Empowering Fat

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. 

Fat Sex

First let me start off with an update of where I am. I accepted a position with a college in ohio and so I just recently got settled and moved in and should have regular internet access sometime next week. Thank you all for comments and support even though I have not been able to regularly update the way that I would like and I would really like all of that to change soon. I am hoping to have more time for updating when I hold my regular office hours. Now to todays article

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/723783

First let me point out how inaccurate self reporting experiments are. Many people, especially when it comes to sex, do not feel comfortable being one hundred percent accurate. On to the issues at hand.

I am not surprised that many fat people are engaging in unprotected sex, particularly fat women.  I think that this all relates back to the social stigma associated with weight in modern culture. I have actually seen a lot of this activity with young women that I know personally. When you are constantly told that you are undesirable you are more likely act impulsively when someone does desire you. The heartbreaking statistic  beyond unwanted pregnancy and std’s is the staggering number of women who do not see their own value and worth.

Another critical item noted in this study is that many fat women less likely to report sexual activity to their doctors and to get the proper exams.  I have never denied that there is a  medical bias towards fat peoples, but this particular prejudice has been well documented. Due to constant comments from doctors regarding weight, many people feel very uncomfortable undressing in front of their physician for fear of unwanted weight related comments. It has been speculated by many leading researchers that THIS is the reason that their is a higher rate of many female only cancers in obese women, not that the fat actually causes the cancer. This is why I urge every woman reading this, please get your regular pap tests and breast cancer screenings! We have lost too many wonderful mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends to this horrible disease because of shame inflicted on women of size. Don’t become another number, be bold and school your doctor on bedside manner.