Navigating sex and dating in a world that does not cater to fat women is a daunting, emotionally taxing task. In this ongoing series “Hot and Fat,” Kat Lloyd is tapping into the body-positive community to help change the way we think about size, sex, and self worth.
For a long time, body positivity meant one thing to me: I am positive that I hate my body. I’d been conditioned to believe that being hot and being fat were mutually exclusive adjectives. Whelp, they’re not! However, they are difficult to negotiate. My toxic thought pattern was, “if I were thin, I’d be worthy.” While dating mostly straight men, I only felt needed for sex and conversation. Basically I was good for a fuck and banter, but not worthy of a relationship. I also came across a number of dates with fat fetishes, who seemed interested but were ultimately ashamed for enjoying sex with a bigger woman. Therefore, the worship, the sex, and the courtship was always conducted in secrecy. It’s an interesting thing being objectified, sexually desired, and yet shamed and rejected.
Sometimes these things were true, and other times I’d create scenarios in my head. My self-worth was low, so I’d use a hypersexual front to boost my confidence. I do enjoy sex, of course, but this was armor — inside I wanted more than just the physical. Since then, I’ve had to learn to stop fronting and remember to love myself. Also to not sleep with anyone who makes me feel ashamed! It’s a process, and I know that other fat femmes share in my woes. So with this in mind, I started this series. With the help of my favorite friends, educators, and community members, I want to help us all learn to navigate sex, relationships, and social circumstances while living in a marginalized body.
In this issue we’re talking to Annie Rose, an educator, artist, and curator of Fatter IRL, an exhibition that celebrated the work and labor of fat artists/bodies. She is currently the host of the Posture Magazine podcast, Relevant.
Do you believe sex with a fat femme is more socially acceptable than a relationship?
I think in queer communities that fat femmes are celebrated as being really hot, queer icons, but when it comes down to it they are treated as sex objects, as opposed to full human beings.
How often have you used your sexual prowess for validation?
Pretty much I have done that my whole life until I entered a monogamous relationship two and a half years ago. I felt for a long time that if people think I’m hot and want to fuck me, I must have value as a person. When I was a sex worker, I received a lot of validation from that because people would pay to be with me. Of course, it was also invalidating because I could never charge as much as the thin girls.
I always TRIED to use sexual prowess as validation, but it always ended up reminding me of how little I’m valued. For example, being polyamorous for a few years really highlighted for me what an afterthought fat people are in poly situations. I was always treated as a purely sexual being and fell into that role in a damaging way.
In a world that condemns being fat, but also sexualizes fat bodies, is it difficult to match one’s sexual comfort to self-worth?
Definitely. I feel uncomfortable being seen as sexual lately. I don’t think of myself as attractive most of the time. But I’m at the point where I’m over my physical form in general. I’m exhausted from having to make such an effort to find things to wear and spaces that accommodate me.
How would you describe the treatment of fat femmes in queer spaces vs. non-queer spaces?
In a way, fat femmes receive the recognition in queer spaces that they never do in the hetero world. Queers are (theoretically) all about embracing that which is seen as ugly or freakish to the mainstream. So fat femmes are kind of held up as an object of worship in queer spaces. Even in spaces for gay men, fat femmes are kind of worshiped on a superficial level; the gays love a bawdy glamorous bitch. But I do feel it’s often a surface level of appreciation.
Do you have advice on shaking the shame?
I always get such delight out of embracing stereotypes about fat people and laughing at people who are disgusted by me or think I should be ashamed of how I look. I love to make fat jokes about myself and watch people squirm. Once you desensitize yourself to it, shame loses its power!
Kat Lloyd is a writer, performer, and a cultural critic residing in Brooklyn. She has been featured in BUST, Real Simple, and on The Brian Lehrer Show. Additionally she had hosted a podcast, Beat Face Radio, which showcased NYC personalities, artists, and drag superstars.