we do not exercise, we do not take care of our bodies. So is getting in shape and being fit not feminist? Is looking attractive, and being healthy following patriarchy? If any woman think so, then like Mike D, I feel sorry for you as well. it is warped thinking.

Yes, being obese fat is very unattractive. Black women are mostly that. Obesity, regardless of skin color, will put you at the bottom of the totem pole for social unacceptability, and in the dating scene. No one finds a protruding, hanging belly sexy. No one finds love hands and a double chin as being sexy.

If being a feminist means being upset, because no one wants to see a size 28 woman naked…then feminism be damned. I am a size 28…and my goal is to be a hot, sexy and thick size 12. If some feminist thinks I am caving in to the standards of patriarchy, then…patriarchy is sexy, while feminism is letting yourself go while wanting to be rewarded for that.

The fact is, very few people are sexy fat, male or female. Believe me, you ain’t getting no feminist in her right mind to say that Cee lo fat self is sexy versus a man with a ripped tight body.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 27, 2013 - 8:32 AM

Whew, lord.

“Female.” Alright.

You wrote damn near 1,000 words just to miss the same point he did.

If you want to let your own self-hatred cloud your judgment, then hey. YOLO. But saying “it couldn’t possibly be patriarchy…it might even be MATRIARCHY!!!” is the most laughable shit I’ve ever read in my life. It couldn’t possibly be the fact that it’s a male-dominated society that engineers women to be at a perpetual disadvantage…it’s WOMEN’S FAULT for competing AGAINST each other in a male-dominated society! And somehow, that qualifies as “matriarchal?” Girl, no. LOLOL

The reality is, that when you get down to your “hot, sexy and thick size 12,” you will STILL be someone’s “FAT” and someone will still decide you are “unworthy of basic human respect” because YOU ARE FAT. And, while it’s fun to poke fun at Cee-lo, the reality is that even the thinnest, hottest, most gorgeous of women would still give him ALL THE PLAY because he has an out: he is famous, and he is wealthy. Fat women aren’t allowed to win like that, no matter HOW wealthy they are. In fact? Fat women get wealthy, and have lipo in perpetuity, because THEIR money gets them NOTHING. LMAO

Here’s a nasty truth of all this. You think there’s no possible way that you could be attractive at a size 28, and so you think NO ONE should find you attractive at a size 28. Listen – I was a size 28 once. Everyone didn’t find me hot, but to use that as a reason to deny me basic respect as a human being is a disgusting and demeaning practice, and NO ONE should think that’s okay. NO ONE should think it’s acceptable to only talk to people they’re attracted to. NO ONE should be excusing bad behavior. As a society, we CLEARLY have a say in what’s acceptable and not; and to think that a society where the majority of people are overweight thinks its okay for THAT MAJORITY to be devalued because they’re obese…lets me know just how self-hating so many of you are. Your hatred will get you nowhere…not even on your OWN weight loss journey.

Whew….all those words and you said damn near nothing. Damn. LMAO

Anonymous March 4, 2013 - 10:20 PM

I’ve actually experienced black men that wouldn’t give me the time of day because I was a fat, black woman but would get with a fat white woman. I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about that.

I don’t understand why guys “troll” sites like this one if they get upset at what you have to say. Black women need to demand respect from men. Black men are choosy because we let them get away with it. Sadly, I experienced the most discrimination from thin women. Whereas guys will at least be honest, women will smile in your face, and then back stab you. It’s sad but true.

The day that Queen Latifah gets a man or the 70% single rate among black women drops below 50%, then I will know that there’s hope for us all. PMD

J Sawyer April 13, 2013 - 11:51 AM

I actually appreciated reading this article, the responses and follow up comments from ENK. As a separated woman of size, color and a certain age, it occurs to me that when I’m ready, venturing back out onto the dating scene will be a very different experience than when I was last available, fit and free-spirited. I’m mindful that being unhealthy could invalidate finding gentlemen of a certain caliber to engage with romantically. Water seeks its level; shouldn’t people? Still, there should be a core of common courtesy and basic human decency that gets extended to all people regardless. I was thrilled to discover bgg2wl because of the underlying philosophy, tips and tools. I embrace a vision of having a fine quality of life and attaining wellness in all ways. As I’m putting in the hard work to keep my spirit glowing, cultivated and pure to attract like minded folks, I won’t tolerate nonsense from the opposite sex in friendship or beyond. Working to keep my mind right and get my body tight for my own sake. But, I would be remiss not to admit I desire a partner who similarly commits to being healthy happy and whole!

Erika Nicole Kendall April 14, 2013 - 10:25 PM

“Water seeks its level; shouldn’t people?”

I appreciated your comment, but I think this might need a little push back; water will always be H2O. It will never change.

People, however, are quite different. Relationships and the things that connect people together are more complex than just saying “are you on my level?” I’ve met people who weren’t on my level who were, in more or less words, trying to get there… and I’ve got people in my life whose level FAR exceeds mine, but they’re helping me get to where I want to be. Our connections aren’t based on our levels – that sounds like weird networking language to me – they’re based on far more complex and meaningful things than that.

And, while I’m sure that there are a few people who have successfully gotten what they wanted by using that mentality, I would still have to question whether the totality of their relationships is what you’d truly want for yourself.

I know that you’re aiming to connect that to what I said about people not wanting to date a person who’d try to dissuade them from being active, but they’re not quite the same.

(How? Because it’s one thing to come as you are, an unfit person who is otherwise exceptional who doesn’t mind having an active partner and can even be encouraged to become a more fit person – see: meeting people who aren’t on your level but can be encouraged to get there. It’s another thing entirely to be an unfit person who tries to be emotionally manipulative by guilting a partner, whose been active since you first started out, about how little time they spend with you and how married to the gym they are.)

Kelly July 15, 2013 - 7:13 PM

Wow Ms. E, looks like you have touched a nerve (a raw one too). I have been following your blog for a while and decided to comment this time. I too have been on a what I call my “journey” for about a year. I am down about 45 pounds and the gym is my second home! I have notice that I too have gained entrance into the “thin people club”. It is sobering! And all of the “attention” I am getting now is a little…unsettling. Guys I have known for years look at me differently now. I actually had one tell me “oh you may get an invitation to hang out with me now. What took you so long to decide to lose weight?” Really? Now that I am thinner, I am somehow deemed “worthy”? Honestly I had a mixed reaction. I was a little excited because I have always liked him. But then that excitement turned into disgust..I am the same person I was when I was heavy…the same person on the inside!

nadia July 16, 2013 - 5:33 PM

All of this is so, so true– I never realized how unattractive I am until I lost weight a few years ago (down to a 6/8) and gained it back… I mean before, I figured that most women with the exception of the very beautiful had the same struggles me more or less but now I realize how much I am undervalued- I mean not valued AT ALL. When I lost weight was the first time I was asked out and I had a boyfriend at the time. He started to cheat almost as soon as I started to gain the weight back (even though he would bring home unhealthy food for me and would be upset if I protested). I realize that men (society?) sort of has a checklist- weight, skin color, skin clarity, hair texture, hair color, eye color, professional status, overall shape, social status, income. Your desirability and demand in the marketplace on your overall score on all of these. We are not taught these things when we are young but we should be. People really do not like you based on your personality but on those things above (and how much they think you can be of use to them). Anyway, now that I am again a size 12, it is like I am moving through the world, but I don’t exist. I don’t want to cycle through a bunch of relationships with men pretending to take me seriously when they know they would never want to seriously be with me which I think is what happens top a lot of educated women. For one reason or another those relationships never work out even if there is not an acrimonious breakup. That is because these guys know going in that they are not staying. I look at it as just another game in the playbook and I approach life assuming that anyone who does approach me is looking to use me b/c MORE THAN LIKELY, for someone with my skin color, weight, hair texture (kinky), and social status, that is what it is. It is very sobering, and very surreal, and sometimes very sad but I feel relieved to know the truth about the world.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 20, 2013 - 10:34 PM

“I never realized how unattractive I am until–”


Elizabeth September 18, 2013 - 3:59 AM

There was a scientific study done in which men were asked to speak on the phone with a woman for 10 minutes. Some men were given photos of overweight women, while others were given photos of skinny women and told that this was who they were talking to. The woman, the man,and a researcher each evaluated the conversation. In the cases where the man was given a photo of an overweight woman, the conversation was ranked as far less cordial and enjoyable by ALL parties, regardless of what the woman actually looked like! Honestly, I know I’m not attractive to men anymore. I feel sad about that but I cant change the world by myself. But sometimes I just want to have a nice conversation… and I find that men don’t want to do that with me anymore,either. Even in situations that seem fairly free of sexual or dating overtones. I know thatformany men it may be a form of kindness- They don’t want me toget the wrong idea I might get if they’re niceto me, so they just ignore me. But I think this goes to show that we’re not all just whining because we don’t get to get it on with Usher lookalikes- its way more pervasive than that.

