05.14.14 7:26 PM ET
Plus-Size Model, Jennifer Maitland: Get Over the Word ‘Fat’
“The meanest thing you can say to a fat girl is, ‘You’re not fat.’” At least, this is what Sarah Baker’s character, Vanessa, on the television show Louie C.K. believes. In a seven-minute monologue that has been making the social-media rounds, Baker’s character gives an impassioned speech on how it “sucks to be a fat girl” and how hard it is to date as a “fat” woman. We live in a world bombarded by images of skinny women that are presented as the ideal body type to strive for. I am sure that many women out there can relate to the feelings expressed by Baker. While I do too, to some extent, I think we need to get over our concern with being called “fat.”
I have been an international model for the past eight years, working consistently for both fashion and lingerie designers at a size 14. I have dated regularly and been in relationships. But I have also felt that while some men loved the idea of being a part of my glamorous and fast paced world, they seemed to be uninterested in dating once they saw me in person. Was this because of the way I looked? Was I too “fat?” I'll never know, but that suspicion was certainly in the back of my head, and I'm sure many women out there have experienced the same thoughts. But at the end of the day, who cares if a man isn't interested in you because of your curves. There are plenty of men out there, and there are certainly ones who will find you attractive and be proud to desire you just the way you are.
The double standard for men and women is one that I am sure all women are familiar with. Most people wouldn't look twice at a “fat man” walking hand-in-hand with an attractive, skinny woman. They may think, “Oh, he must have money,” but other than that, it's not a scene that’s completely out of the ordinary. But when was the last time you saw a “fat girl” dating a hot, sexy, built man? It happens, but it's certainly not something we see every day. So why is it okay for men to be the “fat” one in a relationship, and not women?
While this double standard is incredibly frustrating, curvier women shouldn’t get hung up on being “fat girls.” One particular line from the monologue that troubled me was when Baker’s character said, “It sucks to be a fat girl,” and that “having guys chase after us—just isn't in the cards for us.” In my experience, this couldn't be further from the truth.
Instead of looking at all of the negatives in ourselves, we need to change our way of thinking and embrace our bodies the way they are. There is nothing sexier than a confident woman, no matter what size she is. If you are comfortable and, most importantly, happy in your own skin, guys will chase after you.
It seems as though calling someone “fat” has become the equivalent to sticking a dagger in her heart, the lowest blow you can give. A friend once said to me,” I don't care what names someone calls me, but calling me ‘fat’ is the worst name in the book.” The word “fat” has become so overused lately, but at the end of the day it is purely a descriptive term and has nothing to do with the person that you really are. Whether we are fat, skinny, tall, short, blonde, or brunette, should not define us as women. And we most certainly should never feel ashamed of them, especially when it comes to dating.