Lindy West and her husband

Quick Hit: Lindy West on being a fat and happy bride

The wonderful Lindy West has a wonderful essay up at The Guardian about being fat on her wedding day in a culture in which “being fat and happy and in love in public is still a radical act.” 

As a fat woman, if you ask for help or guidance on almost any topic, what you inevitably hear is some version of “Take up less space.” Diminish yourself. Feeling sick? Make your body smaller. Can’t find love? Make your body smaller. Undervalued at work? Make your body smaller. Can’t make your body smaller? Hide your body. Can’t hide your body? “Flatter” your body (ie make it look smaller). Choose an empire waist. Cover your arms. Your body is too unattractive. Your body is too expensive. Your body is too unruly. We want to see less of you, or preferably none at all.

“The first thing that a plus-size wedding dress must be in the eyes of the wedding-dress industry is ‘flattering’,” says my friend and wedding plannerAlithea O’Dell. “Their primary concern is to hide your body, which is just absurd when you think about how much inspiration and thought and talent goes into designing straight-sized dresses. Those dresses can be many things – a show stopper, glamorous, beautiful, delicate, sexy – before they are ‘flattering’.”

Well, I don’t hide any more in my everyday life, and I definitely wasn’t going to hide at my wedding.

She goes on to explore the “three-way tension between wedding culture and feminism and fat acceptance.” “How can I simultaneously fight for women to be free of patriarchal standards and for fat women to be allowed to participate in those standards?” she asks. Read the rest and check out her “unflattering” and gorgeous dress here.

Header image credit: Jenny Jimenez/

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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