Thursday, July 7, 2011


When I was younger, I used to fantasize about a beautiful blonde woman I named Christine. In my fantasy, she was voluptuous, but not fat. Her hair was long, wavy and thick. She was talented and intelligent, but quiet and reserved in manner. Because of her beauty and manner, everyone was intrigued by her. Men desired her and women admired her.

Christine was an avatar of my hopes and dreams. She had the aspects of me that I liked (my hair, except blond, and my general shape, but not fat, and she had my intelligence), and the ones that I desired (good temper control, beauty, thinness). In my fantasies, people treated her and regarded her in the manner I would have liked to have been. They were interested in her, wanted to associate with her, and were keen to be in her presence. Men not only wanted her, but they wanted to take care of her. Depending on the fantasy, she had wealth or power, but was still vulnerable and needed support. She needed a lot of what I needed, despite having more than I had.

I hadn't really thought about this fantasy and the implications for quite some time, but my thoughts as of late in regards to beauty brought it back. One thing I realized is that the beauty ship has sailed for me and it's never coming back to port. I'm too old to ever be considered "beautiful", and I was too fat when I was young enough to carry the illusion of beauty as youth can do. And, don't give me any crap about how fat does not equal ugly and thin does not equal beautiful. I've already discussed that before and it's not a concept I buy into. There are many ugly thin people (I see a lot of them everyday, trust me) and beautiful fat people. However, the sort of beauty that I'm talking about is never, ever seen as a part of being fat.

Fat people can be beautiful, but the kind of beauty I'm talking about is the type that society rewards with power. My fantasy was not so much about beauty as it was about what beauty granted one in life, and no matter how gorgeous a (truly) fat woman is, she's never going to get that sort of power, not the type that people recognize as aesthetically pleasing but society at large is disinterested in. I'm not talking about the imaginary version "fat" which comes from idealizing runway models who look like human coat hangers. I'm not talking about Crystal Renn "fat", but truly fat with rolls of tissue cascading off of you and all of the skin  damage (e.g., stretch marks, discoloration where skin rubs together, etc.) that comes along with it. This is not a beauty that can confer power, but rather gets some individual recognition by people who subscribe to more varied notions of beauty. It's the essence of self-acceptance and finding ones own unique beauty, but it does not give one the things I fantasized about.

Part of me mourns the fact that I'll never have the sort of power that beauty grants people, and part of me knows it's all an illusion. I've seen women who were once considered quite attractive reach a higher age and found that life is quite confounding for them. What was once given to them with ease is now retracted. They believe they earned what they were given, and struggle to reconcile the changes in the way people treat them with how they're going to live the rest of their lives. If beauty gave you power and that power is gone, what do you do now? I'm not saying such people lack skills, but rather that it's a real blow to their identity and notions of the way the world works which causes them to live in fear of how they will get by. They may have those skills, but they may not even know where to apply them having not had need of them before.

All of that being said, part of me wishes that, for just a little while, I had lived as a true beauty. It's an experience that perhaps I never had the capacity to live in because my basic physical structure may not have made any conception of me, fat or thin, "beautiful". I'll never know, because it's simply too late to ever be sure.