There is this weird tip-toe thin people (especially liberals) do around the word “fat”. They use words like, “heavy”, “bigger”, and the like. They’re terrified of uttering it, except in a low voice, with eyes cast down just slightly, hands draped over drinks with other thin friends on a Moms Night Out. They do this because they are conditioned to believe that saying someone is fat is an insult. And, oh no, not them. They’re too “woke” to be rude like that. Referring to someone as “fat” would be an insult.
But, it’s not. In and of itself, referring to me as fat is not an insult. I am fat. This is a description of my body, just as someone else might be thin, or short, or tall. But, we don’t assign morality to shortness, or thinness, or tallness. We only assign morality to fatness because we are told that existing as a fat person is inherently insulting, miserable, and wrong.
I know many thin people who believe they mean well. If they’re white, they’re the same people who whisper, “black” around their white friends or use only “African American” to refer to someone who is black because they inherently, even subconsciously, believe that being black is immoral or somehow wrong. So they whisper it or they cover it up with something more palatable to them. They tell themselves they’re being polite. They think they’re saving us from these terrible things we MUST think and feel about ourselves.
But, y’all…the word “fat” is not a slur because no matter how badly you think of me or my body, that word does not have morality attached to it. And when I, a fat person, refer to myself as fat or speak of other fat people, and you correct me, what you’re telling me is that you assign morality to my fatness and I am immoral because of it. You are overriding my right to reclaim that word because it makes YOU uncomfortable because YOU think my fatness is morally wrong. You’re not sparing me: you’re sparing yourself.
“Fat” is not a slur. I rebuke and reject the morality you attach to MY body. I rebuke and reject your clandestine and self-righteous loathing and judgement of my body. Don’t you dare call me something I am not, especially when it is a word I CHOOSE TO USE.
I AM fat.
And it is not an insult, it is not a slur, and you are not sparing me by correcting the words I use to describe myself and my community. You are only showing me your internalized fatphobia.
I am fat. I am fat AND I am happy. And I will not have you demoralize me because of it.