Upon discovering the practice of radical self-love, the decision to identify with the word “fat” was handed to me like a gift, and I opened it with the eagerness of a five-year-old getting a trip to Disney. I started happily and bravely calling myself fat when I realized that “fat” is not a curse word. It’s an adjective. It’s part of my physical descriptor.
Before my exploration of body acceptance, I had believed that my body was not feminine because I was not petite, like a woman should be. I drowned myself in oversized T-shirts. I wore ripped jeans and let them hang low, over my sneakers, dragging the broken hems on the ground. I felt that I wasn’t deserving of pretty clothes because the torn, ill-fitting ones helped me blend in, I was told that oversized was better suited for my body type, which was conveniently called “bigger”, “larger”, or “different”. Never fat.
Throughout my years in high school and college, I feasted my eyes on positive fat images of inspiring, beautiful, successful ladies. Women like Marilyn Wann, Mama Cass, and Beth Ditto, helped me realize that my body is (and all bodies are) beautiful and majestic. I allowed myself to dress any way that I wanted. I gave myself permission to indulge in short sundresses, pink lipstick and hair curlers. I granted my body access to “feminine” attributes and tendencies. I reconnected with the gender which I identify with, with more love and open-mindedness than ever.
Femme isn’t just about wearing skirts and liking the color pink. I could still be wearing oversized pop punk band tees and have dirt under my fingernails and identify as femme. Femme is a part of a revolution, which has been a long time in the making, to reclaim words that have previously been used to hurt, disparage or disassemble groups of triumphant people. It’s about having certain characteristics which I was taught made me weak or unattractive and letting them become the characteristics which make me powerful and sexy. Thanks to the internet, I found regular women like me, (like Tess, Jessica and Erin) who also identified with being fat and femme while recognizing that by doing so, they are making a political statement about gender, sexuality and body acceptance.
I’ve spent the past few years reigning myself queen of all that is fat and femme. Recently, I came across arguments that argue that “Femme as an identifier was born of the queer community and therefore hetero cis women have no right to “reclaim” as it never belonged to them.” Even though I identify as queer, I’m incredibly straight-passing and have had mostly heteronomative experiences. To many feminists, this means I shouldn’t be identifying with this reclaimed word that has empowered me tremendously. While I do believe that queer and trans* people have been marginalized more than heterosexual cisgendered people, I also believe that before I found the words to be able to better explain who I am, I was lacking in self-esteem.
Finding power in words that I had previously thought held me back was a huge and important part to my personal growth and my political lifestyle. I had been socialized to believe that I was too fat to embrace my femininity. Using the word “femme” gives me the same empowerment as, I believe, the reclaiming of the word is meant to give.
I am making the conscious political decision to continue to be a fat, fierce, femme queen because I carry the crown in core. Every time I lather up in self-love, I am cleansing my body of a few of the hurtful comments and experiences that kept me from my reign. When I’m feeling like my ego could eat up the whole world, I will have a tendency to post fabulous photos of myself on the internet and title them “*~!*Femme Majestic Goddess*!~*”, so that others can recognize the righteousness of my stature, and gain the bravery to holster their own body positive power.