By now, most of the Internet has seen the clip from the “So Did the Fat Lady” episode of Louis C.K.’s sitcom “Louie,” in which Vanessa (played by Sarah Baker) talks about what being fat means in terms of her love life. It would have been really easy for this to go down a self-pitying road, but it doesn’t. Vanessa isn’t disappointed that she’s fat; instead, she thinks it sucks that society deems her as “less than” or “not good enough,” simply because of how she looks.
Most of the columns we’ve seen online about this clip have been overwhelmingly positive about the raw honesty of Vanessa’s statement. However, we’ve found that the most interesting commentary on the topic, surprisingly, is in the comments sections of these columns. We all know the comments sections on websites are generally full of ignorant idiots who spout off anonymous insults and hide behind their keyboards in their mothers’ basements (except for those on PGP, of course). While there were the expected “she should lose weight” remarks, we noticed more of the comments were from men who spoke out about how societal pressure bullies them out of being attracted to someone who they are initially attracted to–in this case, plus size women. One of most profound comments we read followed a Jezebel column on the topic. The commenter, a man, said, “Louie hit this one on the head. I’ve dated a lot of heavier girls and I’ve definitely felt the judgement from other men. The problem isn’t that men don’t like big girls; it’s that men don’t like the way other men look at them when they’re with big girls.”
So that’s what it comes down to, huh? We, as people (because girls are just as guilty of this as guys) are so insecure that not only do we care what people think about how we ourselves look, but we care about what people think of how the person we’re with looks? So much so that we would choose to pass over someone great who we’re attracted to, just because we’re worried about what other people might say? Doesn’t that strike anyone else as sad? More importantly, doesn’t it make you angry?
As you can tell from our profile, we are two women who write together. What you can’t tell from our profile picture (yes, it’s a fake–pretend to be shocked) is that one of us is a soon-to-be former fat girl. (Sixty pounds down, 50 to go!) We can add a personal story to this topic:
A few months ago, I started talking to this guy. He was nice looking, funny, and attentive. As a plus size girl, one of your immediate concerns when you meet a guy is, “Is he going to be okay with how I look?” because if you’re honest with yourself, a lot of guys aren’t, whether it be for their own preferences or because they’re afraid of what their friends will say when they show up at the bar with a girl who’s not a size two. I was comforted when two things happened. First, in the course of stalking his social media (oh shut up, we all do it) I found that he followed a few Twitter feeds dedicated to the beauty of plus size women. “Okay,” I thought. “Maybe I’m what he’s into.” Second, he told me that he, at one point, was 50 pounds overweight and had to work at maintaining his current weight. “Great! He gets it, so let’s see where this goes,” I said to myself.
After a few great dates and one so-so sex session, it didn’t end up working out. Of course, I asked myself all of the usual analytical questions: Why didn’t he like me? Am I boring? (No, I’m freaking hysterical.) Am I bad in bed? (Prior feedback on my skills says no.) Was it because I make more money than he does? (I’m not going to apologize for my success, jackass.)
While those are things that most girls worry about when a relationship doesn’t work out, as a plus size girl, there’s this one other thing that nags at you, too: Was it that he cared what people thought about me and my weight? Was he embarrassed by me? Now, you can say any guy who wouldn’t want to be with you because he cared more about what other people thought than about you isn’t worthy of your time, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. It’s the question that sits in the back of your head when you can’t think of any other good reason why it didn’t work out.
Let’s be honest. Dating is hard enough without having to worry about what those around you think of the person you choose to be with. When you become so concerned about what other people think that you stop making your own choices, the only person who winds up losing out is you. Another comment, also from the Jezebel column, puts this into perspective: “I definitely had times when I was younger where I let peer pressure lead me away from relationships that probably would’ve been fulfilling purely because of societal expectations and fears. Of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, those are the ones I’m most ashamed of.”
Shouldn’t those mistakes be the ones we are all the most ashamed of? Shouldn’t we all have the courage to love who we want to love, and to not give a shit about what people think of our partner’s looks? Let’s just stop. How about we all agree to stop caring about what other people think, and be with who we want to be with? Oh, and if you are one of those judgmental assholes who would actually comment on the looks of your friend’s choice of partner, please stop and just go fuck yourself. Finding love is hard enough without us judging each other’s choices.