Back Off My Fat Body

Ragen Chastain - superfat - picture by Substantia Jones for
Picture by Substantia Jones for

Everyday I hear messages from society about my fat body. I’m told that it’s a sign of moral failing, laziness, it’s a shortcoming, it’s unattractive, blah blah blah –  the negative messages are incessant and ubiquitous.

I spent a lot of my life so intent on hating my body for not meeting the cultural stereotype of beauty, that I never once appreciated it for what it did.  Instead of defending the amazing body that helps me do every single thing that I do every moment of every day, I joined in the chorus of disapproval. I sold my own body out to buy into an arbitrary social stereotype of beauty, and a modicum of begrudging approval that was contingent upon my keeping myself down so that my detractors didn’t have to bother doing it themselves.

If I’ve learned anything on my journey away from self-hatred, disordered eating, and compulsive exercise, it’s that my body deserves nothing less than my unconditional love and full-throated support. So to all of those who would suggest that my body is anything other than magnificent I say this:

My fat body is far too valuable to be treated like a car whose worth is lowered because of some wear and tear.  It’s far too astounding to be a metaphor or a political statement.  It’s far too complicated to run on the same formula used to fuel a lawn mower. It is far too profound to be reduced to a ratio of weight and height.  And it is far too amazing to be judged by anyone.

My fat body is not a representation of my failures, sins, or mistakes. My fat body is not an indication of my level of health or fitness. My fat body is not up for public discussion, debate or judgment. My fat body is not a signal that I need help or input to make decisions about my health or life.  My fat body is the constant companion that helps me do every single thing that I do every second of every day and it deserves respect and admiration.

If you are incapable of appreciating my body and treating it with respect and admiration that is your deficiency not mine; work on it or not, but I do not care. Nor am I interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter so, if you want to be around me, you are 100% responsible for doing whatever it takes to keep those thoughts to yourself. If you are incapable of doing that I will stop spending time with you – I spend my time with people who can treat me appropriately.

I will wield my beautiful fat body like a weapon.  I will love it, I will care for it, I will move it, I will show it in public, I will viciously defend my body against anyone who seeks to classify it as anything but amazing. You’ve been warned – back the fuck off.

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31 thoughts on “Back Off My Fat Body

  1. Love. Love LOVE this! This is so full of win and I wish I could hand those last four paragraphs out as my personal manifesto to all the people in my life, and carry it with me for all the people I meet along the way. It speaks so clearly to everyone about how to handle me and my fat body in a way that is blunt enough to get rude people to shut up and dis-invite them from discussions and opinions on my body, but kind enough to show to my loved ones without them feeling attacked or creating bad feelings.

    In fact… I think I will memorize that so when people make comments about my body I can deliver those words to them and then smoothly change the topic!

    Thank you for this Ragen!

    1. You nailed exactly what I was thinking about this post.Thank you.

      And thank you Ragen for once again writing an amazing and awesome post!

  2. Congrats to you, Ragen. First blog post that actually made me cry.
    But in a good, a really good way. Thank you.

  3. *blows kisses* Ragen, thank you for this beautiful masterpiece! Thank you for putting into words what’s been building inside me the past few days. Thank you for offering all of us this inspiration to love and appreciate our bodies. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it…I LOVE YOU!!! 🙂

  4. Next time I get nattered at about losing weight I am so going to use your “My fat body is and does” because that is one of the best I have seen and if it don’t stop them in their tracks nothing will.

  5. Hear, hear! If my badass body wasn’t worth it, I wouldn’t have dropped $80 for three makeup items yesterday. (Stupid ultra-sensitive, ultra-pale, ultra-super-snowflake skin. XD It’s hard enough to find 00 base, but 00 base that won’t break me out? One brand. Thank Elvis for cheap mineral eyeshadow.)

    1. I am the same way. Too pale, too sensitive, only I also like cruelty free make up. Now that is hard to find as well. For all three? It is near a swing and missed by a long long long shot.

