Fat Girl Finds Love, An interview with Briana Cavanaugh
Wine, Women and Revolution Welcomes Briana Cavanaugh!
Today’s episode is going to be particularly fun! Our guest tonight is Briana Cavanaugh, host of Fat Girl Finds Love. Heather met Briana through ShePodcast and immediately loved her energy and messaging. Briana is a sex, fat, and body positivity expert, although this is not how she always saw herself spending her life.
In the early 1990s, she began working in HIV education and from there, the world of sex education opened up to her. She discovered that she was queer, went to sex parties, and more. She found herself acting as a sex counselor before even having sex. During this time in her life, she met a lot of people from all backgrounds, not just gay men, that had HIV.
People were dying everywhere and it was a horrifying time. She was drawn to this important cause to try to help people. She realized that sex education was really important and needed to be talked about. It led her down a road of studying all aspects of sex: not just STDs, but also love and ecstasy and joy. She also realized that sex and living in a body free of oppression is incredibly revolutionary.
For Briana, this meant discovering a life without conforming to society’s constantly evolving and unattainable standards for women. She found that, this way, she was less constricted and had time and energy to focus on other aspects of her life, such as family, romance, and travel.
Diets: A Scheme
One industry that preys on women especially is the diet industry. There are lots of studies that show that dieting makes you fat. Doing this over time increases overall body weight, generally. When someone ends a diet, their body has already become used to needing less calories. Therefore, the weight doesn’t typically stay off. A study was done on a group of white men and it was found that their brain chemistry changed significantly when they were placed on restrictive diets. Operating on shame and bias, the diet industry is at 72 billion dollars now.
Briana uses the word fat as a self descriptor. She believes that the word should be free of negative stigma. The words obese and overweight carry with them the idea that there is an ideal weight and that it is a bad thing to surpass it. There is a connection between weight and moral outrage that goes back to World War II. Ever since then, fatphobia in America has been rampant and steadily on the rise. There is a popular idea that you are personally responsible for your weight and if you become over a certain weight, it is a moral failure. However, studies have shown that this mentality is a way to motivate people to keep buying diet products.
Capitalism: A Ruse
Capitalism wants you to dislike yourself. That way, you can be sold products to “fix” yourself. The individualization of shame is a staple of our capitalist society. If you are poor, it’s your fault, not that of the oppressive system. If you get raped, what were you wearing? And if you’re fat, why aren’t you trying harder? When circumstances are blamed on the consumer, they are more primed to spend money on attempted solutions. Thus, the cogs turn in the hideous capitalistic machine in which we find ourselves.
We Can Change Things
One of the best ways to make the system fall apart, at the very least on an individual level, is to start saying “I do what I want” – about beauty standards, wearing the right makeup, being the right size, wearing the right clothes, and other arbitrary standards that society has for women. It was all about controlling reproductive capital to begin with. This is why women’s power is such a threat to those who would oppress us.
Controlling women’s lives is key to the perpetuation of capitalism. Women are often the primary caregivers of children and can influence their worldviews heavily. They can impact their childrens’ political beliefs and what standards they hold. As these children grow into adults and reproduce, it becomes a cycle. If you free any part of the cycle, the whole thing starts to unravel.
Even now, as more and more people are realizing that they want freedom, they are seeing that stigmas and biases are bullshit. They are programmed into us, which is pretty gross, but that means that they can be deprogrammed as well. Confronting these internal stereotypes can be scary but it is worthwhile for the betterment of oneself and, ultimately, society.
Fat People Have Sex?!?!?
The idea of fat women having sex, never mind good sex or even a lot of sex, is not one that is often explored in modern society. Briana has found that a fat women’s sex life is much like any other sex life, from what she can tell. Like most other demographics, some fat people don’t like sex or don’t have much sex, and some fat people really like sex and have many sexual experiences. Personally, Briana enjoys a variety of sex all over the spectrum with many genders and people of different body types. Heather shares a story about how she made the first move on her husband many years ago.
The media perpetuates damaging stereotypes about sex. Older, ugly men are often paired with slender, beautiful young women in film and television. This reinforces men’s entitlement. This is the idea that men should be able to get with women whenever they so choose. However, it is often women who are approached and get to choose whether or not to have sex. Briana notes that, as a result, there are many women waiting around, wondering why they haven’t been asked yet.
Fat Girl Finds Love Podcast
On the Fat Girl Finds Love podcast, Briana has been focusing on the topic of fat sex. On her show, she discusses with guests the variety of experiences shared by fat people in intimacy. Every year, Briana and a group of friends from the podcast go to Cancun for a sex vacation. There, they engage in a variety of enticing adventures. This even includes a sex dungeon. Briana reports that many good memories are made there.
This year, Briana interviewed some of the people who went on this vacation with her. She remembers that they were discussing sex freely and casually, as if it was completely normal for them (which it is!) It is a shame that it is not normalized more widely within society to discuss sex more openly because these conversations are often fun, exciting, and positive. All in all, Briana highly recommends talking about sex. Perhaps that’s why she has a podcast for it!
Briana is on Facebook and Twitter. Her podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and basically everywhere that hosts podcasts. has a website and an Instagram account where she posts images of normalized human bodies living life.
At The End Of The Day
It was a blast to talk to Briana Cavanaugh today. We appreciate her being here so much. To our listeners and readers, we hope you had as much fun consuming this podcast as we did producing it. Sometimes, on this show, we have some very serious conversations. Today, we had fun, but in the end we still find ourselves examining the same kinds of root issues as we often do here: capitalism, oppression, biases, phobias, and self-loathing.
At New Jersey Revolution Radio, we are here to discuss these types of issues that relate to activism. Here, we believe in discussing issues that are not covered by the mainstream media. As a reminder, we never receive corporate money on this show. Consequently, we depend on donations from our wonderful visitors. Even just a few dollars a month really helps us cover the fees that make this production possible. As usual, the future is yours to create: go out there and create it!
-Leah Giannantonio, for New Jersey Revolution Radio