My story:In late high school I lost 30 lbs and then got to college. Woo-hoo! Iwas like a kid in a candy store- all of the options were wonderful. I always had someone to flirt with in a club, and my friends set me up with their cute friends. During the next 4 years I gained close to 100 lbs. I was dumped by the guy I was seeing after about 70 of these. My friends started asking me “what was wrong” with that guy (a guy we’d been remarking on for being SUCH a chauvinist pig just the week before) … like I should overlook major personality flaws just cuz he might be into me. I’m hoping to make a lifechange now

Whitney November 5, 2013 - 3:06 PM

Reading this brings tears to my eyes because it is so, so true. I never realized it earlier in life, in high school, but as I’ve grown and matured….it is an evident fact of life. Men treat you based on what you look like and “respect” you if they find you sexually desirable. Even in brief interactions in the service industry (i.e. grabbing coffee), they won’t be bothered to be nice or kind to you unless you fit their standards of beauty. Also, I don’t want to create any sort of controversy here, but as a white woman….I also experience everything you’ve written about here, possibly to a greater extent. I say possibly because I cannot be sure, having not gone through your experience, but I do feel black culture is more accepting of curvier body types. You can correct me if I’m wrong, of course, and I truly hope I don’t offend anyone but being “sexy” in white versus black culture seems to be different, from what I’ve seen and experienced. Regardless, the pressure we experience is unjustified and unwarranted. Men are jerks, especially the one who said he doesn’t “respect” women if they don’t look a certain way. I can change my body type but I can’t change my face so essentially you “respect” someone based on something arbitrary that they cannot help or change (i.e. their genetic material) Just ridiculous. Thanks for the great post, Erika! 🙂

Rooo November 5, 2013 - 11:11 PM

” I do feel black culture is more accepting of curvier body types. You can correct me if I’m wrong, of course, and I truly hope I don’t offend anyone but being “sexy” in white versus black culture seems to be different, from what I’ve seen and experienced.”


Speaking of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen …

Somebody else is going to dissect this frog, yes? ‘Cause baby girl doesn’t have the “spoons” tonight.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 5, 2013 - 11:15 PM

I’m actually looking forward to your thoughts. *files nails*

Whitney November 6, 2013 - 10:46 AM

Maybe I phrased that incorrectly….I’m not trying to say that you’re excluded from the same struggles with weight that I am. All I mean is popular African-American pop culture seems to support a curvier figure (i.e. models you see in rap videos or magazines) Maybe this is an ignorant assumption since I am not a part of this culture; it’s just an observation I’ve made. There have been other posters who mentioned African-American men are more forgiving of weight gain and another poster who states 160 lbs is acceptable for an African-American woman trying to attract an African-American man and 125 lbs is an acceptable weight for a white woman trying to attract a white man. I don’t want to argue, come across as ignorant or to assume something based solely on my observations as opposed to your personal experience. Sorry if that came off as disrespectful or if you felt that what I said was “white solidarity” because that wasn’t my intention.

Erika Nicole Kendall November 6, 2013 - 10:14 PM

I don’t think it’s wrong on a low-inference level, I just think that there’s a lack of understanding on either side. I’m glad you’re sharing, because I want to know what Rooo thinks, too.

Marin December 18, 2013 - 5:02 PM

I read the article and many of the comments, and I will say that no one deserves to be disrespected. Fat, thin, white black, rich, poor…NO ONE. Society has made bullying or shaming someone due to their looks the norm, and it sickens me. If you aren’t interested in someone, there’s no reason to act like they are the scum of the earth or unworthy of your time. Someone may not be your preference, but they are still a human being and should be treated as such. Heck, I’ve made some pretty good friends that started off as one-sided crushes…because while the level of interest was not returned, both parties remained respectful and engaging, and a friendship blossomed.
I say this to EVERYONE because in all honesty, just as I know (and have debated with) men who have disrespectful attitudes towards plus-size women, I have seen women of ALL shapes and sizes flat out SHAME men who dared approach them. That’s so unnecessary!

Now, as for “respecting” overweight people–due to the debates I’ve been in with men on this issue, I see (but don’t necessarily agree with) their point of view. And their point of view is about questioning a person’s self-esteem and lifestyle. In other words, the men I’ve talked to express concern with THE CAUSE of the weight, not just the weight itself. And yes, they do consider that once women have children, we tend to put on weight…and if we ALREADY have weight issues, this will likely multiply once we have children. Same goes for age. Men know women get thicker around the middle as we age. If we’re already a size 28, that can make them concerned. Likewise, these same men will positively acknowledge a woman who has dropped weight…isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we love it when others acknowledge our hard work and how it’s paid off?

Desiring a mate who takes care of themselves inside and out is important. Self-care is related to self-respect. And it’s hard to gain respect if you have none for yourself. So I try to understand the sentiments of men “not respecting” women who are overweight.
I say the same about a man who cannot hold a job. Women are often concerned with the CAUSE of that as well as the job hopping itself. And let’s be real: do you respect a man who can’t hold down a job? While you should exhibit a basic level of respect for him as another human being, a part of you probably gives him the side eye. And that’s understandable.

Now another issue with weight is that the outside does not tell the full story. I have loved ones who battle thyroid issues, kidney disease, and other health issues that have led to significant weight fluctuations. It infuriates me that anyone would look at them and assume they are lazy or don’t take care of themselves. This is the danger of superficiality.
Now as a woman who at her heaviest was a 12, but is now an 8/10 (with a goal of getting to a 6/8), I have experienced some of what the author is talking about…especially since many of my close girlfriends are size 0/2. Instead of viewing them as petite, I was the “big one”. (I often say I was the “Khloe Kardashian” of the bunch). They have bragged about being able to fit clothes in GapKids, which shouldn’t be normal. I have had men ask me invasive questions about how often I hit the gym (to see if I’ll ever gain the weight back). But on the flip side, I have been approached by men at the gym who said “it’s nice to actually see a sista in here taking care of herself” (especially in the free weights section). So I can empathize.

My best guy friend is frustrated in his relationship as his girlfriend is gaining weight (due to stress and low self-esteem), and no matter how much he encourages her, she keeps quitting every new fitness effort. In the meantime, he finds it “refreshing” to meet coworkers and other colleagues who love fitness and will go to the gym or for a run with him. Is he wrong for being frustrated? I think that’s about common interest, and little else.

So there’s no simple answer to this dilemma.

Erika Nicole Kendall December 18, 2013 - 5:20 PM

“So I try to understand the sentiments of men “not respecting” women who are overweight.”

Massive, massive chasm between “basic respect as a human being” and “willingness to date you.” Conflating the two lowkey implies that men should only respect women that they’re interested in dating, and I can’t say for certain that ANY of us – particularly women of color – firmly believe that…

“Now another issue with weight is that the outside does not tell the full story.”

…and this is another reason why. Believe it or not (generally speaking), there are lots of contributors to one’s size that are temporary and won’t be controlled by mere elliptical time. Basing a person’s worthiness of respect on this feels so dangerous to me.

“Now as a woman who at her heaviest was a 12, but is now an 8/10 (with a goal of getting to a 6/8), I have experienced some of what the author is talking about…especially since many of my close girlfriends are size 0/2. Instead of viewing them as petite, I was the “big one”.”

Some day, we’re going to have to have this talk about size expectations and upward mobility. Whew.

Annette December 19, 2013 - 3:21 AM

I will say this women need to get their hormones checked and balanced. It has already been recorded that women of color are under a lot of stress. We need to get active with dealing with the stress.

I have gone to school with girls that couldn’t gain weight even my sister had an issue with gaining weight. That doesn’t mean she don’t have self esteem issues it’s just hereditary and hormone related. We put label and apply characteristics to others due to how they look.

Also ” Society has made bullying or shaming someone due to their looks is the norm” is big business period. If I could chart the growth of fast food restaurant or restaurants in general and the boom in fitness, plastic surgery. With also the change in how the food is grown, and processed. Also the growth in the medical services especially for the obese. There is tremendous profits to make.

It is up to us to wake up from the lifestyle drug and system and start evaluating our lives. Some of us need to end toxic relationships that are making us sick. Also jobs and careers that are literally killing us and find a way to live the life we want. Take time to figure it out.

What I don’t care for is the judging by men and women towards others who haven’t gotten their lives together yet. I always wonder why any guy need to comment period on a woman weight. If you aren’t interested isn’t there a kind way to express it and move on.

