There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl that doesn’t give a FUCK.
In the first season of Euphoria, we were introduced to the timid Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira). At first glance, she seems like she’s designated as the typical emotional support fat friend to the cool, and conventionally attractive popular girl (in this case, Maddy, played by Alexa Demie). While watching Kat in the first season, I felt as if a mirror was being held to my adolescent experience.
Kat starts out as a “late bloomer,” largely ignored by the boys in her school. Kat also lives in a fantasy world, dreaming of being an object of lust for beefy warriors. Kat even has enviable popularity online that just doesn’t translate to real life. Kat is also timid and resigned to her place in the high school ecosystem. Separate from Euphoria’s other characters, Kat’s innermost struggles play out on screen, for all of us to see. A heavy show, Kat’s inner dialogue is a whimsical, and sometimes comedic foil that reminds us that despite Kat’s growing sexual prowess, she’s still a teenage girl after all.
Early on in the season, Kat has a reckoning and decides to get in touch with her badass self. Shedding the frumpy clothing and meek persona for a loud and unapologetic wardrobe and attitude, Kat aims to tell the world to FUCK OFF.
The first time she struts out with her red lips, short plaid skirt, and corset, Kat is met with both looks of admiration and revulsion. It’s a monumental moment, a moment that inspired thousands of young women to embrace themselves as is. In my case, I went on a Dollskill haul and bought my first crop tops…ever. For the first time in my life, I wore clothes that are “not meant” for fat girls and felt great doing it.
However, this transformation only remarks the beginning of Kat’s journey. Overturning tropes, Kat is complicated and imperfect. She blows off her friend to give a guy a blow job. She is somewhat rude and crude. She even sabotages her relationship with Ethan (Austin Abrams), a nice guy who genuinely likes her. And as season two takes off, we see that Kat is still battling feelings of self-hatred despite the confident Glamazon persona she attempts to portray.
In episode two of the latest season, we see Kat curled up in bed, binge eating and watching TV. Kat, for the life of her, can’t understand why she isn’t happy with Ethan. There’s nothing wrong with him, so she makes a list of pros and cons. She finds no cons. Then, she quickly comes to the realization that she is the problem. It’s not Ethan she doesn’t like, but herself. It seems to be that Kat is questioning her non-toxic, loving relationship. “Is this what I deserve?”
Rue narrates, “At some point recently, the whole world joined a self-help cult and won’t shut the fuck up about it.”
Let me get this straight: There is nothing wrong with self-love and self-improvement. But the term “Love yourself!” has almost become akin to “Good vibes only!,” “Don’t be depressed!,” or “Everything happens for a reason!” All well-intentioned statements that overlook the real problems at hand.
Unfortunately, it’s an uphill battle once you decide to take the route to truly loving yourself. Yes, you can decide to turn things around, but like any bad habit, it’s fucking hard work. Yes, I am aware that if I can’t love myself, how can I allow anyone else to love me?
There are days when you feel like a queen on top of the world. There are other days that are lowest of low, and you’re plagued with insecurity. We’re conditioned from birth to believe certain things about ourselves. No matter how negative, at some point, we believe them despite what the people who care about us say.
When you’re inundated with images of what the world says you should look like, and how you should behave, you feel defective and undesirable if you don’t meet those standards. And even worse, when people in your personal life, both intentionally and unintentionally whittle away at your confidence, you have to start from zero. You have to rebuild your value from zero.
As Kat lays in bed depressed, she’s greeted by visions of various women, all of which are representations of the toxic positivity and self-love social media culture. The first is a fit bikini-clad blonde woman, who muses, “I wish I had your confidence!”
The next is another thin, conventionally attractive woman who says, “Every day you get out of bed, is an act of courage.”
Kat merely remarks that she doesn’t feel healthy and that she hates herself. At that moment, I felt that my innermost dialogue was splattered on screen. No, every day I don’t hate myself, and sometimes I feel pretty good. However, there are some days where I lose the battle in the journey of self-love. I try to be strong not only for myself, but for my younger sisters, my friends, and the little girls who will maybe look up to me someday. That’s the pressure many women endure. If I don’t love myself, how can the people that look up to me do so too?
Like Kat, I’ve spent dozens, maybe even hundreds of hours inundating myself with content to counteract the other toxic views I’ve been fed all my life. Like Kat, I’ve felt myself questioning and even sabotaging the healthy relationships I do have, especially with guys that have shown genuine interest in me. Despite all my accomplishments, and despite my intelligence and wit, and my looks, it doesn’t add up to me sometimes. The skinny, filtered to high heaven influencer in her condo in Tulum wants to tell me to love myself? OK. The guys who only date Instagram bombshells are telling me to love myself and that I have a great personality? OK.
Little by little, numerous women push Kat to stop being so negative. After a bit, all the women multiply and scream, “LOVE YOURSELF! LOVE YOURSELF!”
In reality, most of us aren’t being assaulted by a chorus of screaming women. However, the battle is brutal. Sometimes, you have to put your face on for the day, and “fake it til you make it” as they say. Will I love myself truly? Will you ever love yourself truly? We can get there, but it takes time and strength. But we have to remember that our feelings are valid, and it’s OK to have a down day every now and then.
Sometimes it’s OK to give a FUCK.