Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Fatness Being Beautiful

A while ago I took one of those bias tests online, which tests your prejudices towards various marginalized groups. The results weren't very interesting, except for one thing: I am apparently positively biased towards fat people.

I certainly would hate to be fat myself (obviously, since I'm trying to lose weight) but fatness in other people doesn't bother me at all, and I do tend to associate it with positive things like being a good cook and having a cheerful personality.

My positive bias might be connected to my rabbit obsession. Rabbits, like all animals, are much cuter when fat. When I pretend my stuffed animals are having conversations, they are always very proud of their fatness (the vain one even goes on crash fatness diets, like butter with everything), and base their opinion of others' attractiveness largely on weight. Maybe with these conversations I have brainwashed myself into appreciating fatness. It just looks so cozy and soft: I think maybe it's cuter because it makes everything look more like a baby?

Little R isn't actually fat (she is 50% percentile for height and weight), but since she's a baby, she has fat rolls on her arms and legs, a little pot belly, and a double chin. I love her fatness so much, both because it makes her all squishy and because I like the way it looks. I enjoy dressing her in tight clothes that show off the belly (or leg rolls eee!). I tell her multiple times a day that she is fat or chubby (usually something like "Look at this fat little baby! What a little belly! Belly belly belly!").

Today though it occurred to me that maybe I'm giving her a complex about her weight. After all, in the non-stuffed rabbit world, being fat (especially if female) is incredibly judged, and affects your career, relationship prospects and health negatively. Is it weird to go on and on about how fat she is? Should I stop? Of course, maybe I am just overthinking the whole thing, since she is a tiny baby and has no concept of body image, weight issues, or anything else.


  1. I think it won't hurt anything now, especially because I'm sure your tone is one of adoration. I'm always worried about focusing on looks when it comes to little girls- I'd like to try to tell my daughter that she's clever and smart more often than saying things about her looks (though I often tell her how cute she is, too!).

    1. I know what you mean about the looks emphasis: I hate that (one of the reasons I don't really like the whole "princess" industry, since mostly what a princess does is look beautiful).

  2. Hi, I just found your blog, and I have to say I really enjoy your writing style!
    My mother always called me "stinker, stinky, and stinky monkey" even as a teenager. It didn't give a complex and make me think I had a B.O problem. However, I have to admit, if she called me "Fatty" for example, it may have had a negative effect on me. Sad but true. Recently I read an article in the Huffington post that talks about how we should talk to little girls which I found quite interesting, and you may enjoy. However, I agree with Amy, certainly calling your baby fat won't hurt now, but when she's 14 it might not fly well!

    1. Hi Erin, glad you like the blog! Also, thanks for the link: it's an interesting article.

      You know, it's funny about the fat thing. We live in Singapore, which is mostly Chinese, and traditional Chinese culture is very pro-fat. One compliment to pay people used to be saying something like "You are really getting fatter!" (and then the other person would politely say, "Oh no, no, you're wrong", since just smugly accepting praise is rude). It's a little different now with increased prosperity, but it does make you realize how culturally influenced beauty standards are.