When I first started writing about Fat Acceptance, I started at the very beginning with why I wanted to use the word fat. I thought it best to do some introductions before getting too deep into the more powerful FA topics.
My short version of why I use the word fat: all other words are euphemisms. Since there’s nothing wrong with being fat, there’s no reason to use a euphemism.
Of course writing the word fat and saying the word fat out loud are actually two different things.
At first it felt weird. I would only tentatively mention it, usually in reference to something I read online so I sort of got to blame its use on whoever wrote the thing I was talking about. Then I started saying it gleefully and with much exaggeration every time it came up, on the premise that making a huge joke out it would damper the residual trepidation of using it. I got used to the word over time. Eventually, fat turned into a completely normal thing for me to say about a person, although even now every now and then it comes out of my mouth sounding like an insult, like I know I’m saying a curse word.
With fat as a descriptor for people out of the way, I’ve started using fat as a word for all kinds of other things. You know all those euphemisms for fat, like chunky, broad, bigger, fluffy? When I could describe something with one of those, I use fat instead. If I’m referencing the larger of two things, I’ll call it fat. Along with not being “polite” to call someone fat, fat seems to have disappeared from our language all together.
For example I have a toddler, and he has fat feet. There is absolutely no reason to call them anything other than fat. They are big top to bottom, big side to side, and his toes are like sausages. His feet are fat. Because of their top to bottom size, it is extremely difficult to find shoes that fit him at all. This means he is often barefoot in public, which means everyone and their mother asks me why he’s barefoot.
If I say, “He has fat feet, and it’s hard to find shoes that fit him,” people look at me like I have just said something horrible, then they look at him, and they use another word to describe his feet.
Have you practiced saying fat out loud yet? It’s really quite fun and liberating.
I used to avoid the word fat, too, but these days it’s become a mantra of glee:
Fat, fat, FAT, fat, fat, fatfatfatfat, fat, fat, and fucking awesome, take THAT!
Oh, in case no one said this today: FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT FAAAAAAAT FAT FAT FAT FAAAAAAT FAAAAAAAAAAAAAT
— Marianne Kirby (@TheRotund) February 21, 2013
Additional Reading: Here’s a tiny selection of some of the great books about living a great life as a fat person. (These are affiliate links. If you buy, thanks for your support!)