It’s that time of year, you beautiful babes!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Love is in the air, chocolates are on the shelves, and we’re being inundated with ads all about looking hot for someone else. And what do those ads have in them? A bunch of people who’s bodies look nothing like my own (and probably not yours either). I see the scramble to find plus size lingerie all over my social media the weeks leading up to this day, while my TV lights up with Victoria’s Secret ads.
Leaving fat people out of the Valentine’s Day media extravaganza is yet another example of our culture’s insistence that fat people are less human than our thin counterparts. Not having access to things like cute clothes and lingerie is not just an inconvenience, it’s dehumanizing. Every time I walk into a store and the sizes end at a large, I’m reminded that my body has been deemed unacceptable.
The most painful part of this reminder is not that I can’t wear cute clothes, but that people don’t believe I experience relationships and love like every other person. Leaving my body out on Valentine’s Day is just another way to tell me that I don’t deserve love from both other people, and myself.
So how do we combat these messages that we aren’t welcome to love ourselves? Well, representation, of course! We’ve talked about it before, and it continues to be essential to our existence as fat people. This week even Lane Bryant, a company that is supposed to be here for their plus size customers, released a media campaign with the hashtag #thisbody. The campaign is all about embracing your body. Laughably, the images they chose to use were all of smaller (on the plus spectrum) models who were conventionally attractive. We can’t even get representation when we’re literally paying for it. But I know that it’s out there. I know because I see beautiful plus size bodies every day when I log onto my social media. I see people like myself that are unapologetically loving themselves and their bodies. Our community of fat people is made up of insightful, loving, and powerful voices. We deserve to be heard, and we deserve to be seen.
Perhaps today, when we are supposed to be celebrating the love we share with others, the most important love we can be reminded of is the love we have for ourselves. No matter where you are in your self-love journey, you get to experience love, from both yourself and others. You get to celebrate your body. You get to glorify feeling and being sexy. You get to rock the hell out of every hot outfit you can find. Most importantly, you get to say “my body is worth every ounce of love it receives!” and believe it whole heartedly.
This isn’t about getting validation from other’s for our bodies. This isn’t about demanding that we are perceived as sexy. This is about showing the world that we already have those things. That we experience love from others and ourselves every day. We exist, and we live happy full lives, and our bodies deserve to be part of the conversation. We are whole. We are not an afterthought, or someone’s work in progress. We are perfect. Just as we are, in this moment. This Valentine’s Day, sexy is for every body. And we’re celebrating that shit.