Fetishisation & feelings: the fat girl’s guide to plus-size dating apps
Skip ! Story from Relationships. When it comes to dating, I was something of a late bloomer.
Around the time my friends started losing their virginities and acquiring partners, I alternated between feeling too ashamed of my fat body even to consider letting anyone else see it and presuming that no one would want to look at me naked in the first place. Fast-forward to early university and the discovery of fat acceptance communities online, and I started dipping my toe into the metaphorical hook-up pool.
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Finding people who seemed totally at ease with the nuances of my fatness, on the other hand, might prove a little trickier. I encountered folks who seemed to avoid any contact with my stomach, as if my belly were the Loch Ness Monster arising from the ocean or from under my shirt to eat them whole.
InI began making profiles on fat-specific dating websites and apps. That is, platforms specifically targeted at fat people and our 'admirers'. I knew the stereotypes and concerns surrounding these apps. Even within fat-positive circles, there sometimes runs a deep distrust of fat fetishism. Fat fetishists are often branded as individuals who want nothing more than to, well, fetishise a fat person usually nonconsensually.
Many fat people have experienced dehumanisation in this context. Unfortunately, being thought of as a body and nothing more is something most women — regardless of size — have likely experienced. Yes, there are feeders people who enjoy feeding a partner and sometimes seeing them gain weightfeedees people who like being fed and sometimes gaining weight and gainers people who want to get bigger, whether they have a partner or not.
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Within these are also plenty of consenting adults, of all genders and sexualities, who find these sexual expressions genuinely affirming. The only difference is that no one calls people who exclusively date thin humans 'thin fetishists'. I believe fat fetishism is only demonised because fatness as a whole is demonised; if fatness is 'bad', so too must be the people who are attracted to it. I found myself exhausted from trying to make it work with folks who kind of thought I was cute but were mostly settling for the fat chick because it was better than being alone.
Fantasy Feeder FF. My favourite thing about this app is the potential for fat friendship, though.
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I find it extremely empowering to see other fat people of all genders owning their bodies in raw, unapologetic ways. FF is full of radical fat babes who post 'unflattering' and magnificent photos and clips in which they celebrate the figures that society generally considers unworthy.
WooPlus is the self-described "dating app for curvy people to enjoy dating and find love". I might go as far to describe it as the most wholesome among them.
In terms of usability, it really does feel like a social network, with a grid-like home similar to Instagram on which you can browse through people who are nearby. My personal preference when it comes to my romantic life is to find folks who are specifically into bodies like mine.
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Quite frankly, I spend enough time navigating fat-phobia on my social media feeds and in day-to-day life to want to risk even more of it in an intimate setting. Heck, my partner and I met the good, old-fashioned way: at a bar.
Firstly, not all fat fetishists are creeps. Secondly, every dating platform out there has at least some creeps.
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