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On fat girls and doing it

May 28, 2010

I really loved Silvana’s post at TigerBeatdown about the recent study indicating that obese teenage girls are more sexually active than their normal weight counter parts. Silvana made some really great points about the pile of steaming crap that was the MSNBC article, and I wanted to make Just One More.  (A point that is so completely horrible I am sad that I even thought of it, but it is a reflection of my life experience, and so here it goes.)

A quote from the end of the MSNBC Article is what made me think of it.

“It’s not as though every overweight girl is having sex just because she’s overweight,” Chernick added. “And, of course, the flip side of that is that parents shouldn’t assume that they don’t have to worry if their daughters are normal weight.”

Perhaps another potential contributing factor to fat girls being more likely to have sex is because parents and other adults in their lives are less worried about them.   If parents view their daughters as overweight and therefore less likely to be attractive to boys it may be that the parental behavior towards overweight daughters is different than normal weight daughters.  They may be less protective of them, less likely to talk to them about sex (and using protection) because they see them as less likely to be sexually active.  And this inaction can then gives the girls more opportunity to have sex and to potentially do so in risky ways.

I know this sounds terrible and I’m not saying that really this is all the parent’s fault.  All of the things that Silvana mentioned, poor body image, early maturity, slut shaming regardless of their actions are probably all more likely reasons for the change in rates of sexual activity.

But for girls at the higher end of the fat spectrum I think their adolescent experience might be not always be about slut shaming and but more “who would want to have sex with you” messages.

A story from my childhood, once upon a time in a 5th grade class far far away I was pretty much hated by all.  I think the comments on my “attitude problem” started around then.   I had a small group of girlfriends and we generally left the rest of the class to their own devices.  One day on our return to our classroom I remember my classmates started making comments to me like “Nice” “I didn’t think you had it in you” “Good going.”  And after some breif detective work I learned that because some of the boys in my class were mad at another boy, they spread a rumor that he had slept with me.

The sex part was so ridiculous to me even at the time, I mean I was 10, and I was  so catholic it hurt.  What was upsetting was that it was not so much about me being a slut, but about him being disgusting for being willing to have sex with me.  How’s that for fucked up ideas about your own sexuality?

But I am pretty sure if I had ever wanted to have sex before I had my first boyfriend I probably could have gotten away with it if I had wanted to.  (Not after that of course.)  My parents never talked to me about sex.  They never told me that guys would try to take advantage of me or anything like that. Most of my friends were allowed to go pretty much anywhere as long as I was around because I was large and can fend off dangerous menfolk.  (No one ever worried about the dangerous menfolk being interested in me.)

There was a friend from my jr high/highschool  who would also have been classified as “Obese” at the time.   The way her family treated her was terrible, I definetly recall hearing one family member of hers tell her to “Go eat something” when she was upset.  I am pretty sure that even if she’d found like 15 guys to have sex with her in front of her parents, they wouldn’t have believed she was having sex.

No one was worried about her having sex, they were worried about her being fat.  (I think MY Mom was more worried I was a Lesbian or that I was so fat I was going to DIE ALONE.)

So what I’m saying is I think that while young thin girls are seen as potential targets and victims of an overly sexual culture by the adults in their lives,  I think some fat girls are seen as future spinsters.  There is no worry that they are going to be a slut, because who would want to have sex with them anyway?

And this gives those girls an increased opportunity to act on whatever sexual desires or emotional needs or whatever they have that they think sex is the answer too.  I know this fat girl for one did a lot of her sexytime over the intertrons.  When I was 12 I was pretending I was 14 and 15 and having cybersex with guys on the internet.   And maybe that sounds terrible to the ears of parents of 12 year old, but I had a lot of fun and it never scarred me in anyway.  (Though i realize now how old some of those people I was talking to probably were, and that’s a little creepy. And I am glad I listened to my father about the whole no giving out phone numbers or addresses or real names thing.)

As much as I think the framing of this MSNBC article was awful, in a way I think it is good.  I think it is an excellent reminder that fat girls are sexual beings too and that if we are going to police the behavior of girls to protect their precious virginities  from whatever horrible thing happens to them when they have sex (locusts? we run out of ritual sacrifices? I don’t know) then we should be policing all of them, not just the ones we think are mad hotties.

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  1. Great piece, Shinobi! I think you’re right on the money and I didn’t think of any of it. I especially liked this bit: I know this fat girl for one did a lot of her sexytime over the intertrons. When I was 12 I was pretending I was 14 and 15 and having cybersex with guys on the internet.

    Me too me too! Well more like when I was 14 I was pretending I was 17. But you get the drift. Yay intertrons!

    • Thanks!

      Yay intertrons indeed! It’s funny because if I think about 12 year olds not me I am kindof horrified by that. But I managed to turn out fairly normal.

  2. Did this study control for class and race? We know that poor young women and minority young women have sex at younger ages than more affluent white young women. They also tend to be heavier.

  3. Christa permalink

    I totally relate to what you are saying. The, “no one will want to sleep with you because you are too fat” is totally the message I got. Its basically fucked up my self-esteem and any sort of relationship I have considered since I was in about 3rd grade. Sadly, even though I try to encourage myself by saying “you are amazing and sexy and interesting” inside I’m still thinking “no one will ever want to sleep with me.” Fake it til you make it right?

  4. Piffle permalink

    Today’s Dear Abby has a wonderful response to a thirteen year old girl who is worried about her weight.

    “Very few people are completely confident and self-assured at 13, and there are more important qualities to focus on in life than whatever happens to be the ideal of physical perfection at the moment. Your time would be better spent developing qualities that not only make you special, but also will last a lifetime — your personality, your intellect and your talents.”

  5. Meghan S permalink

    I mentioned this in passing on Chatty Fatty. There’s a virgin/whore redux being put on fat girls. We’re either virgins because no one would ever want to sleep with us, or whores because we’ll sleep with anyone we can get. Before my self-confidence awakening in senior year, I told myself that being fat would mean that only a guy who really cared about me would want to have sex with me, so no one would ever just pretend to like me for sex. I turned out to be wrong, but in a sick sort of way, it made me feel like a normal girl, not specifically a fat girl. I realize it’s an incredibly screwed-up thing to think, but that’s how I felt.

    I also did the 12 year old cybersex thing, and I’m pretty well-adjusted. Aside from the horrid junior-year boyfriend, all my relationships and my sex life are healthy.

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  1. Virgin/Whore Fatties « Fine Fatty Meghan's Musings

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