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Old 05-11-2010, 10:14 AM   #1
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Default Having to Prove Yourself as a Woman?

i've noticed that a lot of talk around fat is reserved almost specifically for BBWs. i feel kind of sorry for BHMs because they seem to get left out in the cold a lot. but maybe they've escaped something too. sometimes it seems like women are always expected to prove their physical desirability to other people outside of themselves. do you feel that is the case in your life? does it put any undue pressure on you? what impact do you think it has overall if it does exist?
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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No, I don't really feel like this applies to my life. I find myself desirable and I'm finding that's really enough for me. I can't be what everyone else wants me to be. I can only be the best me I know how -- and I think that in itself is sexy. Marching to the beat of my own drum, even if its not in grandiose ways still pays dividends. I won't lie and say if my partner didn't find me attractive I wouldn't be hurt. That's human nature. But I'm self assured, and I can give myself my own validation. It's hard work and the journey is never done. I'm having fun with it though...and trying not to beat myself up and be so hard on myself. That's half the battle.

Years ago, before I went natural, a lot of women kept telling me how I shouldn't because then I wouldn't get attention, or that I looked pretty with relaxed hair (nevermind that I didn't ask for the unsolicited advice). But did I listen to them? Hell no! Growing out my hair was the best thing I've done for my hair/scalp...and it did a good thing for my self view/esteem. I proved to myself that I don't have to fit someone else's mold or their version of beautiful. As long as I am loving it, other people's opinion of how my hair naturally grows out of my head is null and void. Interestingly those same women now compliment me on how gorgeous my locs are and how it really suits me. *eyeroll*

I'm in my 20's and living in the world I'm sure I'll have days where I'm down on myself, but I'm aware enough to know that's a fleeting feeling. My baseline is a pretty happy chick. I'm enough. Always have been. Always will be.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by superodalisque View Post
i've noticed that a lot of talk around fat is reserved almost specifically for BBWs. i feel kind of sorry for BHMs because they seem to get left out in the cold a lot. but maybe they've escaped something too. sometimes it seems like women are always expected to prove their physical desirability to other people outside of themselves. do you feel that is the case in your life? does it put any undue pressure on you? what impact do you think it has overall if it does exist?
It is simply not true that BHM escape this. Think of how many fat guys in movies are pushed off into the 'funny fat guy' role along the lines of John Candy or Chris Farley. Those things happen in real life too, not just in the entertainment business. Don't you think fat guys are forced to prove themselves as being something more than a class clown or athlete? What about fatties who are told they 'make great friends' or are 'too nice to date because she does not want to ruin a friendship'. While it is true that men are socially more likely to be judged on income or social status, fat guys who are not "ballers" are probably going to be left out.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:01 PM   #4
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In my personal life, no. Thank goodness as a teenager I stumbled into the realization that if I felt good about myself and considered myself attractive, others would pick up on it and find me desirable, no matter how fat I was. Part of it was accidentally discovering I had a quick wit, so I became the funny big tall fat girl who made people laugh and became reasonably popular. Part of it was I was the first girl in my class to develop breasts (and develop I did!), which brought me more attention from the boys than I could handle, until the other girls caught up (although I confess no small satisfaction that some of the skinny little girls who gave me the hardest time about my weight never did catch up ). And part of it was that the more my mother harped about my weight, the more I embraced my fat as a symbol of my independence. A positive attitude works wonders and in my rebellious youth I became just vain enough to feel very comfortable in my own abundant skin. Nowadays to judge from some of the looks I get in stores and resturants, I'm convinced lotsa men love fat women but just won't admit it (which absolutely tickles me at my age). It also helps to have a husband who never thought he'd marry a fat girl he ever met, and even after 28 years of marriage he embraces my fat as much as possible.

