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“I’m a fat girl, and mostly pretty ok with it. However, I can’t help but compare my body to my girlfriend’s, especially when we are naked/having sex. She’s thinner than me and I always end up feeling self-conscious. How do I deal with this internalized fat phobia?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Bethany Rutter as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Bethany Says:

Dear Fat Babe,

I’m really glad to hear you’re mostly pretty ok with your body- that’s a lot more than a lot of fat girls, unfortunately! As for your current predicament, and I know quotes are gauche, but as a famous old white dude said: “comparison is the thief of joy.” And I really believe it is.

As someone who dates people of any gender, I often find myself particularly self-conscious when I date and sleep with women, because I know how invasive and pernicious fatphobia is among women, thanks to oppressive patriarchal body standards. But then I just have to think to myself: do I trust this person? Because that’s what it comes down to. Thinking ‘she’s judging me, she’s judging my body, how could she not be?’ stops me from appreciating the fact that she’s there, now. Your girlfriend probably thinks you’re hot as hell, or she wouldn’t be hitting the hay with you. You have to trust that, trust your girlfriend’s excellent taste in women (you).

Your message gives no indication that your girlfriend has expressed dissatisfaction with your lovely fat body, and it sounds like that most of the beef is coming from your own insecurities. I know how hard it is out there for fat babes, but I also know that it’s something only you can change. Having romantic, sexual and platonic relationships with people who treat you great (mind, body and soul) is a good place to start, but if you don’t make strides to keep up with them, then it’s easy to let your insecurities push them away.

My top tips for getting your fat-confidence up are firstly: get to know your body and what it looks like from every angle. You can’t really love something without knowing it intimately and having a frank relationship with it. Look at yourself in the mirror, see what your girlfriend sees when you’re in bed together. Secondly, I would recommend you look at photos of other hot fat babes and reflect on how beautiful they are. Normalize your relationship with attractive fat bodies. Again, put yourself in your girlfriend’s position: try to understand what true beauty she’s beholding when she looks at you.

Ask your girlfriend to tell you why she loves your body, what makes you sexy, why she’s drawn to you. Start to see yourself as she sees you, rather than participating in a patriarchal race that, in this case, has no winners. Comparing yourself to your girlfriend and feeling bad only makes sense if being fat is bad, and it isn’t. You’re undoubtedly a delight, and you’ve found yourself a partner that wants to get naked with you. Don’t waste these great things on self-consciousness and shame!

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