“I am a ‘Person,’ NOT an Object!” The Peculiar Fetishization Surrounding Ladies with Lipedema


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Does it seem every time you post a scantily-clad snap on social media, the fellows are sliding into your DMs faster than you can say, “Um…hello!” What gives?  We peek into the perverted and often, perplexing world of fat fetishism.
Chubby chaser, BBW (Big, Beautiful Women), Plus-sized lady lover…these terms are all synonymous with the ever-growing subculture that seeks to get off by overtly and unapologetically objectifying women of ample, physical stature.  Then, there are the lipedema-loving lads who specifically seek out females who sport the distinct characteristics of the fat deposition disorder – large, lumpy legs, thick angles, big bottom, etc.  Unsurprisingly, most of these women simply don’t know how to deal with these men’s unbidden, overzealous attention.  While it may seem like an innocuous attraction from a dashing suitor, it can be quite frustrating for the female battling both the bulge – and the boys.

Personal Preference or Playful Perversion?
Corissa Enneking, fat activist and outspoken blogger of Fat Girl Flow depicts fat fetishism as the overwhelming sexual attraction to overweight or “obese” people specifically due to their size.  While many women (and even men) willingly enter into these seemingly “alternative” romantic or sexual relationships, the thought of being fetishized doesn’t come without an undeniable degree of dehumanization.  “So many of us have so much shame around fat bodies being sexual and desirable and wanted, I think there is an element of the internalized fatphobia that causes us to kind of write off fat admirers and fat fetishists from the get-go and believes it to be ridiculous that someone could actually really, really enjoy our bodies,” adds Dawn Serra, sex coach, and educator.  While many lipedema patients and overweight women have been maliciously marginalized and unfairly judged for their larger-than-life bodies compared to their thinner, fitter female counterparts, men of size are often cheered and “high-fived” for snagging the seemingly unattainable, quintessential, “arm candy” type.  In fact, it’s expected that regardless of a man’s physical stature, size, etc., he deserves – and is entitled – to his pick of the litter.  (FYI, no man is!)  Source

Typically, when one aimlessly wanders down the rabbit hole of online “big gal” fetish searches, one is sure to find an endless array ranging from racy, raunchy pics of pouty, plus-sized models posing suggestively in their latest, lacy lingerie looks or belly-baring bikinis to the more explicit sites focused on “face squashing,” “smothering,” and the fetish flavor of late  – the “fat feeding” or “feederism” phenomenon responsible for inspiring addictive, binge-worthy reality television shows you just can’t look away from.  Cara Cruz, the refreshingly candid and irresistibly cute lipedema activist, author of the wildly popular Pale Ginger Pear blog, and current patient of leading lipedema specialist, Dr. Jaime Schwartz, offers an interesting insight on the often dark yet deliriously intriguing fascination with obese females.  It would appear that assertive suitors would show up in droves when her lipedema was at its worst.  “As I look back over several of my past relationships, I feel I was viewed more of a fetish than I was a person due to my size.  I only really got approached my men when my lipedema got worse.”  

As if social stigmatization was not already enough for ladies living with lipedema, navigating the murky, weary waters of the dubious dating pool is just another one of life’s hair-pulling annoyances to contend with.  Not knowing if you’re being pursued because of your plumpness or truly loved for the lady beneath the bulges, lumps, and bumps can be gratifying, fun, frustrating, and infuriating all at once.

Spotting the Red Flags of a Fat Fetishist and What to Do About It
Unsure if the hot guy you’ve been dating is into you or the number on your scale?  Here’s how to tell if that “special” someone is only in it for the fat:

  • He’s too transfixed on your appearance

He’s always asking about your weight, how much you weighed in the past, your pants size, etc. Guys don’t even inquire about skinny girls about their dress size.  That’s just weird.  If he’s all consumed with your prodigious appearance, it may be time to confront him head-on about his unnerving obsession or simply move on.  No woman has time for that toxic nonsense.

  • He always wants to feed you – even after you’ve both had eaten

If your Prince Charming is always looking to take you to the Cheesecake Factory to indulge in those unhealthy, sizeable portions and 2000-calorie cheesecake slices, even after you’ve just had a full-sized meal, he may just be a man with an insatiable fat fetish.  Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s also cruel and selfish, and you need to call him out on his unacceptable, damaging behavior ASAP.

  • He becomes distant or does a disappearing act when you suggest losing weight

If you get the unexpected vibe he’s about to “ghost” after you bring up losing weight or the possibility of undergoing lipedema reduction surgery, let him go.  He’s doing you a favor.  Going from sizzling hot to ice-cold as soon as you bring up weight loss is a red-hot flag and is indicative of the fact, that he’s only in it for the fat and not the fabulous female you genuinely are.

Most lipedema ladies who seek surgical treatment for their condition will soon notice their once-overflowing dating pool has leveled off, with less and less men sliding into their DMs.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but a way to weed out the unwanted.  Conversely, the same thing usually happens to the conventionally “preferred-sized” women who suddenly pack on the pounds during an unprecedented pandemic.  Love is complicated, lipedema notwithstanding.  No situation is perfect, and sometimes you’ll struggle to try to figure out whose intentions are sincere or whose are sinister.  Stay vigilant, ladies, and never settle for less.

If you feel you may benefit from lipedema revision surgery and would like to book a consultation with Dr. Jamie Schwartz to evaluate your current physical situation, as well as your medical and lipedema surgical history, be sure to contact our office to speak with any one of our compassionate, highly-knowledgeable staff members.  We look forward to hearing from you and we’re always here to help.