In my professional life, though, I definitely feel the need to prove myself as a woman and especially as a fat woman. As I worked my way up the ladder into management I found myself more and more in a man's world. Many men underestimate my abilities simply because I'm a woman and even more so because I'm so fat. Even so, I broke through a few glass ceilings, but not many other women did. My size in general and my height in particular have certain advantages because they give me an aura of authority. It's a fine line to walk, though. Some men I work with regard me as "one of the guys", which is both flattering and frustrating because it makes me feel asexual. Other men talk to my breasts instead of my face, which is also both flattering and frustrating because it makes me feel too sexual. Some men treat me as equals, so it probably all averages out. This week a coworker and I are on an assignment in Nashville. I'm flattered my boss chose me, and the people here are good to work with, but I'm not used to being called "Honey" on the job. Just gotta go with the flow, I guess.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LoveBHMS View Post
It is simply not true that BHM escape this. Think of how many fat guys in movies are pushed off into the 'funny fat guy' role along the lines of John Candy or Chris Farley. Those things happen in real life too, not just in the entertainment business. Don't you think fat guys are forced to prove themselves as being something more than a class clown or athlete? What about fatties who are told they 'make great friends' or are 'too nice to date because she does not want to ruin a friendship'. While it is true that men are socially more likely to be judged on income or social status, fat guys who are not "ballers" are probably going to be left out.

thats true. i have to agree to a point. but sexually speaking i don't feel its as much of a societal focus. with women it is. even though everybody is judged on their sexual acceptability to certain extent i think that women in general are felt to be a more open topic of conversation. her sexual desirability seems to be something a woman is more likely to to be judged on as a larger percentage of her overall worth. people may feel the same way about big guys but society gives them a bit more autonomy to choose how they are and whats valuable about them-- especially as adults. IMO thats more of a function of being male. even though they are pressured more than they used to be people still feel freer on commenting on women's bodies and feeling angry if they can't control them in that particular way. also people who aren't fat seem to have more of an expectation that they can actually direct women to be something in particular.

its as though there is a fear of what it means in women. size means power. a woman being bigger than a man is threatening to many men. it makes them fearful. in another man thats more acceptable. also there is a sense of decadence in being fat. people associate an appetite for food and pleasure in it with an appetite for sex. also still more acceptable in men. how many people even know what the male word for nymphomaniac is? its satyriasis. why won't most members of society know that word,but use nympho as part of daily conversation?

i think people can make negative overtures to big guys too but they don't get as angry if he doesn't agree and comply. people seem more likely to say "thats just how he is". i think that for a BHM actual accomplishments make more of an impact than it does for women. people will forego a lot of negativity if a big man is successful, but if a big woman is successful she may even attract more abuse. i'm not saying that BHMs don't have as much prejudice aimed at them as BBWs but just that its a somewhat slightly different kind of prejudice.
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:27 PM   #6
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It is simply not true that BHM escape this. Think of how many fat guys in movies are pushed off into the 'funny fat guy' role along the lines of John Candy or Chris Farley. Those things happen in real life too, not just in the entertainment business. Don't you think fat guys are forced to prove themselves as being something more than a class clown or athlete? What about fatties who are told they 'make great friends' or are 'too nice to date because she does not want to ruin a friendship'. While it is true that men are socially more likely to be judged on income or social status, fat guys who are not "ballers" are probably going to be left out.
I have to agree with you.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:28 AM   #7
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i've noticed that a lot of talk around fat is reserved almost specifically for BBWs. i feel kind of sorry for BHMs because they seem to get left out in the cold a lot. but maybe they've escaped something too. sometimes it seems like women are always expected to prove their physical desirability to other people outside of themselves. do you feel that is the case in your life? does it put any undue pressure on you? what impact do you think it has overall if it does exist?
I would agree that in my life I have always felt that I am seen as less than a woman because of my size. We are told constantly that a woman looks a certain way in magazines, TV and the movies and if we don't fit that image we as women have a harder time. I have shared before how I have been seen as less than a flesh and blood woman by men. I am their buddy, mother figure or something other than someone that they would want to date. IN a professional area I have had to prove myself over and over and be better than the "more beautiful" women. Yes it did put pressure on me, and I agree its not fair and I do resent it, however I cannot discount the fact that these experiences helped me find myself. I learned to rely on the talents and strengths that I have and to develop new skills in order to be taken seriously. I learned that there are men that so appreciate the larger woman and will see me as beautiful and a sexual being, I learned that I have the strength to overcome one hell of a lot of adversity and still be standing at the end of it.
There are times when I do get down on myself when I see someone that fits the standards of beauty getting the benefits that come with that, whether in relationships or the professional arena. However that passes and I have to remind myself of the amazing woman that other people see in me and I have come to own. A dedicated daughter wife and mother, multi talented, great friend and strong independent woman. I have proven myself to me and that is all that counts in the end.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:00 AM   #8
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ANd as for the BHM's, I have had friends over the years that are larger men. They suffer from the same discrimination as women do in the dating arena. If they have a little paunch or a belly, they have no problems dating. However if they are a large man, I have found that they experienced the same difficulties that some larger ladies experienced. They are the buddy, they are the big teddy bear protector when they go out with a group that includes women. I have found that lots of women discount them right off the bat despite the fact they are amazing guys. One of the guys I used to hang with is a super sweet guy. He works hard as a chef, plays in a band, very intelligent and helps take care of his widowed mom. He has a great sense of humour and these dancing eyes and a shit eating grin that should show a woman of the playful nature within. But he would constantly get shot down if he approached a woman, used and hurt by ladies, and not seen as a sexual being. He is just one example of the guys I have known over the years that have experienced what many larger women do. What I find the hardest is the way other large women can be so harsh on guys of size. I mean we know that people like what they like, but having experienced discrimination ourselves you would think that perhaps they might let someone down easier or be open minded to getting to know someone. But sadly no.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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I am in two minds about this as yes society does seem to expect women no matter what their size to prove themselves