Most people like someone who is fit and healthy it’s a start. Yet that is not all about physical looks for me. There is an arrogance by some due to their appearance alone which is a major turn off. Some seem to get a kick out of shooting down the women they feel are undesirable.

I found out I had a hormone problem along with a stress issue. I worked on the hormone issue and gradually lost the weight. To deal with the stress started meditation. Everyone goes through growth in a different way. What does cutting down and belittling anyone do, but pump up your ego.

Teeday January 30, 2014 - 9:53 PM

Thank you Honey for saying this. I read the article and most of the comments below it and I was thinking what you where saying the whole time! My bestie since we were 9 years old, is a light skinned black women. We are 32 now. I am dark skinned. We are both attractive and fat, but she has been consistently fatter than me our entire friendship. She has also consistently had boyfriends, while I consistently did not. Reading this article made me think of that, the whole time. I’m not saying she always had her pic, but she’d get talked to while out and would not get a second look. I think there may have been some colourism going on there.

Ella February 12, 2014 - 3:58 PM

Mike D, do us all a favor: shut up and go away. Thanks!


Everyone, Ever

Erika Nicole Kendall February 14, 2014 - 11:21 AM


Martina February 18, 2014 - 8:24 PM

After showing him my before picture at 238lbs, I was told, “I dont think I would have even considered dating you then.” Immediately,he was history.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2014 - 12:11 AM

Wow. How did you feel about that when he said it? How do you feel about the choice you made?

Rooo February 19, 2014 - 1:01 AM


Rooo February 19, 2014 - 1:04 AM

File under “I Know Nobody Asked Me”:

a) On the one hand, I am glad these types of dudes “out” themselves early
b) On the other hand – were they raised by wolves? Who says this kind of thing on a date?


Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2014 - 1:16 AM

People who are terribly comfortable with their biases, oftentimes because they’re encouraged and supported by society. He probably felt like he was among fat-hating friends, so he figured she’d believe she was just as undeserving of affection as he thought she was.


BarryM February 20, 2014 - 2:58 PM

I’m not sure if you are seeing this with any objectivity at all. Would you be willing to date someone who was a 2 pack a day smoker or dipped snuff? If not, you are guilty of the very same thing you accused him of.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 21, 2014 - 12:10 AM

Not even close to comparable.

BarryM February 21, 2014 - 12:18 AM

Why not answer the question? They are absolutely comparable. If you (or she) wouldn’t date such a person, she (or you) has no reason to complain about a person’s refusal to date a person grossly obese.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 21, 2014 - 12:23 AM

Because the question was obnoxious and, again, based on a false premise.

Tobacco is an addiction. Fatness is not inherently about addiction, nor does it exist as a state of irreversible being. You have to make flying-trapeze-esque leaps in conclusions to get to a point where the two are even remotely comparable.

We done here?

C E February 21, 2014 - 1:57 PM

I totally feel this article. So much. But as a gay lady I will say it’s not just the dudes that will treat you differently after you lose weight (though I have experienced that too). Women are just as programmed to find slimness attractive and I’ve been getting slimmer this past year and although I still have more curves than you would see on tv or in the magazine I feel like i’ve gotten more attention from the ladies than I ever did before.

C E February 21, 2014 - 2:13 PM

and in addition to my above comment I will also admit that i’ve been influenced too. It feels crappy that despite being feminist and encouraging of people to love their natural bodies, you realize that you’ve never really considered someone larger than yourself to be “hot”.

Martina February 23, 2014 - 1:27 AM

I felt bad at first then decided that I did not need the negativity in my life.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 23, 2014 - 9:13 PM

Love it.

caracol136 February 27, 2014 - 7:19 PM

Hi I read your article and most of the comments. One of the things that came up on the comments was people talking about how people are attracted to one thing or another. I think the problem is not to say that you are attracted to A or B. I mean you have the right to like whatever you want to like. To me the problem is to be shamed or made fun of because you are attracted to a fat chick. In the article you mentioned that people would only hit on this woman when they were drunk. Maybe is not that they are not attracted to her but that they are embarrassed or concerned about being made fun of. Been seen with a fat chick sometimes is seen as a down grade or settling because you couldn’t do any better. People question your motives when they see someone who is with a fat chick or someone below what they could possibly get (below their league).

In my case I started to gain weight at 18 and it became a problem when I was 25. Now I am 34 and 270 pounds. I wish I could say I have lost weight but this is the heaviest I have ever been. Anyway when I think of my relationship with my husband, many times I feel like I have to justify why he is with me. People asked me, are you sure he is not trying to get US citizenship? People will come with all these theories about why I should be guarded. I don’t think that would happen to a skinnier (maybe prettier person). Even my husband friends would ask him, do you really love her? Do you have something on the side? We find ourselves “justifying” the fact that he is with me. We don’t do it on a conscious level but when I think about it that’s what happens. I’m sure that if I was a “hot” chick we wouldn’t have those conversations. People would just understand that of course I am hot and that’s why we are together.

Maybe this is a whole new article but my point is that fat shamming has a lot to do with dating and why sometimes man or woman (goes both ways) would hesitate before hitting on a fat chick/guy. You don’t want to have to explain, you don’t want to be seen as a failure, especially if you have dated better people in the past. How many times we’ve heard that he/she downgraded?

I have a lot to say about this subject but most people won’t understand what I’m talking about, thanks for giving me a place to vent a little.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 28, 2014 - 9:35 PM

Wow. 🙁

Tess March 8, 2014 - 12:29 PM

I think unless you have walked in someone’s shoes (male or female) it is not right to state what they do or don’t go through. It’s akin to saying “my pain is worse than your pain” and when people see the slant in objectivity what you are trying to accomplish even if it’s valid and good intentioned loses it’s meaning.

Erika Nicole Kendall March 8, 2014 - 3:17 PM

“I think unless you have walked in someone’s shoes (male or female) it is not right to state what they do or don’t go through.”

Wrong. Not only do *I* know, but sociologists and researchers know. Women are MUCH more adversely affected by weight bias than men. It affects their money, their jobs, their ability to partner, the quality and effectiveness of medicines like birth control, their lives, in a much more negative fashion. The research has been done. To not agree, at this point, is to be unbelievably uninformed.

“It’s akin to saying “my pain is worse than your pain” when people see the slant in objectivity what you are trying to accomplish even if it’s valid and good intentioned loses it’s meaning.”

It isn’t a “slant in my objectivity” to focus on one gender, and not the other. It is not a “slant in my objectivity” to expect commenters to think critically about what I am discussing here, as opposed to trying to change the subject. If you want to talk about fat men, then ask for a space for that. Don’t derail a topic about women to say “Well, men blah blah too!” Well, perhaps, but I’m not discussing that here.

And, for the record, I have an incredibly long record displaying my “objectivity.” If someone can misread one particular post and decide that it erases thousands of posts spanning years of thought, then… I’m not sure what I could say or do to affect that, anyway. That sounds much more like a person invested in finding something wrong with me than it does someone who knows anything about “objectivity,” quite honestly.

Tyra March 11, 2014 - 8:58 PM

Jeff, this comment is IT! Thank you. Also thanks to Erika, great perspective piece.

Barry March 11, 2014 - 9:36 PM

Try being put in the position of being an unusually short not very attractive man with only a very modest salary.

squeesh March 21, 2014 - 11:30 PM

Dude, it’s not even about you.You’re too wrapped up in your own little male problem to see this. The truth is that a man, no matter what his size, can always get a woman simply because he’s a man, not because he’s anything special. I know it’s an old post, but when a man comes at a woman in an argument with this BS about “you’re going to be alone” and claiming that she has problems, he pretty much loses credibility,period.

To the author: I’ve come to this site over the couple of years and enjoyed it. As a black woman who’s been slightly struggling with her weight the past couple of years. I’ve basically been trying to maintain a steady weight for my height and age, and been doing okay with it. Of course like a lot of women, I still have issues and baggage around all that—there’s days when I feel like I’m unattractive or too fat (I’m a size 10)or whatever, then somikkje days when I feeling better, I’m like, “Screw it, I’m fine the way I am, and I look all right.” I’m in good health and good shape for my age (40ish) been exercising for most of my life, and I still do to this day. I’m glad to see a place where the issues of weight as it pertains to black women are discussed,though.

squeesh March 21, 2014 - 11:36 PM

Oops–meant to say “there are some days when I’m feeling better.”i

squeesh March 22, 2014 - 12:22 AM


Before fat does not always equal ugly–that is a stereotype. I’ve seen many a pretty fat woman with good fashion sense that looked great, and medium to skinny chicka who didn’t look like Halle Berry just because they were thin. Keep in mind, thin does not always equal beautiful either.

