#Sexuality

Plus-Sized Women And Dating: Your Weight Never Determines Your “Datability”

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Plus-Sized Women And Dating: For many plus-sized women, the dating world is nothing short of absolute hell. In a world where slenderness is considered the peak of beauty, plus-sized women struggle to find their place. Wherever they look, including movies or the lingerie advertisement banners on tall buildings, they see a woman much smaller than them being revered by the world. Whenever plus-sized women are represented on screen, they are seldom portrayed as the desirable romantic interest. They are dehumanised and often made into the butt of cruel jokes. This practice has a terrible emotional and psychological impact on people. Such jokes and stereotypes have the potential to irreversibly crush the self-esteem and mental health of many.

I have seen this narrative affect people in two different ways. In the first case, it affects plus-sized women. Many of the plus-sized women I have met struggle with terrible self-confidence. I have seen many of them completely withdraw from the dating world or stay with an inadequate partner because of their low-self esteem. They assume that they are undesirable and that their toxic partner is doing them a favour by agreeing to date them. These women have the incorrect belief that there are no men out there who are willing to date them. Their body image issues even stop them from pursuing better relationships. Society necessarily taught these women to see themselves in the worst way possible.

This is what a plus-sized friend of mine had to say about the topic, “I have always been bigger than most of the girls in my class. I never really had a problem with it until I became a teenager. In class, a lot of my friends had boyfriends, and being just like every other teen, I wanted to experience that too. But by then, I had realised that my male classmates were more interested in my slender friends than me. I was not ‘date-able’ according to them. There was one boy I liked in class, but I never dared to go up to him. When I told my friends about my feelings, they asked me to keep them to myself as he was way out of my league. I was even told that he would laugh at me in front of the whole. For a long time, I thought I was too ugly to be loved. I have regained much of my confidence as an adult now, and I love my body, no matter the size. But those years will always be a dark memory etched into my mind.”

The second thing I have noticed is how it affects the people who are attracted to plus-sized women. I once talked to a client who liked the touch and feel of plus-sized women rather than slender women. He described to me, in incredible detail, everything that made him like larger women over slender ones. He also told me that he would never admit this out loud. He considered his preference for plus-sized women as a ‘fetish’ that he would like to resist or fight against. He felt that liking relatively larger women was wrong. He was ashamed and sought to hide what he really wanted.

Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to me might not be somebody else’s specifications of beauty. People are interested in and attracted to different features and appearances. Your weight, in no way, determines your ability to be a good partner. Your size is not inversely proportional to your beauty either. Women, in general, are seen as an object of male desire through the eyes of patriarchy. When this entitled society sees a woman that does not do her ‘only job’ of being attractive correctly, it lashes back as it feels its foundation become unstable. That is why a plus-sized woman loving her own body is the best thing she can do for herself and one of the worst blows she could land on a terrible system.

Pallavi Barnwal is a certified sexuality coach and founder of a sex-positive platform Get Intimacy. She has been featured in HUNDREDS — of magazines, newspapers, and online articles as a sexpert – Huffington Post, India Today, Vogue, The Hindu, Dainik Bhaskar, Indian Express, TimesOfIndia, BBC, Deccan Chronicle, Femina, Mint, and more. Pallavi specialises in helping people address challenges facing their sexuality and intimacy and provides them with skills and tools to experience more pleasure and satisfaction in their intimate lives. Views expressed are the author’s own.


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