It’s a phrase that is repeatedly asked millions of times a day. The epitome of every morning routine; the reason we sometimes change our outfit three times before walking out the door; the reason some spend hours at the gym; the reason my friend asked me if she looked okay before her company came over; the reason some people don’t like clothes shopping; the reason we monitor food intake and calories; the reason so many people care about the way their body looks; the reason we might just die on the inside if anyone associated this word with us; and one reason eating disorders exist. Fat! “Do I look fat?”
American culture is one that has instilled the fear of fatness in it’s society. We are a fatphobic, scale worshiping culture. Americans have been taught to fear gaining weight, and we often feel selfcontious in certain clothing or even uncomfortable eating in front of other people. At 120lbs I am guilty of this mindset.
Culturally and socially we perpetuate this idea that to be fat is to be two things: unattractive, and undesirable. This shows just how much we disapprove of fat people and fatness. However, we haven’t figured out that fatness and being fat is not an infectious disease, but rather another form of beauty. Take the modeling industry for example. An industry with one of the biggest sways over beauty standards. It’s cruel beauty standards even rejects a size 2 model because they felt her measurements were “too big”.
My argument is by no means the “the skinny girls plight”. My point here is to say that even at the smallest size a threshold of fat has been established so that what is considered the most beautiful thing doesn’t have a single ounce of fat on the body. The problem with this is that it not only furthers the discourse of our intolerance to anything bigger than (super) skinny, it fails to see fat as beautiful, is harmful to those who identify and feel empowered by their fatness, and is also an igniter for eating disorders–among models and non-models. This is more than evident when looking at how the ideal body has changed over the past few decades (here & *here* ).
- We need to stop worrying about what the world thinks of us and what we look like, and instead be empowered by our own bodies and what we think of ourselves. Yes, no curves, extra curves, skin and all.
- We need to learn to love ourselves rather than put ourselves down.
- We need to get rid of “fat(phobic) language“. Calling oneself fat simply because you ate a little extra or haven’t been to the gym in a while only furthers the negative discourse behind the word fat.
- We need to recognize that thin is not the only option!
- Hold people accountable when they are fat-shaming other people and help others when they are fat-shaming themselves.
Fat is beautiful! Fat is a reason to take pride in oneself! Fat is a reason to love ones body! Fat is a word one can choose to identify with–and not be apologetic for it! Fat is simply another descriptor of the body. Fat is a way to feel empowered! Reclaiming fat diffuses all power this word has to hurt.
In any case, whatever ones body type is, that body is completely valid!