Why Are Gay Men So Afraid Of Fat?

“No fats!”
“I don’t do fat.”
“If you’re fat, don’t hit me up.”
“Be in shape!”

I’m sure you all have seen, heard or maybe even used those phrases above to describe what’s acceptable in a potential mate.  Whether it’s a random hookup or a date at the movies, gay men make it very clear to everyone who is considered “attractive.”  Although all may not take this attitude, body image is still a prominent issue within our community and has outlined the way we shape our aesthetic.

Although I do not consider myself to be ugly or  morbidly obese, I know I am a big guy, weighing over 200 pounds and standing at 6’3″. Even though I don’t consider myself unattractive, I know I am not attractive to the majority of our community. I’m not muscular, toned, my waist isn’t a 32’’ in jeans and I can’t find most of my clothes in stores. I do not feel bad about any of these things; or rather, I try not to. I do, however, find myself being frustrated with the ideal body portrayed by the LGBTQ community.

Men are very visually driven in what they seek in someone. We are quick to take a double glance at the man with the chiseled features and masculine qualities, yet we never turn an eye to the portly man who is immediately marked as unattractive because his BMI index is twice what it should be. Everybody can’t be skinny and everybody can’t be the masculine guy, there has to be some sort of dynamic.

When we are so adamant with wanting that masculine man and athletic body, we fail to see all the beauty and attractiveness that others in our community have to offer. I enjoy a variety of men, and it really doesn’t matter to me if you’re skinny, short, fat or whatever. I am attracted to men and that’s that. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I like personally as well. I love a nice, tall man with a beard that has something to hold on to. I often find myself confined to dating guys within my body type. As far as I’m concerned, skinny only wants skinny.

A lot of the language such as “no fats” or “be athletic” breeds so much of the criticism of our community that we are shallow and egotistical, seeing nothing beyond what’s tangible and what we “prefer.” Although I do not bash anyone for having preferences or individual likes or dislikes, I do find it frustrating. I have learned that attractiveness is not simply just looking good, but being confident in who you are and what you look like as well. But even the most confident are still ignored and bashed for our bellies not being flat. Of course, this is an American society, and thin has been the beauty ideal for several decades now with no sign of it changing anytime soon. Fat-shaming is alive and very well, while there are people living on nothing but diet pills and water. The pressure to adhere to what is considered to be attractive is daunting and quite tiring.  It brings us to the question, when exactly do we stop feeling like we need to change just to get a date?

Most of us hope that people will see all the good we have to offer, beyond what’s between our legs and our shirt size. But too often, we are still determined by just how lean our grade of meat is.

Why do you feel gays are afraid of fat? What are your thoughts?

24 COMMENTS

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    BougieHippie

    No disrespect but I’m sure if you joined a gym your outlook would change.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Whispering Grass

    I think the above comment was rude. I think you should be your healthiest and look your best because you are most likely going to have this body for another 60 years and it needs to be functioning at its best. That has nothing to do with dating or how other gays see you. It has to do with you taking the best care of yourself and your body. You and I are body twins. I think you should make the best of what you have. You are a big man that is what it is. Life is what you make of it. You are going to have to work with what you have to the best of your ability. That is our goal in life and all we can do. I support you 100 percent.

    And while i appreciate BougieHIppie for commenting, if you take one look at his site, you’ll know why he said as little as he said and why he feels that way. So please dismiss that.

    We are living among a skinny skinny driven society in a lot of ways, but if its not for you, it just isnt. I realize it may hurt or frustrate you, but you’ve got to come back to your space and make your space the best space you can. You will get what you need in life, not what you want and then you’ll realize what you need is what you really want.

    I was very glad to read this on mused and hope to hear more from you Jeff. There are a lot of us out there like you, but we can not throw the towel in and try to fit in where we do not.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    evolsicisum

    Great feature, Jeff! I really love the direction which you took in executing this ongoing conflict in the gay community.

    Personally, I’ve learned to go with the flow of things, respecting the preference of others because the ultimate goal is to be healthy, whether big or skinny, and people have truly lost all respect for that.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Jeff Perkins

    Although I appreciate your comment, I do however find it be disrespectful. Although I hate to explain myself, this article is neither a cry out about wanting to fit in or anything along those lines. It is simply a perspective from a person within our community who sees the beauty aesthetic being narrow and limited.

    Not that I have to tell you this but, I do workout and I lead an active lifestyle and I consider myself to be quite healthy. Like many others in our community or not, we are dictated by what society says is beautiful and what it says is not. So thanks for the advice, I hope that you are happy with your outlook.

    If you all want to reach me you can follow me on Twitter (@aquarianlogic) or email me aquarianlogic@gmail.com. I appreciate your comments. Share with your friends too!

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Jeff Perkins

    Yes I agree. It’s what I’ve learned to do, but still I notice it and hope that one day we can be a little more kinder to each other.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Kema

    But that’s just it. Not all everyone wants to kill themselves in a gym to fit someone’s shallow ideals. Why can’t we be happy the way we are?? Not everyone wants to look like the typical gym queen.

    • Reply October 18, 2012

      BL

      If you don’t want to kill yourself in a gym, then don’t. Just don’t be surprised or angry when the typical “gym queen” doesn’t want you.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Jeff Perkins

    Exactly! The point is, we shouldn’t always feel pressured to go to the gym to change our outlook about our bodies. At the root of what it means to be attractive, is a social construct of beauty that we all accept and think we are supposed to adhere to. I know full well that many in our community, including my friends living by that limited and narrow ideal of “No fats, no fems.”

    I believe that I can be just as attractive as any man with a six pack or whatever else, but as I know that part is beautiful about myself, I also know it is socially “ugly” as well.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Whispering Grass

    I can dig it. :) Sorry you took offense to it.