GlittuhPankyRang April 7, 2014 - 7:11 PM

I agree with your post. There are so many factors left unsaid, like sadly age, personality, grooming, etc, that could factor into Crunk not getting a man. I’ve seen women of all sizes, looks, etc land men. I’ve had trouble finding love all my life. I’ve been overweight all my life. Not to mention I am very tall. When I lost my weight in high school, boys wanted to talk to me more. However, I never got a date. Why? because of my personality. I was quiet, sometimes mean, weird, awkward. If you really want to have real friends and life long mates, it is your inside that truly counts. One can attract a man, but can they keep them? I attracted some nice guys while I was fat too. Just by adjusting my personality and being nicer. When I did that, men who referred to me as, not so good looking, started to call me pretty. I still got mistreated in some respects. But I think I attracted some very nice men, that liked me, for me. I’m not saying people aren’t prejudice against big women. However, being a good person with game can really effect people’s perceptions of you.

Sunshine Cristo May 9, 2014 - 6:23 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this. This hit home for me because I’ve experienced it and to be honest, it hurts. Growing up, I’ve always been thin and I would have random guys hitting on me BUT, I wasnt into dating. Years later, now that I’m older (late 20’s) and I’m a plus size, I don’t get as much love. It almost makes me angry that I can be really, really cool with a guy, but because of my weight I’m not considered to be “girlfriend” material. I have a great personality and I love cracking jokes with people. But if I try to pass the friend zone into “more than friends” it’s over. I had my heart broken several times and I’ve always wondered if I lost weight, will they change their perspective? The thing is, I don’t want to lose weight because I want to get these guys attention, I want to lose weight to live a healthier life. It’s just really sad to me that people can’t see past the weight and get to know the person that inside.

MIssDeee June 27, 2014 - 3:23 AM

You know what, I used to be 347 and lost 117 lbs, I am 5’9 and I have become an avid workout buff and my plan is to lose about 50 more lbs. If a man doesn’t want me now then whatever, I worked hard to get rid of high blood pressure and diabetes. Any man that shallow clearly doesn’t realize people age. So These men that want to scream on plus size women have several. These are the same men that get FAT and think they are entitled to a Tyra type of girl. C’mon Son! GTFOH! You don’t have to want me, but I will be damn if you think you can come after me after the fact and tell me as long as you don’t get big again we are good.

Chi July 3, 2014 - 12:58 AM

Managed to find this comment that I left almost 2 years ago (WOW).

My reply is as follows: I am not a feminist and will never be a feminist. Also, I don’t feel a need to challenge this aspect of human nature. It is similar to going on a campaign to end bullying, which they tried to do a couple of years back.

Besides my words being grossly twisted for a feminist agenda, the fact still remains that men (and women) treat strangers, aka people they have no obligation to have a relationship with (like family), with interest and respect according to some type of ranking system. That is why pretty girls and rich men get a lot of passes. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but it is not something that I think, warrants a crusade. Just an understanding.

I also made no mention as to what form of respect is owed to a person regardless of their looks, which you more than graciously decided to interpret. If you wanted to discuss that issue, and I had known you were discussing that issue, I would have engaged the topic. Otherwise, my opinion was targeted towards the situation in the article you posted about the inability of that woman to get the man she found attractive to even give her a second glance.

The girl was at a club, where any indication of attention usually means sexual interest. Therefore, the guy acted as most men do in a club, who do not find a particular woman attractive. We don’t know how he would have treated her had the setting been different. In church, he probably would have given her a hug. As we know, our settings usually dictate our behavior. The same right the woman had to find the man attractive should be the same right the man has to find this woman unattractive.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 3, 2014 - 9:08 AM

“I am not a feminist and will never be a feminist. Also, I don’t feel a need to challenge this aspect of human nature.”

Discriminatory practices and double standards against women aren’t human nature, friend. Sorry. When you explain to me how we justify women making, in some cases, only 66% of what men make for the same damn job within the context of HUMAN NATURE, we’ll have a discussion about this. Until this, I’m going to continue writing this off as the kind of thing people say when they feel uncomfy challenging the status quo.

“Besides my words being grossly twisted for a feminist agenda”

Because I couldn’t merely disagree with you on my own, no…it’d have to be a part of a larger agenda of some sort. You can’t just be wrong and I call that out, nah.

“I also made no mention as to what form of respect is owed to a person regardless of their looks, which you more than graciously decided to interpret.”

I don’t really have to interpret anything – you make it quite clear, again, in your comment:

“men (and women) treat strangers, aka people they have no obligation to have a relationship with (like family), with interest and respect according to some type of ranking system.”

This is still inappropriate. The idea that we should feel encouraged to “rank people,” and then use that internal ranking system as a way to determine how much we **respect** them? This is wildly inappropriate, no matter how you try to re-write the context.

“Therefore, the guy acted as most men do in a club, who do not find a particular woman attractive.”

In other words, “this is what men do, you gotta deal with that?”

LOL Ok. Good luck with that.

“In church, he probably would have given her a hug.”

You think so? I don’t. Not by a long shot.

Far too many people in this society are comfortable “ranking people” based on “attractiveness” to the point where they feel like an “unattractive” person’s politeness should be met with disrespect… that I most certainly don’t believe the same person would meet that SAME “unattractive” person’s politeness with full embrace outside of the club.

And, quite honestly, it’s not in the best interests of any woman who is a part of a marginalized group to perpetuate this kind of ridiculousness. As a black woman, the group often lambasted for being the “least attractive,” I’d have to fight tooth and nail to be respected simply because people “rank” whether or not they should give others “respect” based on “attractiveness.”

And does THAT RANK ever come into play with promotions, obtaining employment, or grad school acceptance rates? Only for women, it seems.

NOW do you see why your “human nature” and “rank and file” beliefs are a bit dangerous? Or is that all too feminist-y for you?

Chi July 3, 2014 - 11:18 AM

Hi Erika, I didn’t submit that comment to fight with you or disrespect you. I respect the site you have here and the positiveness you are trying to bring to black women. I am trying to build a website myself (not on this topic), but I see how much work it takes to uplift black women and help them deal with issues that are often in the community. I just didn’t want to turn these comments into personal attacks because they were not meant to be that way. I’m sorry if I did come off in that way because the last thing I want to be is an internet troll.

If you ask me what should happen, no I don’t think respect should be given based on what we look like. However, having been a lot of places, I know that this issue is not confined to American society, so I was merely pointing out human nature and something that I think has and will always exist. America is actually a better place to be, believe it or not. There are countries you go to where they are less concerned about political correctness and treating you fairly and people are allowed to say inflammatory things based on how you look and largely go unchecked. In other countries, they kill you if you are gay or if you have sex out of wedlock. Stuff that we couldn’t really comprehend because we are accustomed to this society.

I personally think the best way to attack this issue is teaching women how to deal with being slighted. If you were in the situation and the guy refused to talk to you, how do you begin to confront someone when they want nothing to do with you? Do you get angry and curse them out or do you have to learn to accept it and still love yourself and see yourself as beautiful despite the slight?

I watched a video today that I shared with a friend of mine, that was very sad but all too real. My friend has a daughter who is medium dark skinned, has she has admitted to him in jest that she uses lemons to try to lighten her skin, yet he jokes about being dark with her. I told him that it was inappropriate because that little girl will grow up believing she is less than worthy of respect and love. He told me it is something that I wouldn’t understand because I am African and it is done in the black community and that joking has no harm. I then told him I do a lot of reading and showed him a video on the doll test done to little kids where they were asked to choose between a white and black doll as far as which one was the prettiest and smartest. He completely understands now and thanked me.

I understand what you are trying to do, and maybe instead of putting down the effort (similar to how they said Michelle Obama is wasting her time growing a vegetable garden, trying to change school meals, and trying to rid this nation of food deserts) I should simply support your effort to the fullest even though I may not agree with certain ways you approach the problem.

Thank you for your time and I hope you take this in a positive manner and see that there is no sarcasm in my words.

Chi July 3, 2014 - 12:00 PM

And as for the comment that you have to fight tooth and nail to get any form of respect, I hate that you have to go through that.

My only thought would be (given that I don’t know you personally) is that we as women have to fight as women fight against men and not like men. I think that is very important. As many times as they call Michelle Obama manly and try to paint her as this angry black woman stereotype, she has exuded nothing but grace and elegance.

