The F-Word

The F-Word

Nope, not the four letter  f-word. This one’s three letters. And, arguably, holds much more weight (pun not intended).

I’m talking about the word “fat.” F-A-T. The word that a majority of the human population avoids using for the fear of offending someone else. But does it really offend most fat people?

Obviously, t130621-fat-is-not-a-bad-wordhere are reasons so many people attach such a negative meaning to the word. Elementary school bullies have been calling people fat to make them feel bad about themselves since the beginning of time. The media consistently portrays fat people in a negative light. “Fat = bad, ugly, unhealthy.” But at the end of the day, it’s just a word. An adjective used to describe things and people that are fat.

Being fat doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Not all fat people are ugly and not all skinny people are beautiful. And yes, there are fat people with health problems but there is no direct correlation between being fat and being unhealthy. When I say “I’m fat,” I mean I have extra fat on my body. That’s it. It doesn’t mean I’m ugly or unhealthy. I’m just fat.

Most people’s automatic reaction to me calling myself fat is: “Stop it! No you’re not!” as if that’s what they think I need to hear when really, I’m stating facts, not searching for validation or positive reinforcement. You telling me that I’m not fat doesn’t make me feel better about myself. It tells me you’re a liar. We can all see that I’m fat. So why do we feel the need to tell people: “Oh no, you’re not fat. Don’t say that.”

Because we’ve let three letters completely consume us as a culture. “You’re looking fat” is seen as an insult while “You’re looking thin” is a compliment. How do we ever expect girls and boys to grow up loving their bodies instead of hating them when we put so much value into a three letter word? One whose definition has been drastically changed from a simple descriptive word to something almost as taboo as a racial slur?

Yes, there are people who would still be offended if someone called them ftumblr_lf2ck0q2sc1qfrak5o1_400at. But my point is that a lot of fat people–myself obviously included–no longer allow the stigma of the word to affect them negatively and instead use it as
yet another source of empowerment. My goal is to get all other fat people on the same page. Start using it as a way to describe yourself instead of feeling like you have to use more “tasteful” words like chubby, thick, big, etc. The more regularly and openly the word “fat” is used, the more likely that stigma is to just fade away. Think about it. Before you tell someone you love them for the first time, a lot of thought goes into saying it but eventually you tell them multiple times every single day. It gets easier the more you say it.

Fat is not a bad word. If you are fat, you are not bad. You are not ugly. You are not unhealthy. You are not less worthy than any other person on this planet. You are fat. And you are perfect. And those two CAN coexist.

**Photos are not mine. Credit goes to LoveThisPic and Tumblr.**

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“You look great!”

My interest in this topic was sparked a while ago when a family member posted a weight loss progress photo on Facebook. The comments of this post were filled with words of encouragement and motivation but mostly: “Wow! You look great!” This actually happened again the other day with another one of my Facebook friends who posted about his weight loss accomplishments.

Immediately it got me thinking about the phrase, “You look great.” I personally can’t remember a time where I’ve ever used this compliment but I notice that it’s primarily used in regards to weight loss. Seriously, if you can think of an example where you’d say “You look great” to someone who hasn’t just lost a ton of weight or didn’t just have a baby, let me know. But why do we do this?

Someone who hasn’t just lost a ton of weight can still look great and someone who didn’t just have a baby can look great too. It’s almost like we’re saying you can’t look “great” if you’re still fat.

I don’t think peoyou look greatple do this on purpose. It’s not like we sit behind our computers carefully thinking about the comments we post.

Hmmm, I’m gonna tell Debra that she looks great because she’s celebrating her 50 pound weight loss but I’m gonna tell Ashley that she looks SO cute because I love her outfit… but she’s still fat so I can’t say “great.”

I highly doubt that this is the case with most people. Certain words are just so ingrained in our society to mean something specific and be used only under certain circumstances. To get my point across, I found some comments from posts that were celebrating some sort of weight loss, as well as some comments from random profile pictures.

These were some of the random profile picture comments:
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.30.16 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.35.36 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.35.45 AM copy

And these were some of the comments posted on the weight loss progress photo:
Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.33.25 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.32.35 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.32.10 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.31.38 AM

As you can see, there’s a pretty obvious difference in word choice depending on the situation.

Maybe I’m overthinking all of this. They say that 2016 is the year to be offended by everything, (actually I don’t know who ‘they’ is or if anyone really says that, but ya know) so maybe I’m just overreacting and blowing this out of proportion. I’m not “offended” by it but I have noticed it on more than one occasion and I’m just curious to see what everyone else thinks.

**Photo is not mine. Credit goes to www.locomoco.com.**

S, M, L

Three letters. That’s all they are. But somehow when we arrange them in this order, there’s a universal understanding of what they mean.

Small, Medium, Large.

The most basic adjectives one can use to describe the size of literally anything. Small dog, medium rock, large banana. But for me personally, “S, M, L” refers to clothing size. You know, the only three sizes Forever21 carried before the090831-SmallMediumLarge-4651y added plus sizes?

I was sitting in class the other day when I had a realization, sparked by being able to see the girl in front of me’s tag sticking out of her shirt. (One of my biggest fears by the way, but we’ll talk about that another time.)

I realized that for so long, we lived in a society where the only three sizes for clothing were small, medium, and large. And even now that the majority of clothing retailers have added sizes XXS, XS, XL, XXL and so on, there are still some companies (typically women’s clothing brands) who have stuck to the “three-size rule.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy that I, as a plus size woman, have the luxury to shop at so many more stores than I did even five years ago. The progress that women’s clothing companies have made in recent years is incredible and I’m glad to have been able to see it transform. But in my opinion, this should have never been an issue in the first place. In what world are there only three different sizes of people?

Yes, there are several peopldogze who can “fit” into a small, who can “fit” into a medium, and who can “fit” into a large. I put “fit” in quotes because a size small will not fit every small person, a size medium will not fit every “medium-sized” person and a size large will not fit every “large” person.

One of the greatest things about being people is that we’re all different. Different shapes, sizes, colors, and so on. You could be the same height and weight as your friend Barbara and still not wear the same sizes. We have different body shapes, carry our weight differently, and not to mention our preferences in the way our clothes fit us. My body could fit perfectly in one size and I could still prefer to wear something bigger or smaller. When there are only three sizes to choose from, that’s a little harder to do.

I guess my point here is more of a challenge to clothing companies who have refused to add sizes beyond the standard “S, M, L” because unless you’re part of a nudist colony, (no judgment here) clothes are something we all need. Open your minds and forget about the money for a second. It’s simple: we all just want clothes that fit us.

Small, medium, and large? More like “three sizes fit all.”

**Photos and graphics are not mine. Credit goes to: www.mickstevens.com and www.shakesville.com.**