but that depends on if you want to live up to what society dictates... and how much you allow outside influences into your life.

for me the only person I know and want to live up to is my own expectations and even then I think that we often put to much pressure on ourselves and take to much pressure from outside influences into our lives and hearts

I think it is far better to let yourself be true to who you are and let the rest fall where it may, after all who else but you knows your not living up to expectations?

hmm not sure I am wording this at all right tonight, bottom line is for me one of the mottos I live by (and am just remembering after quite some time)

expect the unexpected

also have no expectations for then you will only ever be truly suprised and never dissappointed

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Old 05-12-2010, 08:50 AM   #10
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i've noticed that a lot of talk around fat is reserved almost specifically for BBWs. i feel kind of sorry for BHMs because they seem to get left out in the cold a lot. but maybe they've escaped something too. sometimes it seems like women are always expected to prove their physical desirability to other people outside of themselves. do you feel that is the case in your life? does it put any undue pressure on you? what impact do you think it has overall if it does exist?
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBHMS View Post
It is simply not true that BHM escape this. Think of how many fat guys in movies are pushed off into the 'funny fat guy' role along the lines of John Candy or Chris Farley. Those things happen in real life too, not just in the entertainment business. Don't you think fat guys are forced to prove themselves as being something more than a class clown or athlete? What about fatties who are told they 'make great friends' or are 'too nice to date because she does not want to ruin a friendship'. While it is true that men are socially more likely to be judged on income or social status, fat guys who are not "ballers" are probably going to be left out.
Both sides have more than their share of crap to deal with. And the larger we are (male and female) the more of it it seems we have to bear. No matter how outgoing and such "lovely personality" we have, many of us are dismissed outright as desirable beings on size alone. However (and this I believe is the main difference), I doubt most SS/BHMs feel they have to prove themselves physically attractive sexual beings to members of their own sex. I'm speaking heterosexually of course. Most women not only feel the need to prove their desirability to men, but to show that they are desirable by men to other women.