I don’t believe that you have to be a feminist to stand up for what you believe, and I believe that women who fight as men will get less results than women who fight as women, i.e. stay graceful and feminine while arguing their opinion. I would say that would be my biggest message if I had to answer your point. Men hear our words when we are civil and nurturing, and don’t hear our words when we are loud and aggressive. Women who look to men as examples of what it means to stand up for themselves will get bad results.

If it were me, and I truly wanted to stand up to the guy, I would go up to him and in a feminine way ask him: “Did I offend you? I’m sorry if I did, but I felt a little slighted back there and wondered if I offended you in some way” … blah blah.. let him speak. “I know I will never see you again, but my name is ___ blank ___ and it was a pleasure meeting you. You reminded me of my cousin Skeeter so I was dying to meet you when you first walked in until you gave me the cold shoulder.” LOL. I know it is cheesy, but it is a crafty way to let him know that he treated you wrong, while still taking the higher road in the process. And I think you will gain his respect way more by approaching it that way than by attempting to let him know he insulted you through other means.

Point is, when you stay feminine and use your words to uplift people, you tend to get your point across faster than any insult can. This will not always work, but it will work more times than the tempestuous type of reactions can.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 3, 2014 - 1:17 PM

“And as for the comment that you have to fight tooth and nail to get any form of respect, I hate that you have to go through that.”

Believe it or not, I don’t have to go through that much at all, but that’s because I have a “name.” Many women who don’t have that behind them DO experience this. Multimedia outlets enjoy publishing articles and essays about the unattractiveness, obesity, and homeliness of black women. Black women can’t acquire Hollywood roles that don’t have them painted as the metaphorical mules of the world. It’s easy for the average woman to feel like they ARE, in fact, disrespected regularly.

“My only thought would be (given that I don’t know you personally) is that we as women have to fight as women fight against men and not like men. I think that is very important.”

I don’t disagree. I also don’t have a problem spending time discussing why we have to fight gendered fights at all.

“I don’t believe that you have to be a feminist to stand up for what you believe, and I believe that women who fight as men will get less results than women who fight as women, i.e. stay graceful and feminine while arguing their opinion.”

This is a common anti-feminism argument, but one that I don’t understand. No part of feminism is anti-femininity, but what we define as “femininity” isn’t for everyone, male or female. All people should be able to choose what makes them happy as individuals – and if that means embracing femininity, then by all means! Please do! But you should know that many people who are paragons of femininity – Michelle Obama, for instance – have acknowledged themselves as feminists as well as believers in equality. In other words, I think you might have an idea of what feminism is that isn’t quite the same as what I’m down with, so I can’t debate you, only explain that I may not be where you think I am.

“If it were me, and I truly wanted to stand up to the guy, I would go up to him and in a feminine way ask him: “Did I offend you? I’m sorry if I did, but I felt a little slighted back there and wondered if I offended you in some way” … blah blah.. let him speak.”

But, according to your own words, if you were the woman in the article, you wouldn’t be deserving of respect, femininity or not, because you “rank lowly.” So, supposing you’re the woman in the article, and he responds poorly to you again – because, again, according to your own words, this is what men in the club do to unattractive women – how does that rejection make you feel? What happens when that rejection starts to become a regularly occurring thing? How does that damage your psyche?

For all we know, the woman in the article used to BE that kind of woman until this kind of event happened one too many times, shaming her into silence. What then?

Erika Nicole Kendall July 3, 2014 - 1:31 PM

I can respect the apology and the sentiment. I truly can. I also am not hostile towards honest debate, but I AM hostile towards comments that seem to disrespect the community and what we’re trying to build. When people come back and are honest about their intentions, I can dial it back a bit.

“If you ask me what should happen, no I don’t think respect should be given based on what we look like. However, having been a lot of places, I know that this issue is not confined to American society, so I was merely pointing out human nature and something that I think has and will always exist. America is actually a better place to be, believe it or not. ”

We have to be careful with this – “America is better than 85% of the rest of the world” doesn’t mean that America should go with its current policy flaws, cultural flaws and social ills unchecked. We didn’t become that great nation by acquiescing to the majority. We grew, evolved, and met the needs of the public, as we should. We still have a long way to go, and being better-than-most doesn’t absolve us of that responsibility, IMO.

“He told me it is something that I wouldn’t understand because I am African and it is done in the black community and that joking has no harm. I then told him I do a lot of reading and showed him a video on the doll test done to little kids where they were asked to choose between a white and black doll as far as which one was the prettiest and smartest. He completely understands now and thanked me.”

But, if you’ll see, this is exactly what I’m talking about with size discrimination and the desire to “rank” people’s abilities and personhood and deservingness of respect based on their size. Joking with someone based on their skin color isn’t necessarily “something done in the black community” – it is something done in American society (and, really, ANY society that held African slaves) because American society prides and praises fairer skin. His jokes weren’t jokes -they were a manifestation of that. Fairer skinned blacks deal with it, too – from people who think that making fairer-skinned folks feel bad about themselves is how to respond to/cope with the discrimination darker-sinned people feel.

Society makes people who are far from an “ideal” feel less than, and we should be sensitive to that AND do what we can do change the parts of society that makes this kind of thing okay. People use this kind of thinking and feeling to try to shame people into compliance, which is why you have people in COUNTLESS parts of the world bleaching their skin to align with a standard that doesn’t suit them. It’s also why you have countless people developing eating disorders as a form of weight loss or weight maintenance. They are both cousins of the same problem.

Chi July 3, 2014 - 4:21 PM

My heart goes out to anyone who is made to feel less than human because of the way they look. Rejection undoubtedly hurts and makes a person question their self-worth.

You asked me the following: “according to your own words, this is what men in the club do to unattractive women – how does that rejection make you feel? What happens when that rejection starts to become a regularly occurring thing? How does that damage your psyche? For all we know, the woman in the article used to BE that kind of woman until this kind of event happened one too many times, shaming her into silence. What then?”

I think we should distinguish between this woman, who this man is unattracted to, and an unattractive woman. Beauty is relative and not every man perceives bigger women as ugly. I know for one that a lot of African men love bigger women and reject the super skinny ideal that has swept this country.

His actions are definitely damaging to her psyche, but how does challenging him resolve that pain? If you are speaking of “challenge” in the figurative sense and stating that she should challenge her notion of self-worth that this man may have denied her of, then yes, she should challenge that.

But as you see, there is not an easy answer. What does a “challenge” look like in this situation? Is it a slap, is it a simple rolling of her eyes, is it a brazen and heated conversation? What is challenge? And will it heal her broken heart?

Men are callous and crass. They act first and think later. They understand our emotions as our equal halves, but they put our feelings on the line with their inconsiderate actions. I have a lot of male cousins (like a number well over 60), and I have different relationships with each of them. Some treat me as a princess and others make fun of my “big forehead”. At the end of the day, I love them all and stand behind them 100% because I trust them and know they have good intentions.

When I read your post, I see a lot of stories, but one that stands out to me the most, is the fact that these women all feel betrayed by men and don’t know how to handle being attracted to the very beings that have caused them so much pain. I can’t speak for their situations, but I do (believe) that I understand the black American situation, and I understand that the very men who these women complain of, are the very ones that chose the white picture when asked “who is the smartest/prettiest/most liked by adults”.

Those same boys become men, and they are hurting too just like you all are. When I am dealing with something my fiance said that I don’t like, I can aggress him and get angry, but what truly works is when I give him a hug and let him understand that I know his pain.

I just want black men and black women to stop hating each other when the source of their pain and their ability to succeed can be solved by supporting each other. Both the man and the woman in the story are scarred. They are scarred in ways they will never understand.

The solution is to raise young boys who understand where they come from, understand the value of black women, and treat them with respect. Black men have to hide their attraction to other races, due to American standards of beauty, as hatred for their own kind. That is where the true problem lies.

I don’t have a direct answer to your question, but I think both genders should treat each other with respect and we as women may have to lead that crusade by talking to our brothers and cousins and letting them know how powerful their actions affect women so they can be more considerate of the women they will meet.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 3, 2014 - 6:35 PM

“I think we should distinguish between this woman, who this man is unattracted to, and an unattractive woman.”

I don’t, because then you change the context, and the context is key to understanding the argument. Change the context, and you change the argument entirely…and I’m not interested in having that conversation in the comments to THIS post.

“Men are callous and crass.”

The “boys will be boys” argument lets me n off the hook for being scumbags. I expect more of the men around me, and I’m so glad they deliver every single time.

