Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The F Word

What, exactly, is so toxic about the word fat? Why must we work so hard to "banish the belly" and go for a size two? Why do we allow ourselves to be guilted into hating our bodies?
Our bodies are something to loathe as they are. They're something to fix, something to improve, something that is quite obviously not your "Best Body Ever!" Anyone who decides that, hey, a burger sounds really good tonight is quite obviously unhealthy, doubly so if they're fat.
That's not to say that there aren't unhealthy fat people don't exist. Of course they do. But what people fail to realise is that healthy fat people do exist, just like unhealthy thin people. Several studies have been done to prove that size does not dictate health.
That terrible F word is not only dangerous as it stigmatizes fat people, but it wreaks havoc on the mental health of just about everyone. Yes, everyone, fat and skinny alike.
Eating disorders don't just affect skinny people, in the same way that they don't just affect women. But of course, once you reach a certain size, these dangerous behaviours—I mean physically dangerous—are applauded as an attempt to "Get your life back on track!" That's especially ambitious if you've kind of always been fat, or chubby, or simply Not Skinny.
Stigmatization against the word fat, not just fat on the body, but also fat in food, is detrimental. It makes something that occurs naturally, something that is actually vital for living, and makes it a dirty word. It manifests itself in such subtle ways as a girl like me, who's actually fairly confident, not owning any jeans because she doesn't like how they make her belly look. It manifests itself in my niece thinking that fat is the worst insult out there, on par with ugly, stupid, undesirable. It manifests itself in dangerous problems in people I love who are beautiful as they are.
Fat is a dirty word because accepting it means accepting your body, jiggly bits and all. In a world that is sort of run on body shaming, the person who actually accepts their body for what it is is revolutionary. The person who actually loves their body is radical!
I'm doing my best to teach my nieces and nephews, my friends, and myself that there are worse things in life than fat. I am not encouraging fatness, not by any means, but I am encouraging them to see that what they have is good, no matter what they're told.
And, if we're being honest, I'm doing the same for you and me both.


  1. I never thought about the "Getting back on track"-thought vs. eating disorders. In some cases I'm completely sure you're right! I mean.. There's nothing wrong with working out and eating healthy to take care of yourself. But it's "funny" that it won't be considered wrong to do it too much, as long as you're not really skinny.

    1. Eating well and exercising is always a good thing, fat, skinny, or otherwise. But I've noticed that behaviors that might be connected with eating disorders in skinnier people are considered "healthy habits" for larger people. These situations are extreme, but they do happen. It is so much easier for a fat person to be praised for anorexia than for someone to express concern.
      One should always treat their body well, but when you're fat, people like to tell you how to go about doing it, and their advice usually isn't as golden as they'd like to think.