A few columns back I wrote about Playboy Bunnies, and said I hoped they’d be suppressed like Dickens & Jones. I don’t object to female self-objectification, I thought, but I wish it wasn’t used to earn money.
A few days later, I received a comment on Twitter, the medium that allows strangers to freely insult each other. It was from a woman who didn’t take kindly to my “uneducated, one sided” column. “Look at her picture then go figure,” she wrote.
Look at her picture then go figure? Ah yes, I see. This is a woman using woman’s weapons, learnt before she was even old enough to wield moisturiser, on a perceived enemy (in this case me). She means that I am fat and, because I carry this fat, all my opinions must stem from it. She thinks it’s my identity.
This punch hurt a little, even as I reminded myself that I am not eight anymore and I am no longer at the mercy of the other eight-year-olds, who have already learnt, seemingly by osmosis, how to manipulate (eight-yearold) males and make good fashion choices. I even paused to ask myself – is she right? Would I be entirely tolerant of the bunny girl slaves if only I could fit into the rabbit-suit? Is my revulsion merely jealousy in spectacles? I glanced stricken in the mirror, in proper cinematic fashion and thought – nah. My thighs don’t make political decisions. They can’t.
This has happened to me before. When I criticised Belle De Jour, the middle class prostitute/blogger for making prostitution sound fun – so fun all teenagers should do it on their gap years! – she replied, again online, because it is easier to hate online, that I only thought this because I, “wasn’t getting any [sex]”. I presume she meant sex. She might have meant mail. I don’t know. In fact I was getting sex, from a moody Mockney with a collection of small hats. But because I am fat, and Belle is thin, she couldn’t understand it. Fat girls get sex? What? Why did I diet for years, just to have fat girls get sex?
“In my experience fat and thin tend to gather in huddles, like penguins, looking across the front line”
And so to the central question, stolen from 1989’s When Harry Met Sally and tweaked: Can Fat Girls and Thin Girls Ever Be Friends? If I examine the evidence of thirty-seven years of being female, I think not – although if the readers of Stylist know better, please write in with your testimony of love across the fat/ thin divide. In my experience fat and thin tend to gather in huddles, like penguins, looking across the front line with suspicious eyes. And it is natural, to gather with others who are similar, because they affirm our own decisions, even if our decisions are as banal as to buy Mini-Rolls and Jelly-Tots rather than just Mini-Rolls. And criticising the other also affirms these choices. What is that thing on the other side of the wall? Is she really as human as me? Of course I speak to thin girls. Just never with the same love, understanding, or empathy.
In case the divide can never be breached, and we never live in a Whitney Houston style, One World, One Size, I have two amazing pieces of information to tell you. One is a great secret, shielded from common view by advertising and its scrawny model soldiers. What I have to say is important and may have never been said publicly before. Fat girls get a lot of sex and we are often very good at it. Because we just see men as more food.
I would also like to explain to thin girls that fat girls sometimes spout unpopular feminism not because they don’t get sex, and can’t fit into bunny costumes, but because the fat have a greater genetic propensity for anger and so we notice more things that make us angry, such as gender segregation, the pay gap and intelligent women walking around dressed as small mammals and wielding cocktail trays. We are not angry because we are fat. We are fat because we are angry and food, among its many other effects, does make you temporarily less angry.
So, would I really like to wear a bunny costume? Well, yes, obviously. But not for money. Sexual objectification is an entirely private matter – for fat and thin alike. Can we at least agree on that?
Main picture credit: Rex Features