Jen August 28, 2014 - 9:09 AM

Such an amazing article… Lots of spot on things said and a bit heartbreaking. Sadly, the thing I come away from all this though… Is the issues with color more than anything. It seems like you, and you make it seem like so many others, are SO bent up on getting together with another black man or an individual of same ethnic heritage. If there are only TWELVE good black men out there, maybe branch out? I mean… Your views on feminism and body weight sort-of blow my mind on how much wisdom you have, yet you fall short in this area – I feel. In my mind, color really is so silly to give a lot of relevance to. I can’t imagine being “against” dating a prospect of different racial heritage than my own. It’s limiting yourself when there’s no need to, and separating yourself from other human beings by default. If a good guy comes your way, screw what color he is… Maybe you’ll have a wider rage of options.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 28, 2014 - 12:41 PM

“If there are only TWELVE good black men out there, maybe branch out?”

This is exactly the point – there AREN’T only twelve good black men out there, and I’m not willing to denigrate an entire race of men as an excuse to justify dating another. You don’t need an excuse to date whomever you please – and you don’t need to justify it. You for damn sure don’t need to dis a whole swath of a country in order to do it.

“color really is so silly to give a lot of relevance to”

It is, but I think we need context and compassion to understand why people “give relevance” to it when dating.

I’ve dated men of multiple races – not because there’s something wrong with black men, but because these were men who were in close proximity to me and made the connection – and I have loved ones who have married interracially. People don’t understand how class affects who people date – the fact of the matter is, many black folks aren’t in environments where dating interracially is an option, and that’s not much fault of their own. Asking people who don’t have the cultural chops to “go date white guys” means going outside of their community, outside of their culture, outside of their socioeconomic status, and trying to “pass” in a completely different environment.

And, while some can do it, many don’t.

If you look at successful interracial couples, they’re usually coming from families with the same socioeconomic status. They have similar experiences, they have similar backgrounds, they can relate to one another. You gonna go out with someone who looks down on your family, and your family is important to you?

Dating outside of your race is hard when people date based on proximity AND “attractiveness,” and if there are no non-blacks in your environment then you’re out of your comfort zone, and no one’s going to sacrifice comfort just for a piece of a relaionship (since ‘comfort’ is a central piece.)

The fct of the matter is, despite all the “it’s okay to date interracially!” rhetoric, many people still don’t and the above is why. So that’s how I discuss it.

Perhaps it’s not my views that are falling short in this area.

Greta September 1, 2014 - 11:18 AM

You were beautiful heavier and you’re beautiful now, you just look different. Love your blog!

eve September 8, 2014 - 12:13 PM

this is the most thought provoking, real, conversation I have had been near all day….kudo, Erika…keep ’em coming…

Kate September 12, 2014 - 2:08 AM

I agree with you, it is definitely frustrating to know that some men ignored you because of your looks or body and if you happen to meet their criteria they will start giving interest to you. That was one of the reasons before why I resist to lose weight but then I’ve thought, I would be defeated just because of their crap? Hell no! And so I’ve lost weight and now that these men were back I gotta slap the reality in their face that they are too shallow-minded, that they didn’t deserve my attention because they don’t love or care for me for who I am, they only see and want of what I am.

Kate R. September 13, 2014 - 1:07 PM

thirdly, I think she’ll be more skeptical of the men she does encounter in wondering if they would like her if she was heavier…and what that says about their character.

Excerpted from “Dating While Fat And Feminist,” And The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight – A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

But does not being attracted to an overweight person really say very much about character? As for the example of the woman in the club, being disrespected and ignored – it does say something about the character of a person who would treat another person this way simply because they found them to be unattractive. I completely agree with that – you shouldn’t only treat people well if you want something from them. However, in terms of having to question/judge people for wanting to date someone/being attracted to someone after they lost weight but not being attracted to heavier people – is this really a sign of a character flaw? Perhaps in a perfect world people wouldn’t care at all about looks, but I think everyone does. And everyone is entitled to their preferences, which is something that I think you also say in your article. So if a guy/girl was a jerk to you before you became attractive in their eyes and now is trying to make amends, then obviously you shouldn’t trust them because of the fact that they are jerks to people that they don’t want something from – not because they are only attracted to thin people. The latter by itself is, in my opinion, perfectly fine.

Erika Nicole Kendall September 13, 2014 - 10:25 PM

“But does not being attracted to an overweight person really say very much about character?”

There’s a thin line between not being attracted to someone based on their size, and believing a person is deserving of disrespect for it. And, until you experience both sides of the coin, it’s hard to say that it wouldn’t make you question the people who ARE attracted to you and whether or not they’d be on some other foolishness if they’d met you when you were larger.

“is this really a sign of a character flaw?”

The degree to which they fixate on appearance, sometimes seemingly at the expense of other traits FAR more important to the success of a long-term relationship, can absolutely come across as a character flaw. If nothing else, potentially a red flag: this person might not be ready for (or interested in) what I am.

“Perhaps in a perfect world people wouldn’t care at all about looks, but I think everyone does.”

The degree to which a person’s appearance affects your ability to respect their humanity is what determines, to me, whether or not you’re being a scumbag for it. You can care about appearances or looks all you want. It does not give you the right to deny another person’s humanity and not even afford them common courtesy.

People keep trying to tootsie roll around my point, looking for an excuse to treat people poorly based on their appearance. It’s gross. Just hang it up, already.

Kate R. September 14, 2014 - 2:45 PM

With all due respect, it seems you are “tootsie rolling” around my point. I say quite clearly that not being attracted to a person is no excuse to treat them poorly but if someone simply wasn’t interested in dating you when you were heavier (but was never rude to you about it) and now is looking at you in a new light, is that person really doing anything objectionable? I am not attracted to a lot of character and appearance traits – I never date shorter guys, for instance – does it mean I am a jerk to them? No! Is it disgusting or “gross” of me to not be interested and politely decline if someone who is shorter than me asks me out and I know for a fact that it won’t work because for me the spark isn’t there? The difference with weight is it is something that is more fluid so, whereas a guy/girl who used to be turned down for being short/tall will never experience changing their height and suddenly appealing to people who weren’t interested in that way before, a person who has been at multiple weights will appeal to different groups at different weights. Again, not condoning rudeness, just saying it shouldn’t be a surprise (or something to be angry about) that you can’t appeal to all the people all the time. To reiterate (and then I’ll “hang it up”) I am not rude, nor do I condone being rude, to people who I am not attracted to but I see nothing wrong with a person who wouldn’t have thought of you in a romantic way when you were heavier suddenly being interested (or more to the original point, people who didn’t even know you when you were heavier being attracted to you now and you needing to worry “what if they wouldn’t have liked me at my heaviest?” – I think it is a bit much to expect people everyone to be interested in possibly dating you regardless of how you look or their personal preferences, which seems to be what you’re advocating by implying there would be something wrong with a person not wanting to date a heavier version of someone).

Erika Nicole Kendall September 14, 2014 - 2:53 PM

“With all due respect, it seems you are “tootsie rolling” around my point.”

No. Not even close.

You asked direct questions, and I answered them within the context of what I wrote. You reneged on your OWN point in looking for a way to justify being unattracted to an overweight person. I *reminded* you that I don’t care about who you’re attracted to – although, it should be noted that ‘attraction’ has a component directly related to stereotypes and socialization – but that what matters most is respecting another human being’s humanity. For some reason, you value short men less than taller men; it’s no surprise to me that this falls right in like with what society finds acceptable AND IDEAL in men.

You want to conflate other unrelated issues and look for a gray area. I’m insisting that that’s irrelevant. Gray ares are for individual people to determine on their own because, while these might be experiences that we all can relate to on a macro level, these are choices made for each individual and what they are willing to accept. I’m not going to give a generalized answer on a gray area – it’s gray because it’s not so simple.

“I think it is a bit much to expect people everyone to be interested in possibly dating you regardless of how you look”

Okay, sis. Go with that. Just go with that.

Kate R. September 14, 2014 - 3:06 PM

You reneged on your OWN point in looking for a way to justify being unattracted to an overweight person.

Excerpted from “Dating While Fat And Feminist,” And The Nasty Things You Learn About People After You Lose Weight – A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

First off, why would I even need to justify not being attracted to a person? Which is kind of my point. And secondly, no, I did not renege. The entire point of my first post was that lack of attraction doesn’t equal lack of respect and while the former is ok the second is not. I said that clearly. You, however, kept equating the two and said I was looking for a way to justify being rude to overweight people. So I then replied to say that was in no way my point – I am stating that you need to be respectful towards everyone but in no way are obligated to find everything attractive. This is something you seem to go back and forth on, because you do say that people can have preferences, but then you say that there would be something wrong about a man liking a woman now but not when she was heavier and then you say to me that I am trying to justify not being attracted to overweight people (which actually I think needs no justification but apparently you think it does) and that because I am not attracted to someone I must value them less. Do I also value the elderly less? Apparently for you the marker of whether I find someone worthy of respect and valuable as a human being is whether I want to get with them. Very confusing.

