Saturday, December 31, 2011

Big Big Love

So it's Big Big Love time! The book is "a sex and relationships guide for people of size (and those who love them)"; Hanne Blank is the author. I really liked it, even though a lot of it didn't apply to me personally. I'm what's awkwardly known as an "inbetweenie" i.e., I am somewhere between thin and fat. A lot of the book, of course, is targeted towards people who are larger than myself. But, most of us have loved ones of varied sizes, and if you want to be an ally to all of them, it's important to know some of the issues your fat peeps may contend with.

Certain sections might seem skim-worthy if you're not actually having sex. Some of it also seems a wee bit basic...I would assume that if you're going to pick up this book, you probably know that fat people don't all smell bad or are desperate (there's a section debunking common fat myths). But, I could be wrong about that. Here are my favorite parts/parts I found the most interesting:
  • Section on asexuality! It's well-done, it includes quotes from asexuals ourselves, and it's included in a chapter with all the other sexual orientations. YEAH!
  • What Hanne says are her two main take-aways: "Stop putting your life on hold" (until you're thin...or anything else, really) and "Don't expect love and sex to heal your entire life" (pgs 26 & 27).
  • A discussion of weight distribution/shape, and how this affects perceptions of someone's sexuality and gender. For instance, a pear-shaped man is quoted as saying that people just assume he's gay because his shape is traditionally considered "womanly". Apparently, apple-shaped women (that's me, I guess) "may feel like they are sexually invisible" (36). You know...I think there's some truth to that. I do have breasts, but I don't have much in the way of hips, butt, or thighs. When I was slightly heavier, I had no defined waist. I am rarely approached by anyone in a sexual manner. From hourglass-shaped asexual women, I hear different stories.
  • Good stuff about body image and acceptance. Hanne suggests this exercise: "Try finding something to compliment in every fat person you see (72)". (You don't have to say the compliment out loud unless you want to.) I can tell you, this kind of exercise really works, and it can improve your whole mood for the day. We can often be really judgmental of other people's appearances, sometimes without even realizing it ("she's wearing that?"). To change that casual criticism into something positive can be a powerful thing to do for ourselves, even (especially) if the other person doesn't know what the heck we're thinking.
  • Responses to rude comments about size. This one amused me the most: "Why am I so fat? Because every time I fuck your mom, she bakes me a pie." Of course, it hinges on someone yelling, "Why are you so fat?", but in the event that it'll be ready. (More comeback ideas...and I want all her clothes.)
Happy 2012, folks! My resolution will be to not end posts with bullet points.


Jessica said...

The "don't put your life on hold" aspect really speaks to me. Dissatisfaction with who I am is often not a good motivator for improvement, but rather an easy way to defeat myself.

There's this excellent Anne Lamott quote that I think of a lot: "Nothing outside of you is going to fix you or make you happier. That's going to have to be an inside job." I'm paraphrasing there, but that's the gist. That idea really opened my eyes.

That link to the Kate Harding piece was fantastic, thanks so much for sharing it.

Sara K. said...


Off-topic, but I am *finally* starting my own asexy blog, and I would very much appreciate joining your homies (I am very new to this blogging thing and I expect it will take me a little time to get a hang of it all, so the first few weeks might be ... chaotic).

-Sara K.

Ily said...

@Jessica: It's so true, negative or punishing motivation never works when it comes to making positive changes. Even though I know this, sometimes I still try to "motivate" myself like it's good to remind myself often that there are better ways. You're welcome for the link, I'm glad you liked it.

@Sara: Welcome to the blogosphere! I'll add you to my list.