August 14, 2013
If I called you Fat to your face you’d be offended right? And equally so if I called you it behind your back. What if I used it as a non judgemental, unloaded form of description? Is it ok then? I just want to get things clear in my mind about what is acceptable and what isn’t these days.
I don’t like it when other people call me Fat, because its normally used to add weight (no pun intended) to an insult but it’s ok for me to call myself Fat when I feel like it, cos that’s my choice…as Bobby Brown so clearly put it “it’s my prerogative”. It’s my body, my Fat, and it’s ultimately up to me to describe myself as I see fit.
The thing is…the wonderful thing about the word fat is that there is never any doubt about its meaning, its one of those “does what it says on the tin” words, which I suppose is why it is so easily used as an insult both to others and in our own pity party moments when we are intent on beating ourselves up about our appearance. There is no other word which works quite as well as Fat, I mean you never hear “get out the road your overweight cow” do you? Or “gosh I look so plump in that photo”
Fat is our go to word, so my thinking is why bother to replace it with a less effective one? Plus sized, voluptuous, fluffy, plump, large, big boned? No Fat will do me just fine. I apologise to anyone who is offended by this term and I acknowledge that many women feel uncomfortable with its use. But why is this?
I suppose its because of our prior experiences of it. Anyone who has ever been branded with the fat brush knows how crippling it can be, even if it was as a child or in their teens, many adults long after they lose the pounds are still haunted by the power of the word and its potential to be used once again as an insult. It was most definitely the weapon of choice in my house growing up, I got called it so often as a child it’s surprising I remembered my real name.
Maybe it’s because of the negative associations with the word Fat, oh if you are Fat then you must also be lazy, sad, lonely, unhealthy, unorganised, out of control, a freak…. I could go on!!!
For the purposes of this blog though I didn’t want to skirt around the word or the issues, but I didn’t realise how divisive it would be. Without a doubt it is my excess fat which has driven this journey of self discovery, my fat which has helped me ultimately to find running and brought me together with so many amazing other plus sized women under this “fat girls run too” banner. I can’t tell other people with weight issues how to think or feel about themselves or their bodies, but I can say that from my perspective I have found it rather empowering to accept the state of my current fatness and just get on with achieving my weightloss and fitness goals.
You know that expression “just call a spade a spade” well before it gained an association with being a racial slur, it actually started out as a phrase that encourages us to simply say it as we see it. I often wonder if health professionals used the word Fat more often would we all be so sensitive, would so many of us waste time in denial, basically would the world be so collectively overweight? “the reason your knees hurt madam is because you have about 4 stone of non essential fat around your midsection”, or “the reason you have type 2 diabetes sir is because you are simply too fat for your 5ft frame” I can’t see the NHS in the UK going for it somehow.
So come on peeps what is your view on the F word, how comfortable are you with its use? Or are there other words you feel more comfortable with?