Erika Nicole Kendall September 14, 2014 - 3:30 PM

“The entire point of my first post was that lack of attraction doesn’t equal lack of respect and while the former is ok the second is not.”

Okay. My response the FIRST time:

“There’s a thin line between not being attracted to someone based on their size, and believing a person is deserving of disrespect for it. […] The degree to which they fixate on appearance, sometimes seemingly at the expense of other traits FAR more important to the success of a long-term relationship, can absolutely come across as a character flaw.”

My response the SECOND time:

“I don’t care about who you’re attracted to – although, it should be noted that ‘attraction’ has a component directly related to stereotypes and socialization – but that what matters most is respecting another human being’s humanity.”

I don’t know why you think “respecting another human being’s humanity” translates into wanting to “get with” them, but it doesn’t.

“You, however, kept equating the two and said I was looking for a way to justify being rude to overweight people.”

“I am stating that you need to be respectful towards everyone but in no way are obligated to find everything attractive.”

For starters, we are talking about PEOPLE, not things. Furthermore, I am outright telling you – and have said it repeatedly – that the degree to which a person fixates on appearance is, unequivocally, grounds for being considered a character flaw and a red flag. Yes. Emphasis on “the degree to which a person fixates.”

“I am trying to justify not being attracted to overweight people (which actually I think needs no justification but apparently you think it does)”

I, again, couldn’t care any less who or what you are attracted to, here – if anything, this highlights what you think about people who you AREN’T attracted to; that perhaps they aren’t worth your time of day or common basic courtesy, and you seem to be appalled at the notion of being respectful to people whose bones you don’t want to jump. I will say it again: I don’t care what [qualities] you find attractive. Attractiveness shouldn’t be the base determinant for whether or not you can be kind to another human being. And, yes, you can turn down the advances of a seemingly unattractive person and still respect their humanity.

I said, and I quote: “You can care about appearances or looks all you want. It does not give you the right to deny another person’s humanity and not even afford them common courtesy.”

If you cannot see the wide chasm between “worthy of respect and valuable as a human being” and “I want to get with them,” that’s not my problem. That doesn’t change the fact that the chasm is there.

I only spin around the merry-go-round so many times before my head starts to hurt, so… be well, friend. I think we’re done here.

Kate R. September 14, 2014 - 3:50 PM

“you seem to be appalled at the notion of being respectful to people whose bones you don’t want to jump”

Yikes. Really? Every. Single. Comment. I have written has emphasized how I do not think respect=desirability and how I IN NO WAY condone being rude to anyone. And this is your thought out response? That I am appalled at having to be nice to people I don’t want to get with? OK, yes, if you are only going to construct straw man arguments that you can easily take down and make the people you are “debating” (if we can even call it that when played this way) look like jerks who are saying I shouldn’t have to be nice if I don’t want to date him/her (hello – exact opposite of what I said) then yes, indeed, we are done. Your blog, your sandbox, your rules, but I honestly expected better. Unsubscribed.

Erika Nicole Kendall September 14, 2014 - 4:17 PM

“I honestly expected better. Unsubscribed.”

LOL Let me add the /troll for you.

“make the people you are “debating” (if we can even call it that when played this way) look like jerks who are saying I shouldn’t have to be nice if I don’t want to date him/her”

I said, and I quote – AGAIN – “I will say it again: I don’t care what [qualities] you find attractive. Attractiveness shouldn’t be the base determinant for whether or not you can be kind to another human being. And, yes, you can turn down the advances of a seemingly unattractive person and still respect their humanity.”

Why are we even doing this? What is the point? You want me to co-sign you 100%, and since you can’t get it, you want to snark me and tell me you unsubscribed?

Okay, friend. I can tell this conversation is very taxing on you mentally, so I’m glad that – in the interest of your own personal mental health and self-care – you are unsubscribing. I wish you well in your endeavors, and I hope you realize how pointless this repeated back and forth is, particularly since you strategically ignored every. single. comment I left and how it clarified (or tried to, for crying out loud) for you what you were missing.

Again, be well. Let’s not do this any more, ok?

No, seriously.

B November 5, 2014 - 8:43 AM

Thank you for sharing this. I know this is an old posting, but reading it struck so many chords with me and my own journey. I, too, went through some personal and painful things when I was a child, much of which affected me deeply – in the way I see myself, in the way I react to men, and my heart still breaks sometimes.

On being a BG:
It’s painful to me because most of my friends are encouraging and wonderful people – the females anyway. My family are with me all the way because they love me and don’t want to see me be sad or locked out of potential career, business, dating opportunities. I respect them for their efforts, even though sometimes I wish that people would not just see you as your clothing size.

On social interactions as a BG:
I think a lot of people underestimate the value of just talking to someone because they are seem nice, and not just because of their physical appearance. I agree with the original post when you’re trying to talk to a man and be already dismissed you because he doesn’t see you as sexually attractive.

To recount an experience I had about a year ago: I met a man who wasn’t at all interested in me romantically. When he met me, he made a beeline for me because he felt I looked like an interesting person. We hung out some times on that basis as well. I remember being puzzled by his behaviour because most of the men I’d met up till then would only talk to me if they absolutely had to.

On the other side of it, I recently met a guy that doesn’t fall within my typical set of sexual preferences. We struck up a conversation one day, and let me tell you – I was completely bowled away by the man! His physical imperfections did not bother me – I just liked talking with him. I didn’t think to myself “well, he’s cute and charming for a chubby guy” or “well, I suppose this is the best that I can do, let me be grateful for whatever I get” – I just thought “wow, what a nice guy!”

Meeting both of these men was a refreshing experience, and that in and of itself is a real shame. People should talk to other people because they are humans, not because they could potentially be worth having sleeping with. Fine, everyone has the different things they’re attracted to in people. But your sexual preference should NOT stop you from believing those that don’t fit into your physical requirements are not funny, interesting, lovely people.

I’m still on my WL journey – long road ahead of me, as I feel like in starting over for the billionth time – but I focus on being and making myself happy. I sidestep the negative images and naysayers, the well-meaning friends and relatives that try to detract me from my goal or make me feel “less than” because I’m not under a size 10. I welcome the ones that take the time to see me as I truly am – a strong, independent woman with battle scars, who loves life and living. Who happens to be a BG. NOT the other way around.

B November 5, 2014 - 9:07 AM

*slow clap*

Very well said, Ericka

KayM November 11, 2014 - 6:28 AM

I just happened to stumble across your website and decided to poke around, and after reading a bit I am glad I did so. Even though I am not part of the community, reading about these girl’s experience really hit home for me. I am a chubby latina and I’ve put on the pounds since I’ve moved to the US. I am trying to lose weight, partly due to health problems and a family history of diabetes, strokes AND heart attacks but mostly due to the fact that I’m tired of feeling unwanted (and isn’t it sad that societal pressure and loneliness influences me more than potential death or serious problems in the future if I don’t change my habits?)

But anyways, I’ve been trying to lose weight but it’s been hard. For the longest time, I lacked the motivation and company to work out and get healthy and now that I have it, the fact that I work at a fast food restaurant really puts a wrench on my plans. Seems like there is always something stopping me from getting started, it’s like ”oh! I should start working out next week since I have a test on tuesday and need to study” or ”It’s already wednesday, I should wait to start next week” or my favorite ”this will be my last weekend eating unhealthy food so I had better eat everything I like so I don’t get tempted later”. Seems like there is always something but I am trying to be strong and resist temptation and I’ve lost 10 pounds in this last week just by taking things slow.

Right now, I am about a size 10 which is not bad however when my 5ft height is factored into the equation, together with the mainstream idea of beautiful being a size 0-4, then the problem is obvious. My whole life, I’ve been chubby. I grew up with mean comments from relatives, nicknames like ”potato” and comparison to more intelligent and “skinny” family members. It wasn’t until recently when I saw an acquaintance’s transformation on social media that it hit me that if he could lose 50 lbs in 6 months and look great (and feel great) then so could I. This epiphany, one could say, could have hit me earlier but I guess when you’ve been chubby your whole life you just kind of get used to it and don’t fully realize that change is possible if you work at it (I had hoped it would happen naturally during adolescence but I’ve had to face reality now that I’m in my 20s).

I found that I have similar experiences with some of the girls who gave testimonials here. When I go out with a group of friends I am the ‘fat’ one and am always overlooked. And while I don’t think any of us (well, I hope at least) goes out clubbing hoping to find their prince charming, their ‘principe azul’, being passed over by drunk guys kind of crushes our (my) self esteem just a little bit every time it obviously happens.

