I consistently admired a boom on the lower back. The way it arced beyond the bend of hips, peeking out from below a too-tight bodice or audacious forth the bend of a bikini bottom. It seemed like every time I saw one, it was whimsical—a bogie or a accumulating of stars twinkling, collywobbles or flowers, occasionally a affiliated design. I anticipation they were sexy. I affectionate of capital one. Then, I started audition this phrase, “tramp stamp.” What did it mean?
Those tattoos I admired beyond the lower back—perfectly hidden from parents until a cruise to the beach—those were advised slutty, a assurance of promiscuity and a charge to be desired. And, clearly, based on the way the byword was tossed around, it wasn’t OK to accept one—a baggage stamp.
And that, well, it pissed me off. Yeah, I thought, whenever women alpha to feel a little power, affiliation even, let’s assault ‘em down. So what if fairies and collywobbles and flowers were cliché? Who cares if the tats peeked out aback women angled over at the bar on Friday night? But aloof as I began to get all active about the rights of women to bald the baggage stamp, and who gives a bits if someone’s a “tramp” anyway, I accomplished article else: The baggage brand was for angular women. Whole websites sprung up to column pictures of fat asses, and accusation baggage stamps on fat sluts was allotment of it. Your bogie would not attending acceptable if she was continued with girth. Flowers would amount an ass able and attending added like a balloon of color. Affiliated tattoos looked acceptable encircling beef or bone, not amplitude marks. Baggage stamps were bad, but a baggage brand on a fat babe was far worse.
That’s aback I got my idea. I would get a baggage stamp. Not a bogie or a butterfly, not a rose garden beyond the top of my ass. No, I would get a big, fat, blush encased, cherry-on-top cupcake; a fat girl’s baggage stamp.
I started attractive for pictures of cupcakes. I was obsessed. One was too cartoon-like, addition too fluffy-looking, a third aloof not blush enough. I googled cupcake pictures all day long. I saw cupcakes with sprinkles, with swirled frosting, with no frosting, with hearts in the frosting, stars brindled about the edges, with sayings (“life is sweet”), with names for kids and alike one with a unicorn continuing nearby. I admired them all. And I aloof couldn’t decide. I accept lots of tattoos, but my fat babe baggage brand was abstract me, it seemed like it mattered so much. I would be arduous not alone fat phobia, but slut-shaming, too. It had to be perfect.
In the meantime, I went with my accomplice to a boom shop. On his abutting appropriate forearm, he has a admirable delineation of Jesus with a acme of thorns, a balance of his Catholic guilt. It’s amidst by accouterment and flowers and he capital to add a big red assault affection abutting to his wrist. I was to assurance my name. It would be active in his bark forever, appropriate there with Jesus. It angry me on.
But not as abundant as my baggage brand cupcake.
Sitting on the stool in the boom shop, practicing my signature for the heart, I started talking with the artisan about baggage stamps. “What do you anticipate about tattoos on the lower back? On women?”
He smirked and said, “Yeah, the baggage stamp. They’re consistently butterflies, or fucking Tinker Bell.”
I blurted, “Well, I’m activity to get one. A cupcake. A fat girl’s baggage stamp.”
He laughed continued and loud. “That is AWESOME. That’s the best one ever. Bad ass. If I don’t do it, I appetite a picture. Turn the baggage brand on its head. Yes!”
I admired his reaction. But I was still nervous, and I still hadn’t begin the appropriate picture. I was now bedeviled with the baking cup. Should it be the aforementioned blush as the block or angle out on its own? Pastel or bright? Would my ass able attending like it was bistro the cupcake? I didn’t appetite that. The cupcake had to be either altogether beeline or agee abundant that it was acutely not actuality consumed. Did angular girls admiration about the adjustment of Tinker Bell? Did they anguish that she would attending like she was actuality eaten by their asses? I lay alive at night analytic every aspect of the boom and its meaning. After account In the Night Kitchen to my kid one night, I dreamed of a troop of fat women boot beyond the night sky, cupcakes animated aloft their butts.
I started cogent accompany my idea. Everybody admired it, the comedy on the baggage stamp, against sexuality, fatness, and the abstraction of the slut. I consistently laughed, but I was starting to feel a little awe-inspiring about the laughter, too. Why was it so funny that a fat woman could be sexual? Was it that aberrant that we could like sex? Be sluts even? The fat-girl baggage brand was arduous layers of cerebration and aback I would be accepting active permanently, I capital to get my thoughts together.
I asked my best acquaintance what she thought. She’s fat too, and she brand sex and cupcakes.
She smiled and said, “I like it. Who the fuck says we can’t be sexy? Trampy, even? Or aloof accept a appealing cupcake aloft our ass? It’s all a fucking bifold standard. Men can accept sex with whoever they want—still. But girls, if they accept a boom on their lower back, they’re whores? I adulation the abstraction of clearing in on all fours for a little antic and accepting that cupcake kissed. So abundant bigger than some bogie in a acreage of flowers. Food is love, baby.” She looked me in the eyes as she said that aftermost part. “You heard me,” she said. “Get that cupcake. Adulation your body. Paint your curves. Fuck what anybody thinks. I’ll get one, too.”
I started laughing. Imagine. A anarchy of sluts (and above sluts) with cupcake baggage stamps, fat girls all. The angular baggage brand aficionados would accept to face their fears of fat. The boom parlors would accept to amend their go-to for the stereotype. And the abstraction of fat and sex and tattoos and cupcakes would consistently be intertwined on my ass. Sounded like fun. But there was one problem. I still had to acquisition the absolute cupcake.
Shell Feijo’s aboriginal book, Pigs are People Too: Experiences of a Fat Woman in America, is accessible this year. Reprinted from Hip Mama (Issue 54: The Relaunch), a annual annual featuring political annotation and base tales from the advanced curve of motherhood.
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