  • Jeff, kudos to you. I loved your refreshing perspective. However, I think our society is afraid of ‘fat,’ and that phenomenon is worked out in various sectors of the larger sphere. The pressure to be thin in order to be in is a plague that many social groups experience. Things are changing, but they won’t shift over night.

  • Thanks Gabe, I appreciate your support! You always have something poignant to contribute. I totally agree and feel the pressure daily to become thinner, like so many people in our society. But it seems to be somewhat heightened in the gay community, the pressure. I also think that behind all of these things, is the unwillingness to love ourselves as well. When you love self, you can give it out to others at your core.

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    BougieHippie

    Then why complain about someone else preference?

    “Being healthy” isn’t what this article was about it was about how in dating some ppl are over looked based on their appearance and how this is poignant in the “gay” community (which I hate when people are willing to take a shot and generalize their own community to make a point) Its society overall not gay or straight. They point is people like what they like.

    If we are all honest no one wants to date someone they aren’t attractive to i.e. height, skin color, bad teeth, poor style and lack of education all of these are the same. I mean attraction is was interest you and yes intellect keeps you. Still you need something to look at and turn you on. There are people attracted to fat ppl and extremely skinny ppl. If its a such problem then you date the ugly fat guy. oh but let me guess “you have standards.

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    BougieHippie

    However I’m sure if the guy with six pack asked you for your number you wouldn’t say now. Please don’t give me that “yes, if he’s nice, smart and have a good spirit” crap. We are talk appearance only!

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    001

    If your BMI is 10+ what it should be doesn’t that make you obese/ increase your odds of so many illnesses? Many associate being fat with laziness/ poor decisions(at least when it comes to taking care of yourself). I think people should be confident and personally I feel the most confident when I’m “being the best me” that I can or working in that direction educationally, aesthetically and professionally. Someone once said “if you look like that now, how will you look in 40 years?” ..
    As far as why do they fear it/ shun it? Perhaps when you spend so much time working to distance yourself from an attribute, seeing it in others becomes a turn off like someone quitting cigarettes.

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    001

    I neglected to mention though, if you are happy and comfortable, don’t change there are too many miserable homos out there haha don’t be a statistic for the sake of a few pants sizes

  • Reply July 16, 2012

    G.

    I’m always the fat guy in my crew… I know my role. I still get play though just as much as the next guy. hell, even I’m all for “no fats”! LOL

    • Reply July 16, 2012

      It Hurt's To Be In Love

      God this was funny! +2

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    Emerson

    I definitely agree. I am a thicker dude myself and it is funny that the people who say no fats usually are the ones who are staying at home with mom, broke, no job, no education, etc.

  • Reply September 12, 2012

    ILBear

    I prefer a fat man any day over a slender or muscular man, and I know a lot of other men who feel the same way!

  • Reply September 29, 2012

    Bill

    If you think being fat is bad, try being middle-aged or a senior citizen or older! On the other hand, there are guys who like daddies, older men who like other older men, and thin guys who like chubby ones. I certainly see enough obese men (who look like they’re about to give birth to quintuplets!) getting hit on by guys — often much younger and slimmer guys — in bear bars. I think a lot depends on where you go and what the crowd is like. The truth is whether your “problem” is that you’re fat, bald, old or what-have-you, you will turn on some guys and turn others off. You may have less admirers than a young, hot guy with a perfect face and body, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any.

    If you’re a big guy who is really healthy [a big if] it’s no big deal — and I’m well aware that being thin doesn’t automatically make someone healthy — but I fear that the deification of fat in certain gay quarters will lead to a lot of men not taking care of themselves, a real problem as they get older. Being obese does increase health risks, whether we like it or not. This should be the chief reason people are “afraid of fat” and not necessarily how often they get laid.

  • Reply October 25, 2012

    Jeffrey

    Well, I’m a black gay man that likes all types of guys, but I still find it hard to meet dateable men here in Virginia Beach. I fit the “physical ideal,” but not the racial one. I think things are tough all over for most people. Eventually those men who mercilessly discriminate against other gay men will get the same thing done to them as they get older and get regarded as too old or too whatever. I don’t think most people can escape rejection completely–even the “pretty” ones.

  • Reply December 26, 2012

    TruView

    Honestly, from my experience, when I’ve given fat dudes a chance, they always seem to have this stuck up attitude. Thinking everyone wants them and that they’re so fine, when in reality, everyones looking because you’re fat. I don’t really care too much about weight (to an extent lol), but when a fat man starts acting like he’s fine, FUCK THAT. I remember one fat dude I gave a chance too had the nerve to feel on my belly and say “I wanna see how many rolls I can count” Bitch, you’re like 250 pounds, never come for me lol (and the thing is I’m a normal weight) Bottom line, if you’re a fat dude, I’m down to date as long as you keep that Id in check. Follow your superego, lose a few pounds, then try again. This may seem like a mean comment but honestly it’s the truth. Cant stand some fat guys! Aggy as shit…

    • Reply December 30, 2012

      L. Michael Gipson

      Heaven forbid the fat dude have the self-esteem of a body boy. How dare he! (*sarcasm*)

  • Reply December 29, 2012

    Bray MrOptimistic Travez

    I find myself asking this question alot….im a bigger guy, and attractive but in forever stuck in the friend zone…im also often told that i would make a great lover /husband for a great guy…im patient but after a while a person can only take so much…reading this was great for me because i always thought i was alone in this lol i even thought about sliming down but i had to question If i would be doing it for me or because its what society think i should look like..so i decided to do it for me…i love this…thanks for writing it

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