“All I ask is if this is my last night with you, hold me like I’m more than just a friend.” Adele belts out these lyrics so passionately that it hits the core of my soul, literally. Her latest album, 25, is probably one of the best albums of the year, and most definitely cements Adele’s status as one of the greatest soul singers of our time. When I heard these lyrics, as subtle as their meaning is, I realized a common similarity between Adele and some of the best soul singers ever. They’re fat! (Even as I type the dreaded F-word now, I feel like I have breached some code of political correctness but it is a descriptor in and of itself, and I’ll use it as such.) Like Aretha Franklin, like Etta James – Adele is fat. They are all fat, and they all create soundtracks about love and sex, that have become anthems of their time.
If you have a fat black woman, like Gabourey Sidibe’s character Becky on Empire, engage in the very act that these respected women have sung about, and frenzy ensues. I don’t watch Empire often, but I have noticed when it breaks down barriers. This was one of those moments. Becky is becoming more of her own character this season. No longer just Lucious Lyon’s assistant, Becky got it in for millions of viewers to see on national television. Unsurprisingly, much of the audience was taken aback. I turned to my Twitter app to see hundreds of people jokingly tweeting about Gabourey’s weight. They looked at her character engaging in sex as something unnatural and disturbing. They dehumanized her, and saw not one thing wrong with it.
Thankfully, a good number of people did – those fat women who wanted to make it clear that their bodies do not inhibit their sexual nature. Hence, the hashtag that came into existence that night: #myfatsexstory. In this hashtag, these women did not hold back, recounting nights of “lovemaking” and “passion” in all the glory and honor they felt towards it. It was revolutionary; and in 2015, sadly, it was necessary.
Sex is a part of life that we all seem to have a love-hate relationship with it. Our culture suppresses sex so much that we have entire systems in the film and music industry dedicated to rating content according to that meter. Yet, we still devote so much time and attention to it. With that comes an idea about who exactly can engage in sex. We readily accept and validate sex when it comes to the slim women who get wild and loose during sex scenes on television. There are no qualms when Olivia Pope has a salacious affair with the President on Scandal, nor any expression of disgust when Fiona meets a random man at the club and brings him home for the night on Shameless. There are never any condescending remarks. We see these women as desirable, attractive, and sexual. We think this is how sex should be.
Unfortunately, when Gabourey throws all caution to the wind and gets as frisky as Olivia Pope; when she takes no shame in being pleasured and adored, it becomes a problem as if it’s a secret that big women enjoy sex. As if singers like Adele or Etta haven’t made it clear, no matter how subtle and discreet, they are women that embrace their sexuality. Big women having sex is not a phenomenon. That’s why #myfatsexstory is so important and necessary. Here are women saying, they are unapologetically fat and have amazing sex and that that’s something they are proud of. There shouldn’t be a need for secrecy or modesty when it comes to that.
-Sophia Ebanks, Contributing Writer