Weight debatesWhen people see an overweight girl, they have one of two thoughts. One: She’s alone or two: She’s a lesbian.

This might be something that only happens in my country (Barbados), but I’m guessing there may be a universal truth to it. When people see an overweight girl, they have one of two thoughts. One: She’s alone, or two: She’s a lesbian.

I know. I know. We’ve come a long way from body shaming seeming like a public responsibility. Amen to the ‘The Body Is Not An Apology’ movement. But we still live in a world of stereotypes and assumptions.

There are many things that have been associated with lesbians: short hair, the colour purple (the actual colour not the book), flannel shirts, rainbows, dildos, tattoos, unicorns and apparently overweight women.

This struck my curiosity. Could our body weight be another way to ‘tell’ our sexuality? I know plenty of slim, skinny, average and ‘other’ sized lesbian ladies but they weren’t labelled as ‘lesbian’ due to their size. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making all this up in my head so went out in order to discreetly strike up a conversation with random strangers about the topic (I’m bold like that). This is kind of how the convo went down:

“No way! Straight girls would never get fat. If they like that d***, they’re gonna keep it tight to attract their man.” Said a ‘gentlemen’.

“So what about lesbians? You don’t think they care about looks? Why would you think a girl was more likely gay just because she’s overweight?” I had to steer the conversation in the right direction.

“Man, first of all, I have no idea what a girl would like in another girl but if she’s into that then it’s not going to be about looks. She probably likes her personality or how she listens or talks about her feelings and all that shit, you know? Chicks dig that. That’s why lesbians could be fat. Because lesbians don’t care.” Wow.

I was simultaneously appalled and astonished. In a way, he was paying lesbians a huge compliment. He was saying that we weren’t shallow, that we were women of substance, of complexities and have a lot more to offer than just our bodies. Granted, this also applies to hetero couples but he didn’t seem like the type of guy that was ever in a relationship. On the other hand, the answer to my question was still at large.

This gave me something to think about. I thought about myself. Now I’m not a skinny girl. Since I was a child I remember my parents making excuses like “she’s big-boned”. I’ve been chubby for as long as I can remember and later in life I developed a medical condition that made it impossible to ever be skinny. The surprising thing was that my size was never a deterring factor when dealing with girls. I was always told that I was super comfortable; like a sofa with arms. Girls would randomly sit on top of me instead of the chair or lie on top of me even if there was an empty space next to me. They liked the warmth of my skin and my embrace. The gentlemen had a point, it wasn’t much about my weight, it was always more about my heart and my mind. It took me a long time, but I finally reached a point where I can say that I love myself as I am. Sure, who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds but acceptance is so much more rewarding than starvation.

Our bodies are our temples but they can be battlefields for some, for those who are struggling with their appearance, their image and their identity. That’s why we need to be kind. Kinder than we are. It doesn’t matter what you look like, all that matters is what you think of yourself so make sure you raise the bar on that. Everything else will follow suit.

In terms of the correlation between being overweight and being a lesbian, obesity is a global non-discriminating epidemic. It affects everyone no matter your colour, race, gender or sexual orientation. I also believe that chubby people are happier people (no offence to anyone that is slim). I just feel like we don’t have to say no to the cake or count the carbs, you know? So if more lesbians are overweight, we’re probably just being happy. It’s really nothing to be alarmed about.