I have a lot of issues with using the word fat in a negative connotation. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it, most people continue to do it and it’s wrong and it needs to stop.
Disclaimer: I use graphic/offensive language in this post as examples to reference to what I am getting across. I am not even remotely condoning their usage. If offensive language is a problem for you, I urge you to skip reading this post. I link to this post within this post, however, and I encourage you to give it a read.
I think at this point in our world, a good majority (although I wish all) of us have come to the conclusion that racism, sexism and classism are wrong. These are wrongs we, for the most part (though it’s still lacking many places), have been working to right for some time now. While we still have a long way to go, we’re on our way there.
Nobody with any semblance of respect for other humans will dare throw racist insults at another human, yet we use the term ‘fat’ as a way to deeply, deeply hurt and disrespect other humans.
We are appalled when someone uses words like ‘slut’ ‘bitch’ ‘whore’ etc. yet we will throw out fat, lazy, slob, whale, etc. to hurt someone, as if it’s perfectly normal and acceptable. AND as if lazy and slob are synonymous with fat. Spoiler: they absolutely are not.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being fat. Weight and health are not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of fat people that are fitter than I am. There are plenty of skinny people that are less fit than I am. There are fat people who are sick. There are thin people who are sick. There are fat people who are extremely healthy. There are thin people who are extremely healthy. Health at every size is a very real thing.
While nobody owes anybody their health, everybody owes everybody the respect they deserve. Fat people are people. They are humans, just like you and me. They are not any different and they don’t deserve to be treated as different. Fat is not a negative word and fat bodies don’t need to be ‘fixed.’
When I came across this recent article, Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong, my heart broke. I had an eating disorder for many years, and at the height of it, I was still eating more than Corissa Ennking eats when she is trying to lose weight – and I was at such a dangerously low weight I’m surprised my heart didn’t stop. My body let me get that small, hers doesn’t. Our biology is different. We have absolutely no control over that.
So why are we still prescribing the eating disorders that we treat in dangerously skinny people to save their lives, to people who are larger than we wrongly interpret as appropriate? Why are we still prescribing starvation, torture, misery? Where are their rights as sentient beings? Why are they given less because their bodies are naturally larger?
It isn’t right and it needs to end.
Bodies are diverse. Some bodies are larger, some bodies are smaller, some bodies are naturally stronger, some are naturally faster. Shaming people for the set of genes they were given is against their rights as a human being. Nobody deserves to suffer because of their body shape or size or health status.
Everybody deserves to feel safe in their own skin.
Fat is not a negative word. Stop using it like one.