Friday, 19 June 2020

Reclaiming the word FAT

Many of us have already heard the points in this argument…but with the recent Lane Bryant controversy, it bears repeating.

Why are we reclaiming the word FAT?

1. We’re taking our power back. For so long the word FAT was used to shame and denigrate us. We think the word is simply descriptive, like hair color or height. So we’re going to use it as a descriptive term and rebel against the stigma associated with it.

2. It’s a political statement. It’s shocking to hear a fat person call themselves fat. As activists and rebels sometimes it’s good to shake things up. It’s also the language of our movement; by calling ourselves fat we’re showing solidarity to our cause.

3. Fat isn’t a disease. The word obese is a term used in the medical community to mean a disease state, usually associated with metabolic illness. But not all fat people are metabolically unhealthy. Also, “overweight” implies that there is a weight that people are “over.”

4. BMI is bulls**t. Obese and overweight are classifications on the BMI scale. But the BMI is flawed tool, as it doesn’t differentiate fat from muscle in it’s measurement.  And the BMI range is arbitrary, not representing health or the population.

5. Euphemisms imply badness. In her book, FAT!SO?, Marilyn Wann says that using other terms to describe ourselves suggests that we “find the truth distasteful.”

Some notes…

Now, not everyone is ready to call themselves fat or be called fat. And I think there is a valid argument for letting people find their inner-fattie on their own schedule. So, I call MYSELF fat…but I don’t call others fat, unless I know they’ll be okay with it.

Also, some within FA refuse to use any other term than fat. But I have been known to use “obese” or “overweight” when talking about the science of fat becasue those terms mean specific things in the research. Some FAers use quotations marks around those terms, if they have to use them.

A final thought…to be fat is human.  Ever person on this planet carries around adipose tissue (aka fat), so I think being okay with our fat is applicable to everyone.  Being okay with the word fat would be a boon for us all.



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