Archive for October 19th, 2010

Apparently this week is Fat Talk Free Week, as TheRotund alerted us to earlier today. She also made a really good post about how the word “fat” is not a bad word.

About a year ago, over on my dreamwidth blog, I wrote a post about the “oh, you’re not fat” comment that many people make. I wrote about how they use this as a means to reassure themselves that you’re not one of The Dreaded Obese. And I also talked about how we, as fat people, need to educate them that fat is not a bad word. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being fat (just as there’s nothing inherently wrong with being skinny, or short, or tall). It’s simply a physical descriptor. I’m fat. My cat is fat. Some of my friends are fat. I have some skeins of yarn that are fat (and oh, how happy that makes me). This doll is fat (and utterly adorable).

When I was in middle school, I started describing myself as weird. I had been called that in a mean way by kids, but I decided that I would revel in my weirdness and think of it as something that set me apart. I had never heard of the idea of “reclaiming”, but apparently I was doing it back then. It was a defense mechanism, so that when someone said “ewww, you’re weird” I could go “why, thank you!” and confuse them and feel better about myself. The one flaw in that plan was that every adult and well-meaning peer I met who heard me proudly announce my weirdness would immediately say to me “you’re not weird!” None of them realized what harm they were doing to me, of course. I would protest their exclamations, explaining that I thought being weird was an okay thing, that it made me different, in a good way. Sometimes they understood, but more often they didn’t. They didn’t get that by reinforcing the dominant idea that weird = other = bad, they were setting back my efforts to feel like I was really okay as I was.

People really don’t realize that by saying “you’re not fat!” they’re reinforcing the idea that fat = bad. Fat is not bad. Fat simply is. Fat doesn’t lurk in your body, rubbing its hands together and chuckling evilly every time you eat a donut. It doesn’t hold meetings where it swears the Evil Fat Oath and tattoos pictures of cakes on itself. Despite some weight loss books’ and advertisements’ best efforts to portray it as such, fat really isn’t like that. It’s not something to be afraid of. It’s not something to demonize.

Fat is fat. Not good, not bad, not moral or immoral. It just is. And the sooner we can get that across, the sooner things can start improving, for everybody.

Can you spot what's different about my face today?

I have been yawning all day long. Hell, even looking at this picture makes me yawn.


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