- (of a person or animal) having a large amount of excess flesh.
- (of an animal bred for food) made plump for slaughter.
- containing much fat.
- large in bulk or circumference.
- used ironically to express the belief that something is unlikely or does not exist.
– From google dictionary
I am fat. There I said it. Now get over it. It’s a fact. Point blank.
I honestly don’t understand the avoidance of the word ‘fat’. I mean you’re either thin or fat, these are two antonyms just like big and small. It’s just an adjective.
I have never naturally been small and probably never will without seriously changing my lifestyle. My parents have always been overweight as well so it’s not like I won the genetic lottery there either. I remember growing up thinking, that one of the reasons I didn’t want children was because I didn’t want to pass on my ‘fat genes’ onto them. Almost like the worst thing that a person could ever go through in life was being considered or called ‘fat’.
I guess, 10odd years ago that was true.
I remember being on vacation in Turkey with my parents. One day we went on a boat trip, and there was a photographer. I think this was the first time my self-confidence started crumbling, up until this point I had never thought of myself as ‘fat’ and therefore unattractive or as if something was wrong with me — quite the opposite. I was always praised for my blue eyes and bouncy blond curls; people often compared me to a doll. I was a cute kid if I do say so myself. Back to my original thought. I was maybe six at this point, and we were on a day boat trip. I used to looooove taking pictures and basking in the attention. There was a photographer on the boat taking photos of the guest to later overcharge them for the photo prints (I grew up during the non-digital age, so pictures had to actually be developed). He took a liking to me and snapped more than one photo of me (nothing inappropriate, I was cowered up, and these were not that kind of pictures). I remember posing in all sorts of positions, taking in all the attention. At one point, he told me to suck in my stomach, mind you I was not even slightly fat at this point. I don’t remember much more of that trip, but I do remember the embarrassment and self-shame settling in the pit of my stomach — what a joy, the first time in my life a man me feel shit about myself.
Furthermore, I remember snippets of my dancing days and the embarrassment of having to find outfits that fit me. I remember my mom sometimes telling me that I shouldn’t have seconds and the kids at school dropping the F-bomb on me every time I didn’t comply with their beauty standards. I also remember the weeks I didn’t eat and instead spent hours on Tumblr searching through the pro-ana tags.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain… – J. K. Rowling
These traumatic experiences are the reason me and many other people in the world cringe whenever they hear the word ‘fat’. This is why we no longer see the word for what is – a simple descriptive adjective. The sad thing is, women (and I’m sure men as well) using the word fat and associating with it in public are perceived as activists. How far has this society gone? We live in a world, where using the word fat with a positive connotation is perceived as heroic and political. Am I the only one baffled by this? I understand, believe me, the stigma, shame, and pain when ‘fat’ is used as an identifier because most cases it is done to point out a flaw. Truthfully, the word ‘fat’ in itself isn’t the problem, but rather it’s the stigma reflecting on society’s beliefs on someone being fat.
Now listen up – fat is not a bad word. It’s just a descriptive adjective. That’s all.
Fat does not equal inferior.
Fat is not an insult.
Ironically, before the 19th century being fat was a beauty norm, a desire even, because it was associated with wealth. This, of course, has changed since then. By no means, I am ready or trying to open the pandora box of discussion regards obesity and the health complications that come with it; I’ll save that for another post. I’m merely pointing out the ridiculous assumption that has been integrated into this society that the word fat is an insult.
So why do we perceive being fat as an insult or a problem? Well, for starters the media has played a role in it. The momentum of unrealistic photoshopped body shapes found sexy, desirable and attractive certainly have played a role. (That is not to say that thin people don’t get shit too. They do, just as much.) It’s the notion of setting desirable beauty standards and everything that falls outside these standards, i.e. being fat, therefore, is perceived as undesirable, ugly etc. Secondly, it’s the diet industry. It is simple as long as we see fatness as a flaw, the diets industry can cash in on it. There is no money into people being okay with themselves.
That is not to say fat people shouldn’t try and lose weight. As I said, I am not opening that pandora box at this point, but I think healthy self-improvement is always welcome whether that be weight loss, mental wellbeing or any other aspect of one’s life that makes them unhappy.
I say, here’s my middle finger to society. GO AND BE WHO YOU ARE NO MATTER YOUR SIZE OR SHAPE AND IF SOMEONE CALLS YOU FAT – THANK THEM, LET THEM KNOW IT IS NOT AN INSULT. And while you’re at it spread some kindness.
P.s. The extent to what ‘fat’ is perceived as unattractive I had difficulty fully grasping until I tried to find a free stock photo to use for this post’s banner and the keyword ‘fat’ would bring up no results. Best results were photos of avocados. WHY?