Guest post by sajbrfem.
Fat acceptance has recently beeped on my radar, despite living the majority of my life one or two dress sizes outside a convenient mainstream shopping experience, I had not been aware of this movement until now. My new awareness is largely due to Kate Harding, and of course the amazing Hoydens. This article by Harding about sticking firm to the use of the word ‘fat’ in naming a fat acceptance political position (rather than ‘body’ or ‘size’ acceptance, which I think are also good things, but just not the same), in particular has me thinking. Her reasoning is very similar to my position on using the term ‘feminism’ as opposed to ‘humanism’ or ‘equalism’ ““ mitigating the term is a veiled expression of hatred in itself.
This has me thinking about the word ‘fat’. Harding quite rightly suggests that the word ‘fat’ is just an adjective ““ a description of visible fact, nothing more nothing less.
“First, it’s important to me to reclaim the word “fat.” It’s not a bad word. It’s not intrinsically insulting. All it tells you is that this person has more visible fat on her frame than a thin person does “” and since in my case, that’s the plain truth, I don’t have any problem with being described that way. I have a problem with people who would describe me that way with the intention to wound, but not with the word itself. I’m short, I’m blonde, I’m pale, I’m hourglass-shaped, I’m fat. “
This makes sense, and yet I have always shied away from the word ‘fat’, preferring to soften the description to ‘overweight’. Unlike the word fat, however, ‘overweight’ is more than just a description, it is a comparison. The word overweight implies a deviation from ‘normal’. Over-the-normal-weight. It seems to me that my attempts to be polite (even to myself) unwittingly sabotage my self-acceptance.
And just as I am chanting to my self ‘iamfatandthatsokay’ and beginning to make friends with the word a story about a woman who has been told to lose 50 kilos before she is an acceptable carer/role model for a child comes across my electronic desk. Outrageous to say the least. And I do the maths based on the formula given in the article and realise that apparently *I* am too ‘overweight’ to raise a child. What a horrible example of ill-founded fat hatred.
But the reality is that *I am* ninety odd kilos and *I am* raising a child quite happily ““ all the while joyfully unaware that I was too deviant to do so. I am so grateful to have discovered fat acceptance in the blogosphere, because damn do I need a voice of sanity when I read articles like the above. Thanks Harding and Hoydens, your writing makes the world of difference to me.