I’m sure most people would be upset if someone called them fat.

Our fat-phobic culture has conditioned us to believe that being fat is one of the worst, if not the worst thing a person can be, so it’s no surprise that someone would be offended by a trolling "ur fat" comment on Instagram. Just consider the many negative associations that come to mind by only mentioning that word: “lazy”, "ugly", "unhealthy" “slob”, “dumb,” and so many others. Have we ever paused to think about why that is? If we really analyze each of these stereotypes, we’ll see that none of them hold any truth.

The word fat is not an insult, but a neutral descriptor with zero moral connotation. Fat should be no more or less associated with personal character than “short”, “muscular”, “brunette”, “thin”, or “blue-eyed.”

I was terrified of being called fat before I discovered the wonderful world of body positivity. As I learned more about things like the health at every size movement and the corruption of diet culture, I became less afraid of this word that once seemed so ominous. I’ve even been using the word more often in my own life. Many marginalized groups will strip oppressive language of its negative power by reclaiming those words as their own. I do still try to be careful about about how I use the word fat because not everyone is in a place on their journey where they’re okay with using it in a positive, or even a neutral way. (For example, I would never call someone else fat unless I knew they self-identified that way.) When I use the word now it's my way of saying that fat doesn't mean any of the lies we've been told it means, but it's just a neutral way to describe bodies.

Here’s the bottom line: using someone’s body size as an insult is silly. Body shape and size have nothing to do with moral character or personality. The reasons why a person’s body looks the way it does are absolutely nobody’s business but their own. Not to mention the fact that it’s impossible to determine someone’s health by looking at them, but that’s something I could - and plan to - write other articles about!


Resources for learning more about Fat Positivity:

Health At Every Size Online Community

Body Respect by Linda Bacon

BodyPosiPanda (Megan Jayne Crabbe) on YouTube

Food Psych Podcast