“Guys Who Like Fat Chicks.”
I assumed the worst when I read that headline. Can you blame me? As I started to read the Village Voice article about men who are attracted to obese women, I prepared myself to be offended by men who objectify and fetishize a stigmatized, marginalized group of women to get their rocks off. Luckily, what I read was surprisingly respectful and nuanced.Reporter Camille Dodero for The Village Voice spoke with a bunch of “regular”-sized men who are fat enthusiasts, as well as obese women who look to date “regular”-sized guys. The men spoke of growing up and realizing they were attracted to “Big Beautiful Women,” as they call them, which brought them shame and fear of stigmatization because friends and family would erroneously assume these guys were gay or had “low standards.” (Notes Frisky contributer Hugo Schwyzer in his great post on the Voice article, “Men are taught to find ‘hot’ what other men find ‘hot.’ The whole notion of a ‘trophy girlfriend’ is based on the reality that a great many men use female desireability to establish status with other men. And in our current cultural climate where thinness is idealized, a slender partner is almost always going to be worth more than a heavy one.”) As a result, several of the fat enthusiast men who spoke to Voice reporter said there are many, many more fat enthusiasts out there but they’re still “in the closet” (to borrow from LGBT nomenclature).
Basically, all the assumptions we may have based on the trope of skinny-guy-with-fat-girl in pop culture are not true, these guys say. Is it not “easier” to bed a fat girl because she is “desperate” or “vulnerable.” In fact, thanks to douchebags like Tucker Max and the cruel practical joking of frat boys who bang fat girls on dares, a lot of fat girls are paranoid about the “real reasons” that a guy is pursuing them. To read them describe it, fat enthusiasts have to put in a lot of effort to assure the fat girls that they’re pursuing that their intentions are pure.
Fat enthusiast men are also adamant that fat girls are not a “fetish.” By definition, a fetish is something that is psychologically necessary for a person to be sexually gratified. Rather, fat enthusiasts say fat women are just their “type,” the same way blonde hair or petite bodies might be another guy’s type. They also resent the assumption that they’re sexually attracted to all fat women. Mostly they seemed kind of resentful — albeit willing enough to talk to a reporter about it — that an attraction to obese women is something they had to explain. (But still, the best explanation for why one guy said he loves fat womens’ bodies? “It’s like one big boob.”)
For the women’s part, pretty much all of the ones interviewed by the Voice indicated they weren’t getting a lot of ass — no pun intended — until they started going on fat enthusiast/Big Beautiful Woman message boards looking for dates. And they’re living it up! Although men who like fat chicks were the focus of this article, I found the women’s stories a lot more compelling and would have loved to have more of an insight into their states of mind. You usually only hear from obese women in pop culture, A) on “The Biggest Loser,” B) on “Jerry Springer” or like-minded daytime trash shows, or C) when Beth Ditto is talking. Maybe the Voice could do a follow-up … “Fat Women Who Like Skinny Men”?