Friday, May 3, 2013

BBW

"You should get a bikini," Will said to me yesterday after we looked at some porn together.

My belly hasn't seen the sun since I was our six-year-old daughter Katie's age.  I threw out my shorts in my late twenties when I saw a picture of what I at the time thought were my monstrous thighs.  When the OB on staff at the hospital where I had been in labor for nineteen hours said Katie was stuck and I needed to have a C-section, I laughed through my tears when she said, "the incision will be right below your bikini line" as if I planned on ever wearing a two-piece in public again.

Now I've got my husband whispering crazy notions into my ear and getting me thinking, Should I?

Apparently they do make plus-size bikinis.  Today on my Facebook news feed I found this photo, shared by ABC 7 Chicago:

Photo: Facebook


From ABC 7 Chicago's photo caption:

The average size of American women is 12-14.  Now clothing retailer H&M is making waves with their recent swimsuit ads featuring a plus-size model.  What do you think about the ad?  "Like" if you think it's refreshing to see an average sized swimsuit model!

Women's bodies of all sizes have been throughout history routinely scrutinized by society.  But it seems lately there's been an insurgence of so-called fat chicks all over the news.  Just a week ago I read this blog post about how CBS Houston had polled readers on whether or not Kelsey, a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls cheer leading squad, is too fat to cheer:

Photo: BlogHer


It feels judgy for someone criticizing societal body scrutiny to say it, but puh-lease.  If these two women above are fat, I don't know what you'd call me.

That's why I appreciate this blog post by The Militant Baker, which she calls "Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls...So I Will."  She's fat.  She's hot.  She's confident.  She's in charge.


Maybe I just like it because I see myself in her.  She's reading.  And it's her own personal blog.  It's not something someone who gets paid to sell news posted on some mainstream site.  And it says affirming things such as this:

You are fucking beautiful. I'm saying this with a straight face and seriously meaningful look where I maintain eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time. I know you don't feel like you fit into the category of gorgeous that our world creates. I know that its hard. I know that its a daily battle. But fuck their fascist beauty standards. The second you stop looking for a skinny model in your mirror and start looking at YOU... is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. You are perfect. You are more than enough. You are the best thing that has ever happened to you. And you are fucking beautiful.

Affirmations help.  It's good to be reminded of your beauty.  Who'da known, though, that I'd find the porn my husband shares with me to be so self-esteem building?

Will tells me I'm beautiful all the time.  Until he shared some dirty pictures of fat chicks with me, though, I brushed off Will's comments.  He's too easy.  He loves everyone.  He thinks all women are hot.  He's the chef who thinks anyone can cook.  He's the singer who claims everyone can sing.  He's the handsome man who thinks all women are beautiful.

He's the guy who, early on in our dating life, took me to meet "one of the most beautiful people" he claimed to have ever met, a woman named Bobbi who lived in the Ozarks where she tended an organic garden and lived in a cabin with her hippie husband Mike.  Will had met this "beautiful person" at a bluegrass festival when they were camping neighbors.  He wanted me to meet her, so he drove me to their home one afternoon.

Will is a man of few words.  A friend of his said something about Will once that sums him up quite well: "You don't say much, but when you do say something it's important."  The important message Will had given me was that we were on a trip to meet his beautiful friend.  I filled in the blanks with my imagination.  My sad, socially-constructed idea of what it means to be beautiful.  So when we hopped out of the car and walked up to the front porch, I was surprised to receive a bear hug from this wrinkled, dirty, toothless old woman.  When she released me from our embrace, Will made the introductions.

"Becky, meet Bobbi.  Bobbi, Becky."

Oh, inner beauty, I thought to myself.  That's what Will was talking about all along.

But he wasn't.  Later, on the car ride home, when I mentioned to Will how sweet it was that he had touted his friend Bobbi as such a beauty queen when what he meant was she's a beautiful soul, he smiled at me the way he does when I say stupid things, a little pitifully, and said, "That's not what I meant.  I mean she's beautiful through and through.  Outside and in."

I didn't get it.  This twenty-one year old stud with long blond hair and piercing blue eyes thinks a fifty-something prune of an old lady is beautiful?  This one's a keeper, I thought to myself.

I've always been interested in the other women Will finds attractive, so sometimes I throw him a bone and look at naughty naked online photos with him.  I like the photo galleries better than the videos he's shown me.  I tend to appreciate my own imagination more than I do what the director wants to show me, so to me still photos are more erotic than videos.  Videos are too much for someone who has trouble getting her rocks of visually.

I'm not a big fan of most porn.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those people who thinks porn should be censored or banned from adults in any way.  The People Vs. Larry Flynt is one of my favorite movies.  I'm a proponent of intellectual freedom and I understand one person's trash is another person's treasure.  I don't like porn because I'm not a visual person.  Erotica?  Yes, please.  I love reading sexy stories.  Watching people have sex just doesn't do it for me.  I find myself wincing and thinking things like, ugh, that's gonna itch when the hair starts to grow out.

So I'm picky about porn, but not opposed to it.  In fact, I'm surprised by how much better I feel about myself when I look at naked pictures of other women.  Will found one site in particular that has a subsection entitled BBW that has raised my awareness that not just health comes in all sizes but hotness comes in all sizes too.  Smokin' hot.  I'm serious.  I look at these pictures and I say to myself, Wow, if these chicks are hot, I must be hot too.

It's the weirdest thing.  Usually I feel worse about myself when I compare myself to others.  But when I look at pictures of naked Big Beautiful Women, I feel good about myself too.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't give a fuck what society says is hot.   For me, it's not whether you're fat or thin or really what your body looks like.  Confidence is sexy.  Flaunt it, and you've got it.