When the trailer for Rough Night opens up on my Facebook feed, I’m not quite sure what to expect, but the fact that Ilana Glazer and Scarlett Johansson are going to be in a film together kind of piques my interest.
The storyline is set to follow a group of five friends (also featuring the inimitable Zoë Kravitz, LOL-inducing Kate McKinnon, and effortlessly fun Jillian Bell) as they come together for a bachelorette party weekend in Miami, Florida.
I can’t help but wonder: Will this movie offer me a dose of Millennial angst and almost painfully relatable instances of recreational drug use? How many subtle references to The Avengers can I uncover? What sort of feminist values, if any, are going to fill the undercurrent of the plot?
So I watch the preview for two minutes and forty-one seconds, hoping to feel at least cautiously optimistic about what these five actors (each power-houses in their own right) are about to offer.
Casual optimism is quickly replaced by frustration, though.
Halfway through the trailer, the cocaine- and cocktail-driven tale thickens. A male stripper enters the picture, seemingly hired by ScarJo’s besties as a premarital send-off, one last hurrah.
A scene featuring this aforementioned conventionally-attractive-almost-naked-dude dancing in ScarJo’s face quickly evolves to one of him sitting down on a chair, uttering a terrified “woah woah woah woah” as Jillian Bell’s character, Alice, runs towards his bare flesh, ready to pounce.
It’s here where he dies. Alice, whose body is ever-so-slightly larger than those of her pals, manages to end his entire existence with what I can only assume is a combination of her blow-fueled adrenaline and her weight.
That it would be Alice, out of all the friends, who kills the stripper is where things begin to feel problematic for me. I can’t imagine that Jillian Bell is larger than the average American woman (who wears a size fourteen to eighteen, depending on which study you check out).
In fact, I imagine she’s much smaller than that. But she is visibly curvier than her co-stars, and arguably curvier than your average Hollywood actress.
I use the word “curvy” because in no logical, troll-less universe is she at all big — and as a fat woman, I find this quite significant.
You see, fat women, femmes, and other folks misgendered as women in the real world are used to the narrative presented in Rough Night. Many of us with love interests or paramours smaller to ourselves (particularly when those partners have penises) are asked, “How does that work?” on a regular basis.
How do we not break their genitalia? How do they not suffocate under our roll-infested bodies? How are they not afraid? How are we not afraid?
When it comes time to doing anything physical, be it sports or sex or a light perambulation around the garden, our bodies are often treated with a dose of skepticism. Can we actually do this? Should we even try?
As a result, many of us internalize the belief that fat bodies have some kind of intrinsic ability to destruct, harm, or injure thinner ones, that our bodies are a danger not only unto others, but unto ourselves.
This belief does nothing to alleviate the self-hatred and general negativity so many fat people assign themselves, courtesy of existing in a world with deeply ingrained biases against them. It does nothing to tackle the dehumanization we so regularly experience.
But the truth is, despite narratives that suggest we must fear, hate, and “fix” our fatness, there are plenty of reasons not to.
There are plenty of reasons to see your chubs and rolls and squishy bits as the fun, beautiful entities that they are. So please toss aside the idea that an ever-so-slightly chubby chick is always destined to end a life with the impact of her girth, and bear with me.
1. No, You Probably Won’t Kill Anyone by Jumping on Them or Riding Them
By rough estimates based on a lot of Google image searching, I would wager that I weigh at least 150 pounds more than Alice. And I have never broken anyone’s body parts or injured passerby because of my weight.
I’m not saying that I couldn’t. If I really wanted to squash my partner with the whole of my body weight on a bad couple day, I might be able to do so. This would require careful calculation and, most likely, the bulk of my weight placed onto his chest in order to impair his breathing. It wouldn’t be easy, but perhaps it’d be doable if I were very determined.
But death by jumping? Death by riding? Not so much. The human body is not such a fragile thing.
So rather than fearing the supposed risk factor to be found in your jiggle, I highly recommend exploring your body’s limitless potential.
Just to be clear, however, the “cowgirl” is the most dangerous sexual position in the realm of all things kama sutra. This is because it’s surprisingly easy for the momentum of a pubic bone to cause penile fractures if the positioning of two (or more) parties involved isn’t quite right/comfortable.
This shit can happen regardless of one’s size. And in no way has being a fat “cowgirl” ever been proven to amp the risk.
2. In Truth, Your Fatness Is Super Soft and Cushiony
What would you rather be covered in: A tub of marshmallows or blocks of wood with hard edges at every corner? Well, think of your fatness as marshmallowy goodness: Just as soft and in no way as dangerous when propelled as those wooden blocks.