I am not one to usually let things get to me but lately I can’t help it. When I usually go out to clubs I am the one who has the most energy and will dance with anybody, as it’s usually a great way to make friends with people. Lately however, I’ve just tried to keep to myself instead of dancing with others because I got tired of being used. Used by guys trying to get into our little group by dancing with me then ditching me to go dance with one of my ‘skinny’ friends. This has happened so many times and it’s awkward as hell, when you go out with a group of 6 other girls and in the middle of the night find yourself dancing alone because they are all either getting hit on or have some guy rubbing up against them, leaving you looking like the unwanted leftover in the corner. Which is the point where you go up to the bar to get a drink until one of them realize you disappear and find you at the edge of the dance floor. This situation is just sad and while I don’t want to get hit on by a drunk douche bag, I would like to be acknowledged by my friend’s friend when we are introduced and have a conversation, instead of just being glanced and ditched for the ‘skinny’ one.

I wouldn’t usually unload everything to strangers but it just seems like the people in my life just don’t get it. I constantly have my fellow latino coworkers ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend. My answer is always “I’m busy with school/work/a project” or “guys are too much drama”. Thing is, I don’t really get a lot of offers and I’m not about to throw myself at somebody just because I feel lonely. Not that I’m adverse to asking a guy out (as I have done so in the past, thrown caution to the wind and gotten their numbers or texted first when they -rarely- asked for mine), I’m not waiting for prince charming or anything but my issue is that the guys I am usually attracted to are not attracted to me (can we guess why girls?) and if I can’t have who I want, then I would rather be by myself.

Truthfully, I’ve always wanted to lose weight but always thought that it just wouldn’t happen because while there is pressure to be skinny and I’ve been told to eat less and exercise more (“we eat to live not to die Kay”) I’ve also been told that this is my body type and I should just get used to it. Or as my ‘skinny’ friend -who took a women empowering class but just doesn’t get it – says “we all have different body types and the world just has to accept you for the way you are because you are beautiful”. She lives in an ideal world where people love us and are attracted to us not by our outer beauty but by our inner beauty. A part of me always goes like “What does she know anyway?” She has skinny privilege, has always been skinny and petite with good curves and to top it off, a good personality (she is a sweetie). She says that I am beautiful because she loves me but the rejection I face almost on the daily (well, week-endly) shows me that while she seems me as beautiful, men see the outer shell and don’t seem to find me nearly as ”attractive”. Which means that I need to change myself because in a society where first impressions and online dating puts all of the focus on image, ”attractiveness” is what really matters.

coleen pearson January 17, 2015 - 12:41 PM

post a picture of yourself why don’t you?

Dee April 16, 2015 - 1:42 AM

I don’t know how I stumbled on a blog post from 2012, but I just have to comment and say that this post is insightful, kind, and so so true. My experience is the opposite, but a similar story. I went from a whole life of being petite, pretty, and just a little chubby, to short and fat. 50lbs in the space of few years.

The difference in how people treat me is astounding. Even salespeople in stores are noticeably less friendly and helpful. With dating, I was used to 90% requests for a second date; now it’s 10%. I was used to inspiring excitement in men at the start of a new relationship; now they are barely attentive. It’s devastating to my sense of self-worth, even while I know better.

Dating feels impoverished and I even hold back my own heart in anticipation of rejection. I hate that I do that, because it feels not true to myself, but I learned quickly to protect myself.

I don’t have any grand insights from that except that I’m exactly the same person I was in every way except 50lbs of extra fat, but my place in the world is entirely different. It’s gross both ways.

ThinnerandHealthy July 4, 2015 - 12:42 AM

I used to be overweight in college and men, specifically Black men, would completely ignore me. I don’t mind someone not having an interest in me, but they would turn their heads and would not speak at all even though I sat next to them in class, etc. Again, I didn’t expect for a man to be interested in me while I was overweight, but at the least, a head nod to acknowledge my existence when walking around campus – even a man would give that to another man. The strangest thing about this is non-Black men would acknowledge me outside of class, invite me for coffee, and even some actually expressed an interest in me while I was still overweight… even fitness-minded non-Black men.

However, now that I am thin, Black men (some of the same ones that would not even acknowledge me as a person) show an interest and then expect me to jump through hoops to be with them. The fact that they would not even speak to an overweight woman says a lot about them. Why would I want them now? If I married one of those guys, would they stop speaking to me while pregnant because I would be too big to be acknowledged? Would we have to go a whole two years with him not speaking to me until I was the “regular” size (nine months carrying the child plus about 9 – 12 months of losing the 30 pounds that the average woman gains)? Furthermore, I would be very wary of dating this type of man because people change over time – despite their best efforts. What if a woman were to be slim and then develop PCOS or some hormonal disorder that makes simply not being obese a challenge, let alone being thin?

Yes, I am happy to be healthy and I am happy to be with someone who likes me now but wouldn’t break up with me if I happened to gain five pounds or temporarily gained weight due to an illness. I consider myself fortunate to some degree because being fat in the past really opened my eyes to the manner in which men really think. Suppose that I was slim all of my life – I would not know the superficial men from the real ones and I may have ended up with one of those ‘prejudiced’ men and ran into a surprise if I became pregnant!

SG September 10, 2015 - 10:25 AM

I just came across this article and had the same thought as honey. I’ve ranged in size from 14-28, and have always dated and received attention from so-called “desirable” black men, and I know it’s because I’m light with long, wavy hair and, for some men, that means the fat is less of a “strike” against me. It is indeed colorism. I think back to one time in high school–a friend of mine, a beautiful plus-sized, brown-skinned girl was talking about how much she hated a guy on the basketball team who she said was constantly making fun of her and being rude to her because of her weight. I was bigger than her, so I said, “I don’t get it–he’s always so nice to me.” She said “That’s because you’re light and he thinks you’re pretty.” A lot of black folks are color struck.

That said, the amount of attention I get as someone over 300 pounds is nowhere near what I used to receive when I was closer to 200. I’m not drowning in options, but I recognize that I have the “advantage” that honey speaks of, and agree that it’s disgusting.

SG September 10, 2015 - 10:32 AM

This just blew my mind. Absolutely something I struggle with. Great example.

Luvlai September 11, 2015 - 11:07 PM


Pauline July 25, 2017 - 4:35 PM

I have always struggled to control my fat content, but not so much for the same reasons as listed above. Yes, it is nice to be ‘attractive’, but mostly, I hated knowing my best years for physical performance and active lifestyle were passing, and I was trying to keep up with my peers while carting 30-100# of body fat that didn’t do anything but hold me back.

I get leaner, and I glory in what my body can do. I gain fat, and I’m always tired. I get leaner, and I have more energy and I’m always game for a new adventure. I gain fat, and I would tell my husband to go walk the dog without me because I was too tired. The athletic abilities I never doubted lean, abandon me when all life is superheavyduty Murph. Hell, I am literally dumber when I carry more body fat.

I don’t hate people who have extra body fat, but I know the artificial limits the extra body fat imposes, and I can’t imagine saying losing that fat and removing the life handcuffs is “giving in to the Patriarchy” in any sense but the most spiteful.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 5, 2017 - 10:16 AM

“I can’t imagine saying losing that fat and removing the life handcuffs is “giving in to the Patriarchy” in any sense but the most spiteful.”

If you think calling out a double standard reinforced by a social system that prioritizes the needs, well being, and desires of one half of society over the other in perpetuity is about “spite” instead of equality, then I’m not sure exactly how much of this conversation you actually read.

I’m, honestly, not sure how many books you’ve bothered to read on the subject, either.

There are myriad benefits to losing weight and living a healthier life. That doesn’t mean that it’s flawed, problematic, and frankly punishing that you have to be thin in order to experience some of the things a leaner body exposes you to. It’s doubly problematic that we isolate and shame people who don’t buy into that system and don’t want their body size tied to social benefits… because that isolation and shame often send people right back into the habits that make it difficult for them to do what their bodies may very well need.

No one is making a judgment on those who do, in your words (and expressly not mine), give in to the patriarchy. The bargain is real, and women have to do what they must in order to survive. The question is, for the future, how do we make this more equitable and less isolating for larger women? What contributes to the imbalance? How can we support people towards healthier lives without the pressure of shame and potential mistreatment?

The idea that feminism is about spite is the kind of bullshit that lingers among people who don’t bother to inform themselves of the varying positions held by those of us who do believe in and support equality. It’s lazy. I don’t know why I’m supposed to take your position seriously if you can’t bother to research mine.

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