Fat Women Don’t Owe You Shit.
News flash: Fat women don’t owe you shit. We don’t owe you a response, an orgasm, or even the time of day. Stop expecting sexual attention and emotional labor from us because we’re fat.
As a fat woman, I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of bullshit from others. I experience discrimination and fatphobia both online and real life. Being fat affects me at all times, even when I’m on the internet. However, something about the anonymity of the internet makes people feel even more free to make comments about my body size. I get more sexual comments and insults than genuine interest from internet users.
Being a fat girl on Instagram doesn’t mean I welcome sexual advances from strangers. Still, men feel free to slide into my DMs and say vulgar stuff to me. Men have sent so many unsolicited sexual comments to me, I usually don’t respond to messages on social media unless I can tell the user is a fan of my writing, another writer, or a friend.
You’d think my lack of response in and of itself would indicate a lack of interest. Still, my lack of response doesn’t stop most guys from repeatedly messaging me, communicating an entitlement to my attention. These men think their attention is prizeworthy for a fat woman like me. They think I should be grateful for their attention, especially if it’s sexual attention.
On the rare occasion that I do decide to give a response, I’m disappointed about 1,000% of the time. Every time I give a random internet guy a chance, he quickly turns the conversation in a sexual direction. It’s like they feel no shame in assuming I’m going to welcome their attention because I’m fat. They feel free to make comments about my big body being sexy. News flash: I never asked you what you think of my body or size.
Meanwhile, I post nothing that suggests I welcome sexual messages. As much as they assume I eat, they still think I’m starved for attention from the male gaze.
For instance, I cracked today. A guy messaged me asking, “What’s up?” So I said I was running errands. He then announced he was masturbating. I immediately blocked him. This happened to me on Instagram. Nowhere in my profile do I indicate a willingness in being sexual with strangers, yet that doesn’t stop men from DMing me with sexual expectations.
Based on my lived experiences as a fat person, I’ve learned that people can insult you without saying an outright insult. I can tell, based on the repeated entitled behaviour, that people on the internet target me because I’m fat. I’m being repeatedly subjected to unwanted sex talk, comments, and even backhanded compliments/insults because men assume I’ll be grateful for their attention.
The assumption that someone will welcome sexual advances based on their size is bigoted and downright toxic. I used to live up to “The Easy Fat Girl” stereotype and I still hate how many men expect fat women to be sexually available to them based on our size alone. Fat women have autonomy over our sexuality. Not only can we sleep around as much as we like, but we have every right to reject whoever we don’t like.
Fat women who do like casual sex still have standards. They’re probably looking for more than “hey” as a first message. And they, too, have the right to reject anyone who messages them. Fat women (and everyone else, for that matter) are not obligated to respond to a person just because they messaged us.
Another thing I’ve notice is that people expect more emotional labour from me and other fat people. It took me a while to notice, but after reading an article by Virgie Tovar about how people expect emotional labour from fat people, I can’t deny it’s the truth. These people often assume we’re down to talk about their serious problems with them like a therapist. People take my time for granted because they assume I have nothing better to do. Many people won’t make plans with me because they’d rather see how they feel on a given day instead of just committing to a time to hang out. Like straight-sized people, a lot of fat people don’t have loads of time to sit around. Our time is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
People expect me to do more emotional labour even in the dating world. Men have always approached me with the mindset of what I could do for them without even thinking about what they could possibly contribute to my life. They expect sex and attention, but don’t even care about my needs. For instance, a lot of men have expected me to be a stand-in girlfriend who gives them comfort, sex, and emotional labour to heal or fix them after a breakup, all without actually calling me a girlfriend. Whenever I’ve expended this kind of emotional labour, I receive no thanks and I can tell they aren’t grateful. Now that I know better, I save my emotional labour for those who deserve it.
On online dating sites, internet users still expect emotional labour from me. For instance, some men will hardly fill their profile out, instead inviting online daters to “just ask” without giving an answer. This puts the onus of the conversation on me instead of just answering the questions to give me insight into their life and personality. Meanwhile, those sections exist to make the process of weeding out incompatible matches and identifying compatible ones. That’s the thing: They’re trying to deter the weeding out process instead of just accepting it as a part of not only online dating, but dating in general.
Whenever someone’s profile says to “just ask them” about a section of their profile, I never bother doing it. I put time and effort into filling out my online profiles to give people more insight into who I am. The people I’m most interested in tend to do the same. Then, of course, when I don’t respond to these utterly uninteresting profiles, the men flip out, message me repeatedly to demand to know why I won’t message them, and throw in fatphobic insults once they’re sure I’m not going to respond.
The worst messages are the ones that come from people pretending to care about my health. They’ll comment on my size and ask if I’m doing anything to lose weight. This rando on the internet isn’t my doctor. I deal with being my size literally every day. I don’t owe you an explanation of what I’m doing to get healthier. If I say anything, this usually causes the person to double down and start outright insulting me for my weight, so I usually don’t respond. Still, what gets to me is the fact they think I should have to answer them, thus expecting emotional labour from me. No matter what, messaging a stranger to concern-troll them about their weight is clueless, bigoted, and rude.
I can’t win. If I state an actual rejection, I get insulted for being fat. If I stay silent and hope they understand that no response is still very much a response, then I still get insulted for being fat. It’s like they expect me to be nothing but complicit with their desire for me or else they’ll use my fat as an excuse for why I’m undateable.
Well, tough shit: I’m an actual person in my own right. I am not obligated to fulfill someone’s whims and desires for me just because they exist. I’m looking to connect with people who respect me. I want to chat with people who share my interests. Instead of receiving messages with comments about my body, I want to receive messages from people who ask about things like how my writing is going, my taste in anime, or if I’ve ran into any good books or music lately. First and foremost, I’m looking to connect with people who respect me both online and in real life.
Most importantly, I’m not looking to have online chats with anyone who thinks I owe them a response, especially if we’ve only messaged a few times or I haven’t responded to them at all. Let’s face it: I don’t owe shit to strangers on the internet who demand my time and attention. Neither do fat women as a whole or anyone else, for that matter.
Remember this, Internet: Fat women don’t owe you shit. If anything, you owe us an apology for expecting so much from us and judging us based on our body size.