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Dear Virgie purple swimsuit header

Dear Virgie purple swimsuit header

Dear Virgie,

How do I stop obsessing about weight when I know being thin makes life easier?


Dear Friend:

Oh. This question is everything, right?

There is a lot to unpack here. I think it’s important to interrogate what you think you’re getting from weight loss. Like, really. During my dieting days, my drive and desire for weight loss stemmed from a few things:

1. The desire for privilege.

I wanted all the things that come in the totally imaginary box of magical skinny prizes. Like my thin privilege fantasies went all out. I’m talking yachts, six-pack abs, glossy hair, non-stop partying, a wardrobe made entirely of bikinis made of actual gold that my boyfriend who was a model/CEO had bought me, being hoisted in slow motion onto the shoulders of aforementioned model/CEO boyfriend at the concerts and beaches we frequented daily, men driving into walls and endangering the lives of others when they saw me crossing the street, etc.

2. The desire for some goddamn peace from others.

Grand ideas aside, I wanted people to stop making fun of me. I wanted people to stop commenting on my body. I wanted people to stop treating me poorly because of my size or making assumptions about my life because of what my body looked like. I wanted men to treat me like I was a viable girlfriend candidate. I wanted to be able to find clothes I liked.

3. The desire for freedom from being my own enemy.

I wanted internal peace. I wanted to stop waking up every day and wishing I was someone else. I thought weight loss (i.e. conformity) would give me that.

4. The desire for something SO MUCH bigger than what dieting will ever be able to give anyone.

It took me a long time to recognize that deep down under all that was the desire for actual, real, bona fide freedom. Something bigger and grander than even all the gold bikinis in the world (hard to imagine, but true).

Related: Watch these Brave Women Call Out the Fatphobic Comments They’ve Faced

And I think it was number 4 that really inspires me and my life today, but it took me a long time to grow an appetite for freedom and to feel like I deserved it.

But what I feel is at the crux of your question is THE GAME. Like, let’s say you don’t even hate your body and you get that dieting is a damn racket, but the fact still remains: working your little ass off to calorie-count does win you some points with ye olde patriarchy. I totally get that. That’s a real thing. I sometimes feel like diet culture is sustained by the age old prisoners’ dilemma. Everyone hates dieting, but unless we are sure everyone is gonna opt out at once, then the leap into shameless-no-fucks-given-landia is just too scary.

Well, there’s any number of answers that any number of babes could give you, but you wrote to THIS babe. So, here’s my advice: I would argue your life isn’t actually easier when you’re not living it on your terms. And I can damn well tell you your life isn’t better when you’re not living it on your own terms.

Let me give you some context, girl. You’re flying around in the middle of space right now on some, like, magical-ass rock that’s filled with oceans and giraffes and flowers and Oreos, for reasons no one can understand. That is your life.

Do what you’ve got to do to survive, obvi, but be loud. Be a thorn in some asshole’s side. Be a bitch. Be a trouble maker. Be unapologetic. Do you on full blast. Fuck “easier.”

Hope this helps!



Dear virgie-ebx

Virgie Tovar, MA is an author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012) and the mastermind behind #LoseHateNotWeight. She holds a Master's degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times, MTV, Al Jazeera, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine Online, and Bust Magazine. Find her at www.virgietovar.com.

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