Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"You're not fat"
I'm fat. And I get annoyed when someone else tells me that I'm not fat because what they really mean is "you're not ugly, lazy, or worthless". Well, thank you, but I know I'm not, and none of those things have to do with my weight. So I get, "but you're beautiful". Well, again, thank you.. but that doesn't have to do with my weight. Fat people aren't automatically ugly and, as I've talked about before, ugly doesn't really even exist since everyone is attractive to someone- and life isn't a beauty contest... or rather, it sure as hell shouldn't be.
This got me thinking- what defines a fat person? Fat is a descriptive term for a size or shape usually dependent upon how many extra fat cells a person has (for now we'll ignore the use as it pertains to objects such as a fat vase or a fat book). Fat usually means an excess of these fat cells. This made me wonder.. who decides where fat begins? It's such an abstract and vague term. I'm fairly certain that there's no question that I am personally fat at a size 22 and 260 lbs, but there could possibly be some fuss over if I was fat or not in high school at 180lbs and a size 15. We have all of these terms for in between thin and fat that are supposed to be more polite (because, remember, the term fat also means you're lazy, smelly, stupid, etc) like chubby, thick, curvy, and husky.I guess we start being fat whenever the rest of society says we do. There's no good solution to this. Regardless of what word we use there will always be the 'in between' people.
The best solution may be what is our end goal- for people to stop caring who's fat and who's not and look at a person based upon who they are. Or maybe accepting that people have varying opinions of fat and thin just as they may have varying opinions on who has a light complexion and who has a darker complexion. The point is not to assign terms, negative or positive, to a descriptive word. I promise not to think all blonds are stupid if you promise not to think all fat people are lazy. I promise not to think all black people are criminals if you promise not to think all fat people are worthless. I promise not to think all women are superficial and catty if you promise not to think all fat people are overeating.
The comparison of sizism to racism or sexiam are both deliberate and accurate. Study after study seems to find that weight isn't really in our control. Unless you wish to develop and eating disorder or encourage others to do so (which I would call irresponsible at best)- and yes, I'm including dieting in there as a socially acceptable form of eating disorder- then your body will always try to return to a certain weight. 95% of all dieters gain back lost weight. Those who keep it off do so through constant starvation.
My point? Hating on fat people is just plain bullying and sizism is just another form of bigotry. As a woman and a member of the lgbt community I have some experience with bigotry and sublte forms of shaming. Tearing down a person isn't acceptable in any form. When I say fat.. I just mean fat. And when other people say fat, they mean a lot more, but we can't let their hate mongering change our behaviors, or self worth and certainly not our language. I'm fat. Don't let others let that mean something negative- stand up for fat people and correct them.