As much as we profess a sisterly love for one another, we as women, can also be so vicious to each other. "She's not all that" even from our fellow fat sisters. Thus the need some feel to at least look like they can "get that" more to other women, even if they secretly (or not so secretly) feel the opposite on the inside.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:08 AM   #11
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I'm in my 20's and living in the world I'm sure I'll have days where I'm down on myself, but I'm aware enough to know that's a fleeting feeling. My baseline is a pretty happy chick. I'm enough. Always have been. Always will be.
I wish that I would have had this kind of self-awareness in my 20's. It took decades longer than that.

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In my professional life, though, I definitely feel the need to prove myself as a woman and especially as a fat woman. As I worked my way up the ladder into management I found myself more and more in a man's world. Many men underestimate my abilities simply because I'm a woman and even more so because I'm so fat. Even so, I broke through a few glass ceilings, but not many other women did.
Sue, not to diminish your success - in fact, I'm in awe of your positive attitude most of the time. But one thing that really irks me about women and corporate equality is that, in 2010, it still doesn't really exist. Oh, it's there in pockets - the occasional female CEO or token member on a board of directors. In my agency, the head honcho position is held, and has always been held, by a white man. There are a few female managers, and the head of HR is a woman. This is nowhere close to being in the same realm with men. An office manager position *is* frequently filled by a woman, and although you haven't shared the scope of your duties, I'm assuming by the title alone that it's mostly administrative/clerical in function (?). Prior to working in social services, I held a number of positions in private industries. Most of the time, my immediate supervisor was a woman. The title of "director" or "VP" or "controller" etc., always belonged to a (white) man. And when women do manage to truly break through the glass ceiling and earn the title of CEO, they are typically paid far less than their male counterparts (snippet from the article: Of the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies by revenues, a paltry 27 women are in the CEO's seat. And in general, women still earn only 78% of their male counterparts). I don't think we're anywhere close to bragging about breaking through that glass ceiling. I hope, but am not optimistic, that this will happen in my lifetime.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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I guess it depends on how much you need your physical desirability to be validated, as to whether you feel as if you have to prove it or not.

I've gotten into this conversation with a group of women who were very heavily invested in their physical attractiveness. To the point of every little imperfection stressing them out and undermining their sense of self-worth. And it wasn't just because they wanted to be desired by men, it was at least as much for (if not even more for) the approval of other women.

My opinion is, how many people need to find you desirable before you *are* desirable. Is there a quota? Does it need to be the majority of people on the planet? Or is a thousand enough. How about a hundred? A dozen? Maybe just somebody whom you desire in return? If one person who means something special to you finds you desirable, are you in fact, desirable? Or just desirable "to them". And if so, does that even make a difference? How about just liking what you see when you look in the mirror, no matter what any other person might think? If you see yourself as desirable, does that count? Or does your opinion have to be backed up by others?

And that's the most important thing. Because if other people find you desirable but you don't see it yourself, no amount of validation will be enough for you to believe them.

My take on it is that the only opinions I really care about are those of myself, and my significant others. I think I'm hot, they think I'm hot, and that's good enough for me. Other people might agree, or they might not. It's not important to me because I have no emotional investment in them. Ego strokes are great when you can get them, but you shouldn't depend on them.

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:04 PM   #13
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i think people can make negative overtures to big guys too but they don't get as angry if he doesn't agree and comply. people seem more likely to say "thats just how he is". i think that for a BHM actual accomplishments make more of an impact than it does for women. people will forego a lot of negativity if a big man is successful, but if a big woman is successful she may even attract more abuse. i'm not saying that BHMs don't have as much prejudice aimed at them as BBWs but just that its a somewhat slightly different kind of prejudice.
Well one part of the prejudice is that females are expected to want/need sexual desirability but males are not, and it's oftentime socially considered a female trait. Think the term "metrosexual" to describe a male who expends time and energy on his physical appearance. I've seen Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem programs geared specifically towards male customers, as if worrying about weight/appearance is so traditionally girls that men will only buy programs that are specifically for men.

A woman fretting over whether she's pretty or sexy is considered more normal than a man doing it.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:09 PM   #14
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Well one part of the prejudice is that females are expected to want/need sexual desirability but males are not, and it's oftentime socially considered a female trait. Think the term "metrosexual" to describe a male who expends time and energy on his physical appearance. I've seen Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem programs geared specifically towards male customers, as if worrying about weight/appearance is so traditionally girls that men will only buy programs that are specifically for men.

