I want to talk about the word fat. A recent blog post of mine was published by Women’s Rights News and subsequently shared on Facebook. The majority of the comments were positive, with most agreeing with the points that I had made throughout the post however, one comment in particular stuck out. I’m open to negative feedback and even constructive criticism – but one woman commented on the post stating that my frequent use of the word fat was bad because “the word fat is an insult”.
Fatness, in spite of what many may think, is not affiliated with an unhappy mind-
set. Being called fat is not a bad thing. Calling yourself fat is not a bad thing. Using the word ‘fat’ to describe your body type is not a bad thing. Accepting that you are fat is not a bad thing. Fatness does not correlate with having a miserable life, but receiving negative comments because people are too ignorant to recognise a fat person as an equal, does.
No-one is to blame for this view, only society can be held responsible for the negative connotations that this adjective now holds. A word only becomes negative when it is used as an insult, ‘fat’ describes a certain body type, as do skinny, curvy and thin – the same goes for other words such as tall or short, being blonde or having red hair, having freckles or being of part of an ethnic group. Any word can have negative repercussions, but only if you give it the power to do so. It is only as a result of social conditioning that we are now led to believe that the word fat is a bad thing. I refuse to cater my writing style, my speech or my language for those who cannot move past this view – the more that we openly use the word fat instead of avoiding it or replacing it with words such as ‘curvy’ or ‘voluptuous’, the more it will be accepted as a standardised part of language. We need to stop mollycoddling the words that we use to describe our bodies; hiding behind passive words gives fuel to those who try to set an ideal for the way a woman should look.
I’m no stranger to being bullied, but ever since I’ve had body positivity raging through my veins, I haven’t given my fat body a single negative thought. Coincidentally, this also means that I couldn’t give a shit what people are saying about me behind my back, to my face, or online – finding body love enables you to ignore the derogatory and pessimistic comments from others and allows you to bask in the glow of your own positive certainty. Similarly, normalising a word that has been used harmfully against you, can also offer you this same positive standpoint – if you accept that you are fat and work that word into your language, you take away the negative power that it once held over you. As a result, the bullies and their words become ineffective and defunct. As the age old saying goes: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. We all know that’s a lie, but we can do some damage limitation to minimise the effects of negative body talk and language on our mentalities – go out and start a body positive conversation, become a fat warrior for your cause.