I have noticed throughout my years of being a fat chick that people have a tendency to be very uncomfortable with the actual word “fat”. I’m not sure what it is about me (any of us “plus-sized” folk) using this word as a descriptor for ourselves that causes such visible discomfort, but you can practically see other people shifting in their seats and hear them stifling their nervous giggles as they don’t know how to respond once the word has been uttered in conversation. Typically a “You’re not fat. You’re beautiful”. Or “Don’t say that” escapes their lips almost immediately thereafter.
Let’s look at the definition of fat (in adjective form):
(of a person or animal) having a large amount of excess flesh.
“the driver was a fat, wheezing man”
plump, stout, overweight, large, chubby, portly, flabby, paunchy, potbellied, beer-bellied, meaty, of ample proportions, heavyset;
Now, can we all agree that based on the definition of the word “fat” I am fat? I am fat. I know it. We all can see it. I’m okay saying it and talking about it. There’s no hiding it sooo….
When people say things like “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful” it implies that being fat and being beautiful are mutually exclusive. If this is the way that you feel, that’s totally your opinion and it’s all well and good as we’re all entitled to our own and we like what we like. I will say that I feel sort of sorry for people that can’t find beauty in another human being simply because of their size, though. I have seen some absolutely stunning fat beauties out there. It’s your loss if you can’t get down with one because you can’t get past the rolls and dimples, baby.
“Fat” can be used as a slur or put-down just like many other descriptors. It isn’t necessarily a word that was created specifically as an insult; however it has become one for many people. I get that. What I think many of us would like for those of you that are uncomfortable with the word to understand is that just because we are using it doesn’t mean we are using it to put ourselves down. If I say “I’m going to the fat girl section” of the store, I mean just that. Nothing more. When I write as “The Fat Nudist” it’s simply because I am fat and I am a nudist. End of story.
Now, I would like to ask a favor. If you’re going to use the word fat to describe someone, don’t be an asshole about it. Remember that just because I am fat and just because I recognize that I am fat it doesn’t necessarily mean that I enjoy being fat or that I’m proud of it. It is what it is, but it still hurts to be cut down because of it. So don’t be a dick, mmkay?
PS~ as a side note and slightly off-topic here~ just because someone is fat, it doesn’t mean that they A) are lazy, gluttonous slobs or B) not working on getting healthy or C) don’t have a health issue/diagnosis that’s causing the weight issue in the first place (yes, this does actually happen).
Completely agree. And fat and beautiful absolutely frequently go together, for me much more so than skinny and beautiful. (but then I’m on just as thin ice there). The problem is context, intonation, using the word in a pejorative or insulting way. BTW, we stopped at my favorite Stein Mart yesterday. Try finding clothes (for when we go out into the textile world), when one is both fat and petite!