The message is clear: Many continue to ride the train that plus-size people, as is, are unattractive, unfortunate, and unworthy of love. They can’t even get laid! The idea that anyone would pick up a fat person at a bar—let alone marry them—is so far-fetched and bizarre that, when faced with it, the internet reacts with vitriol.
Alicia McCarvell, a plus-size influencer on Instagram and TikTok, is living proof of this. She routinely posts the horrific comments she receives about her relationship, simply because her husband is muscular and “conventionally attractive.” “He’s pretending.” “He’s cheating.” “How TF is he like that and you’re like that?” You get the idea.
But this isn’t true—nor is it true for me, that HuffPost writer, or any of my friends who identify as plus-size. In a pre-COVID world, I had no problem finding hookups with “conventionally attractive” types. A bodybuilder? I’ve slept with one. Tall, athletic types? Yup, those too. Other big guys? Smaller guys? Yes and yes. Fat people are viewed by many, many people as physically attractive. Those dudes liked my sense of humor and kindness—and they also liked my ass.
“People have straight-up told me they don’t believe I find my fat boyfriend’s body attractive—that I must like his personality enough to ‘forgive’ his physicality,” Kevin, a gay, non-plus-size man living in New York City, tells me. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. He loves when I grab his belly the way I love when he grabs my biceps.”
So why isn’t TV catching up? Why isn’t our culture in general? The examples of positive change—like Shrill or Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show, which featured models truly of all sizes—are rare. For the most part, we’re still in the Fatphobic Dark Ages. Think about how time and time again we hear stories of plus-size influencers having their content censored while the Kim Kardashians and Emily Ratajkowskis of the world post nearly nude pics without issue. “Body positivity,” as it stands, comes with strings attached. Only certain types of figures are celebrated. If you’re thin, you’re golden. Post whatever you want. If you’re curvy, you’d better adhere to some type of Ashley Graham–esque ideal. Fat bodies—imperfect, non-hourglass, stretch-marked fat bodies—are very much on the no-fly list.
This affects everything: how we view fat people and how fat people view themselves. “I’ve dated a number of fat men, and one thing they’ve had in common is how long it took for them to accept I genuinely was attracted to their bodies,” Kevin says. “They couldn’t fathom a scenario where someone found their bodies sexy as is. That kills me.”
If Sidibe’s and Bryant’s sex scenes were standard, maybe things would be different. Maybe Kevin’s exes would have more confidence. Maybe McCarvell wouldn’t receive hate mail just for having a husband. Maybe fat models on Instagram could post their thirst traps without fear of censorship or shame.
Maybe the 52% of people who are either overweight or obese would stop thinking weight loss is the key to finding love—or just a good fuck. It’s not. Look at my Grindr messages, and I’ll prove it.
TV and movies have to do better, bottom line. More than half the population is being ignored here. We deserve to be valued—and that starts with showing us as the desirable, attractive beings we are. To put it bluntly, let us fuck.
Or as Aidy Bryant’s character says on Shrill, “I’m the one with the fat ass and the big titties, so I get to decide what we do.”
Christopher Rosa is the entertainment editor at Glamour. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrosa92.