On fat girls and doing it
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.