      1. I go cruelty-free and all-natural when I can, but it’s so difficult. What brands do you use? For foundation and gel eyeliner, I use Bobbi Brown and love it, and I just ordered one of their mascaras to try. Right now, I’ve got an Ecco Bella mascara that’s fantastic for upper lashes, but flakes horribly on lower ones. However, it only has six ingredients, and doesn’t make my eyes burn like they’ve been werfed with flammen. For eyeshadow and blush, I swear by Sweet Libertine and Aromaleigh, though I’ve picked up some from other companies here and there. I just wish my eyes weren’t so deep set, because it makes my shadow crease, no matter what kind of primer I use. Sobe Botanicals on Etsy has lip gloss to die for.

        I have an easier time with cleansing and moisturizing products. My skin is bone dry–when I was born, it came off in sheets, and hasn’t improved by much. However, there’s a wide array of all natural products out there if you know where to look. On Etsy, I get nearly everything from SweetsNThings, which is probably the best handmade soap company ever. Rhea’s face scrub converted me from pure oil cleansing! I also like HairByCreation for Ghanaian black soap and various kitchen science ingredients, like shea and cocoa butters. Recently, I started attempting to make my own goodies, and I’m building up to homemade sunblock. So far, I’ve had middling luck with shimmery body butter (works beautifully, but too much candelilla wax and too little mica), and mindblowing luck with an oil cleanser made from olive oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter (and a couple of splashes of vanilla and mint extracts for shits and giggles).

        I should probably add at this point that I’m 36, and was recently mistaken for my 21-year-old girlfriend’s *junior*. Apart from makeup styles, glasses, haircut, and about 50 pounds, there’s not a lot of difference between me now, and me when I was 17. Permanent baby fat? You betcha. 😉

        1. The Body Shop (swear by their stuff, body, hair and make-up) when I can other then that Bobbi Brown (love the gel eyeliner!), SweetNThings, Almay (have to read the labels carefully, but their all natrual is cruelty free) other then that I refuse to use most other brands.

          1. I have to ask, where did you learn about SweetsNThings? It’s not a big company, and I haven’t run into too many people who’ve heard of it.

            1. I had a friend who imports it, give me a basket full of stuff from them when I moved into my apartment a few years back. I loved their stuff so much, I asked her where she got it and she gave me the website and I have been a loyal custmer since. I can only get it twice a year but I buy enough to last 6 months. I love their watermelon lip bomb.

  6. It is nice to hear you use such positive words about yourself. There is so much stigma about weight, that my sister teases me because I’m attracted to fat men. I’m not ashamed, because the way I see it, God created different bodies to be admired by different people. Beauty is subjective, the goodness of a person’s heart is not, and people seem to think the opposite. It’s not worth it to mutilate yourself and make yourself sick from some “cleanse” to be accepted by shallow people, so I’m happy to hear that you are continuing to rise above the mass peer pressure.

    1. You go, girl! I used to get teased because my interest in men was as broad as buff muscle men and as lucious as Dom Delouis.. lol For sure there are all types and someone to appreciate all those types!

      1. Hear, hear! There’s a guy here at work that I think is handsome, and he’s a stocky, barrel-chested man. My hubby is short, stocky, and has the cutest Buddha belly, but when I met him he was about 20 pounds underweight. I also have been known to be attracted to the muscular (but not too muscular) types as well as tall and thin men. The one thing these men have in common is kind, gentle souls.

  7. Love! I have so much love and admiration for you right now and always! I almost cannot fathom the awesomeness which I have just read. All I know is it made me feel incredibly inspired.

  8. Oh, this is SO good. I have been lurking here for a while. You have NO idea how much you have helped me in my journey to self acceptance. You write so well and have such a way of saying things; the things I want to say but can’t always express. You are a ROCK STAR!!!
    Thank you so much!

  9. Every time I read one of your posts, Ragen, I am more inspired. I feel bigger, more filled out to my edges, more courageous, fundamentally more me-ish than I have in a very long time. Thank you for being awesome!

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