It’s a fair thing to say that the bear community features a lot of larger guys. I recently saw an acerbic post on Facebook from a rather well built and muscled bloke whining about fat guys calling themselves bears. In his mind, they weren’t entitled to the name just for being larger of frame. I found his attitude repugnant and contrary to the general inclusiveness I’ve found in the community, but it certainly wasn’t the first time I’d heard mention of the problem of highly muscled men trying to seize ownership of the bear name.
You’d think for the number of … portly … men in the bear community there’d be a strong acceptance of the joy that comes in a diverse range of body types – thin, svelte, solid, build, brick shit house muscled, chubby and well, quite frankly, obese.
If you think I’m being slightly rude for using that word, I’ll call a spade a spade here.
I am obese. By any stretch of the imagination, I’m a “fat cunt”.
And if you think I’m being harsh to myself here, you don’t know the half of it. That’s me being positively pleasant about my body shape compared to what I’ve said and thought about myself in my darkest hours of self loathing. The words aren’t pretty and the images aren’t pretty.
But I know one thing for sure – misery loves company, and I equally bet that there’s a lot of guys in the bear community who, like me, sometimes have that quiet moment of self reflection about their body size and aren’t too happy with what they realise. Yet, we go on, and we celebrate being in a community that allows us to be larger and not feel persecuted or picked on for our weight – something many of us have struggled with for most of our lives, often having been subject to torturous treatment during the sharp and tactless rigours of childhood. So, to be perfectly blunt, when I walk out my door in a t-shirt that doesn’t make any effort to hide my ample stomach underneath, I no longer care, since I know I’m a member of a group of people who also don’t care.
Humans can be pricks sometimes though, and I sincerely believe that at times when we’re frustrated with ourselves we lash out at others for one of two reasons:
-a- recognising they share a common trait, one which we don’t like, and equally don’t like to acknowledge in ourselves;
-b- jealousy they have something that we find difficult if not possible to attain.
So when I see bears making snarky and unpleasant body image smears against people who happen to be skinny, it pisses me off.
We’re meant to be inclusive.
We’re meant to be tolerant.
We’re meant to understand, more than any other group in the gay community, what it’s like to have body image problems. We don’t tolerate thin people making fat jokes about our brethren. So answer me this: why do we tolerate each other making thin jokes about other people? The “I’m too fat” body image problem is one we all understand, but when people make jokes about thin people, do they stop to consider that equally there are some people who can never put on weight, no matter what they do, and they, too, have body image problems?
Perhaps the greatest lie we’re ever told as children is:
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
Sharp comments about weight can be as equally harsh coming from large people about thin people as they are from thin people about larger people.
Isn’t it time we actually let everyone understand they can let go of body image problems?
But do me a favour: if you think it’s funny to make jokes about thin people, remember to call me the “fat cunt” every time you see me. At least that way I’ll know you’re not being a hypocrite.