I’ve been thinking about writing a post on this for months, but was given a kick in the pants by a post on Big Fat Deal titled ‘Fat Fetishists on Tyra’.
First of all, we need to work out our definitions. There are very clear differences between fat admiration (a preference for fat people), fat fetishism (can only be aroused by fat), and feederism (actively wanting/making your partner fatter). People have used these terms interchangeably and they shouldn’t.
More than anything, my problem with the whole Tyra thing (that bastion of media integrity) is that those who are attracted to fat women are considered so odd, their preferences considered so bizarre, that they have a whole segment dedicated to them. Really, Tyra? REALLY? You wouldn’t base a segment on men who prefer blondes, so you’re revealing yourself to be incredibly judgemental by treating fat admiration as an ‘issue’ to be dissected.
Straight up: I have no problem whatsoever with fat admirers. I was introduced to the online fat admiration scene by a boy. At that time, my self-esteem wasn’t the best – I tolerated my body, but I certainly didn’t love it. I figured guys were attracted to me in spite of my body, not because of it. As taboo as this is to admit in the Fatosphere, it was a huuuuuuge revelation to find that people not only thought I was sexy, but preferred my fat self.
Don’t get me wrong – some guys on those websites are creeps. I’d get ridiculous messages that were obviously written with one hand. And I am not defined by how many people find me attactive. Having said that, realising that there were people out there who thought my body was perfection meant that I could finally let go of all the ‘my body isn’t good enough” bullshit that I had held onto for years.
I’m not saying that external validation is the only measure of worth. But I can’t ignore the fact that fat admiration was a significant part of my fat acceptance.