Far too many people see fat bodies being desired as an impossibility, and see fat people as wholly unworthy of physical intimacy.
By Sherronda J. Brown
At least two women and one man have brought a lawsuit against Usher for knowingly exposing them to herpes and failing to disclose his status prior to sexual encounters with them. Though, he reportedly denies this. One of the women involved in the case against the R&B superstar has come forward to reveal her identity. Her name is Quantasia Sharpton and she is a fat Black woman.
Quantasia’s public appearance and acknowledgement of Usher’s alleged abuse defies social expectations for a fit and famous man – the collective assumption that any sexual partner of his would be a thin woman. It is simply unfathomable, to many, that Usher would ever find her fatness attractive.
Lil Duval, the human trash pile at the center of the recent Breakfast Club Boycott due to his “jokes” about murdering trans women, posted tweets expressing his sheer disbelief.
I refuse to believe Usher fucked this 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/wDE9MWiCaj
— lil duval (@lilduval) August 7, 2017
I'll believe Usher gay before I believe he fucked that girl 🤷♂️
— lil duval (@lilduval) August 7, 2017
He is not alone in his sentiments and his fans joined in on the fatphobic rampage against Quantasia. Far too many people see fat bodies being desired as an impossibility, and see fat people as wholly unworthy of physical intimacy. These people are wrong.
Fat women fuck. A lot. We have just as much capacity to be sexual beings as thin women do. Fat women can and do experience passion and romance – one-night stands and forevers and everything in between. Tender, raunchy, sensual, acrobatic. We are not strangers to these intimacies, and to deny us this possibility is to deny us our humanity.
Amid conversations about desirability politics and fatness, it is important to keep fat humanity at the forefront, because the dehumanization of fatness and fat people is at the forefront of fatphobia. This is demonstrated in Lil Duval referring to Quantasia as “this” in his tweet – as if she were an inanimate object, rather than living, sentient, and human.
But her worth and humanity are not determined by her sexual or erotic capital. Desirability should not be a prerequisite for the humanity of fat people, and I will not use evidence of men desiring her body type as the central argument against the misogyny-laced fatphobia that she and all fat women continue to experience. Whether or not people find us attractive, we deserve the right to exist free from the oppression of fatphobia.
Let’s not forget how things like misogynoir, colorism, texturism, and shapeism are constantly at play for women like Quantasia. All of these things work together to determine a fat woman’s desirability and erotic capital, especially shapeism, a system that benefits certain body shapes and types over others and impacts fat women more than any other demographic. The reality is that some of us do not always meet societal standards for conventional attractiveness as fat women, because certain forms of fatness are considered more respectable, acceptable, and forgivable.
This conversation comes on the heels of the summer obsession with “thick” Rihanna and “thick” Beyoncé – or Thickanna and Thickoncé. It also follows a week full of people praising a man for
loving fetishizing his “thick” and “curvy” wife while begging the internet for pats on the pack for his bravery. These three women are not fat, but the language used to discuss them and their bodies are coded fat fetishistic terms. Fatphobia is so entrenched that even thin and average women become subjected to its language and sentiments.
We cannot omit the fatphobia involved in fat fetishism. There are an unfortunate amount of people who will be with fat women enthusiastically in private, but vehemently deny us in public. There are also those who will not hide us, but still hold deeply fatphobic beliefs, like the idea that fat women are so grateful to receive attention from anyone that we are more enthusiastic in bed, more willing to acquiesce any requests of our partner, and more easily controlled.
Using a system that offers fat sexuality as evidence for fat humanity quickly falls into fatphobia itself, due to the inherent fatphobia involved in the politics of desirability. Regardless of whether or not we are found desirable by others, or whether or not we choose to involve ourselves in sexual or romantic entanglements at all, we still deserve to be valued as human beings. Fat women should not need to cite our erotic capital to assert our value, because our worth should not be determined by whether or not men, or anyone else, find us attractive enough to fuck us.
Author Bio: Sherronda J. Brown is a native North Carolinian with an academic background in Media Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, and African American & African Diaspora Studies. She is passionate about social justice, black feminisms, and zombies. You can support her work via PayPal and Patreon.