A woman fretting over whether she's pretty or sexy is considered more normal than a man doing it.
yes exactly. unfortunately, just like you said men are in the medias sight now. poor men. everywhere you look now they are talking about abs and weight watchers etc, just like you said. they even have to endure all of this open constant talk about the size of their penises. its changing for them and its a bad change.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:09 PM   #15
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All good points.

One thing that struck a chord with me was when OneWickedAngel used the word 'dismissed'. I don't feel any need to prove myself, my worth, or my desirability to anyone nor does rejection affect how desirable I feel.
However, IMO it's not men who are dismissive so much as women--thin and BBW but especially BBW. I don't see unity among a lot of BBW except in attacking another and opinions are taken as personal affronts. I don't feel any need to compete but I do speak up for myself and even then get sucked into the same repulsive behavior. I'm not unaware it's hypocritical either.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CastingPearls View Post
I don't see unity among a lot of BBW except in attacking another and opinions are taken as personal affronts. I don't feel any need to compete but I do speak up for myself and even then get sucked into the same repulsive behavior. I'm not unaware it's hypocritical either.
I think the mistake many women here make is in thinking that just because we are all fat it automatically means we are always going to agree. Many of us having nothing in common other than the fact we are fat, and like any large group of people there are going to be disagreements and arguments.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:50 AM   #17
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The other thing that bothers me about discussions like this, and i was thinking about it when reading the thread called "Thing" on the Main Board, is this:

Why should women think about themselves in relation to others?

I've also thought about this while reading news reports of SCOTUS nominee Elana Kagan. The talk is less about "qualifications" then about "is she a lesbian?". And WHO CARES? i can't recall reading a single report about the private life of any male nominee. At the MOST hight profile was Clarence Thomas, and even then the issue was about his behaviour in the workplace and ideology.

What if you're not sexy? What if you're not pretty? Are you any less smart or generous or a good person? Are you diminished as a person because you might not turn somebody else on? Women can be great athletes, philanthropists, scholars, judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, web designers, ditch diggers and toll booth collectors. And all this without ANY worry over if they're sexually desirable. If you are not professionally or academically successful, you can be of good character, heart, and behaviour. None of that is contingent on being a sexual being.

/rant over
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by LoveBHMS View Post
The other thing that bothers me about discussions like this, and i was thinking about it when reading the thread called "Thing" on the Main Board, is this:

Why should women think about themselves in relation to others?

What if you're not sexy? What if you're not pretty? Are you any less smart or generous or a good person? Are you diminished as a person because you might not turn somebody else on? Women can be great athletes, philanthropists, scholars, judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, web designers, ditch diggers and toll booth collectors. And all this without ANY worry over if they're sexually desirable. If you are not professionally or academically successful, you can be of good character, heart, and behaviour. None of that is contingent on being a sexual being.

/rant over
As the author of Thing I'd have to say that the purpose of that post was to relate my journey to discovering my sexuality. Being a sexual being is one part of who we are, but it's true it isn't all that we are. Also, fat women aren't the only ones who deal with the pressure to focus all their energy on being masturbation material for mankind in general.

In my Freshmen English class the teacher related a charming story about how he and his college buddies would rate women by their looks using a clever code.

Hot Women-Term Paper
Plain Women-Notebook Paper
Ugly Fat Women-Toilet Paper

That delightful story earned me the honor of being called toilet paper for 4 years by one of my knuckle dragging classmates.

The point is whether women worry themselves over whether or not they're attractive the world worries about it for you and will take the opportunity to let you know at random moments throughout your life.

The key is not to let is control your life or limit you. For some people they can break away from letting it control them. Some people never break free.

I think of Dimensions as place where women can discuss their doubts and fears about themselves and get advice from people who have been there and hopefully learn how to let it go. I think by discussing these issues it helps.
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