So I have received quite a few comments and messages of concern around my usage of the word fat over terms like plus size, voluptuous, fluffy, etc. I wanted to take the time to talk about the reclamation of the word fat and how we can use it to feel empowered instead of victimized.
Let me start by saying that I certainly understand why people might be off put by the word fat. For many of us, that word has been hurled at us violently from family members, strangers, doctors, and from moving cars. It has been used to attack in expected situations like family dinners and doctor visits, and it has surprised as we walked down the street minding our own business. It has been followed by snorting pig noises, moos, and commonly derogatory terms as in fat bitch, slut, fuck, asshole, and so on. I get why fat can be a pretty damn hurtful word for people of size. So, why do I use it?
I feel like when we continue to allow it to be a four letter word, we continue to give it the power to hurt not just ourselves but other fat people. When we use terms like voluptuous or fluffy over fat, it perpetuates the idea that there is something shameful or wrong about being fat. It’s something we have to cover up, hide, and stuff into a pair of Spanx pronto. I have no shame about fat, I want to stick that word on a pedestal in a bikini with a neon sign that says “Hey there sexy pants!” Too far? But you get the idea.
I use the word fat to rob it of its negative power. I’m a fat woman, but I am also quite tall. I am 5’9”. I have never described myself as tall and had someone rush quickly to me and be like “Oh no! You’re not tall, you’re just vertically advanced.”
I don’t need someone to make excuses for my size, or qualify my size. I don’t want to be told “Oh you’re not fat, you’re pleasantly plump, rotund, fluffy, or a meat and potatoes kind of gal”. And I especially don’t want to be called hefty. Kind people, I am not a trash bag. I am fat, tall, pale, red haired, and freckled, and each of those descriptive words should merit the exact same reaction. And it’s for this reason that I loudly and proudly use the word fat, because nobody should be afraid of that word or of that idea.