There are plenty more benefits to its softness, though. You probably make for the best pillow ever. Dogs, babies, and lovers in the presence of your wobbly bits should consider themselves lucky as fuck.
There’s also a kind of delicate beauty to the cushiony nature of your bod. Like you’re some kind of mythological goddess or celestial being and the size of your body is a metaphor for your power – if that sort of thing excites you, it absolutely does it for me.
There’s a strength, too. That soft, cushiony surface is not generally considered acceptable or covetable by mainstream society and culture, at least not right now. Walking through life in a marginalized body is never easy, and being forced to confront your marginalization in everything from sitcoms to “feminist” movies to runways to hecklers on the street is never fun.
So it definitely takes a certain kind of power to cope, to live loudly, to live authentically, to take up space. And there’s a lot to love about that.
3. There Are Plenty of Bedroom-Related Perks to Your Chunks
Having partaken in sexual acts both as a thin person and a fat one, I feel pretty confident in saying that there are certain intimate perks to my body as a fatty that I wouldn’t trade for all the plus size crop tops in the world – and no, I’m not belittling thin sex or thin sex-havers. Both of which are cool, too.
I enjoy the fact that my enormous love handles provide something for partners underneath me to grab onto and utilize to sway me further or faster, depending on the mood.
I like that the weight of my belly presses down into my pubic region if ever I’m on top of someone, adding a little extra pressure that goes a long way.
Feeling jiggly bits can be quite a sensory experience when allowed to be as well. And you know what? I adore seeing my fat thighs wrapped around another human, sometimes seeming to erotically drape their entire middle section.
These are just some things I like, but I’m certain that there are plenty other aspects of fat sex that other fat people like, too. A good friend of mine once said that being the fattest one in the bedroom helped her feel more in control – as though her size reflected a kind of dominance she didn’t know she had before she actively started loving her body.
Another dear friend says they feel like a work of Rubenesque art when they are doing the nasty. Like the combination of their fat body with other fat bodies, or with thin bodies, could actually make for a scene in a painting.
Your fatness doesn’t have to make you afraid of sex or intimacy, despite popular belief. If you allow yourself to explore these things in safe settings with a partner or partners who make you feel comfortable, you might actually discover something pretty magical.
4. Health Isn’t as Black or White as Your Sixth Grade Teacher Probably Suggested
I can very vividly remember the day when my science teacher pointed to a chubby boy in the class, and then to me. “If you guys carry on gaining weight, your fat asses will be lucky to see forty,” she told our twelve-year-old selves.
This comment made me terrified of my own self for years.
The thing is, before discovering medical texts exploring the notion of Health at Every Size (HAES) alongside radical body politics activism, I was convinced that my fat was irrevocably, innately dangerous.
It never occurred to me that there were types of fat: That the subcutaneous kind was the jiggly stuff I could feel in my hands, and that many doctors do not consider hazardous whatsoever, and that the visceral kind was the sort of fat that wraps itself around one’s organs, and that humans of all sizes can have.
It never occurred to me that I could make dietary or fitness choices that made me feel good, with no intention of losing weight while practicing them.
It never occurred to me that diabetes and heart failure and high cholesterol are conditions people of all sizes face.
It never occurred to me that even if fat was always unhealthy, human beings make myriad unhealthy choices every single day – choices that concern-trolls and family and “well-meaning” friends and faceless cyber bullies don’t think to police or ridicule on the regular.
Choices like smoking, or having unprotected sex with strangers, or speeding down a highway without a seatbelt, or binge drinking until the inevitable four hours of vomiting ensue.
It also never occurred to me that proving my health was not a prerequisite for expecting tolerance or respect.
Once all these things did occur to me, falling in love with my body – and perhaps more importantly, treating my body with respect – became quite simple.
So are you ready to (consensually) jump onto your best friend next time you see them, just because you missed them like crazy? Feeling amped to try that sexual position you thought was “off limits” because you don’t wear a single-digit pant size? In the mood to pose like the celestial beauty that you are?
It’s totally cool if you’re not, of course. These things take time.
But from my experiences, such acts never need to come with a warning sign. My fat body – like your fat body – isn’t a hazard. It’s a goddamn treasure.
Marie (otherwise known as Miggle) Southard Ospina is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a freelance journalist and size acceptance activist. Her loves include: writing about plus size fashion, body politics, and fat positivism; watching a lot of sci-fi; and listening to ungodly amounts of folk music. She can be found discussing body image on Good Morning America and StyleLikeU, with writing on Bustle, Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and Volup2. Read her articles here.