Why do we have a taboo on the word “fat” in our society?

If you say it about another person you’re mean, if you say it about yourself you’re too self-conscious. Yes, words can hurt, can slice to your very core, but why is this such a controversial word?

I have a friend, who considered herself fat, that went on a wild rant one afternoon. Another friend had mentioned earlier that day that she felt fat and needed to go back to the gym/diet regime. Upon hearing this my friend felt that this was a comment targeted at her. She felt that the comment was meant to make her reassess her weight and diet. I was there, and it was in no way targeted at her (though I do understand her insecurities I don’t think it’s ok to allow those insecurities to blind us to what is really occurring before us).

She went as far as to say she was disgusted when anyone smaller than herself said they were “fat.” It was a personal affront to her. While I don’t think we should be able to say offensive things to other people, I don’t believe walking on eggshells is the best course of action. I think we should be able to wake up everyday and say, “I’m (insert word here) and I know it.” Whether that word is sexy, tired, smart, lazy or yes, FAT, should be up to us.

Putting a taboo on the word itself merely makes us so much more sensitive to the degree that we don’t talk about weight. Perhaps that’s why it’s such an epidemic.

I say this Pinterest post today where the comments took great offense to a photo that did not once MENTION weight, but implied it. The point of the commentary was not “Oh my god this person is fat” yet so many people took it that way. Yes, I think that speaks volumes about their insecurities.

Why don’t we talk about being fat? Why not embrace it if you so choose? I think if we owned up to the elephant in the room we might start to make progress.

While visiting a friend in Wales this year I was called a “fat bitch.” I loved it. Though I have recently lost some weight, I still consider myself “fat” or “overweight.” Not because of social constructs, but because the BMI index TELLS ME I AM OVERWEIGHT. I am scientifically “fat” and there is no amount of clothing or lying or avoiding the word that can change that.

Getting back to being called a “fat bitch” and why they used that term. It was started one night when there was one cookie, or slice of pizza or some food item left on the table. Instead of sitting around, hemming and hawing over it, each woman pretending she didn’t want/need it, one of them grabbed it and said in a self-satisfied way, “Well, I’m a fat bitch.”

It was said in humor, in jest, but since then the group of women has become comfortable in their eating habits. No more do they sit at a table with friends and worry about the menu, hoping they aren’t judged for ordering a milkshake with their burger, or eating salad all week because they feel everyone expects them too. Instead they sit at a table and say, “I could get a wrap, but I really want pasta. Screw it, I’m getting the pasta. With bread.” To which another member of the group lovingly replies, “Fat bitch.”

It takes the pressure off the table and out of the room. Yes, I’m sure each woman still has some inner insecurities, but you shouldn’t have to over-think your meals because of how other people may react.

A lot of people who are overweight KNOW it. And yes, it hurts to have people who are smaller than you say they need to lose weight or get fit, but that is their perception of themselves and they should not be persecuted for it. If they are saying things that are truly pointed toward you, and you don’t like it, say something. Speak up. Take a damn stand.

I guess one reason I’m so infuriated by people not discussing this issue is because my family does not. If you’ve met me you know I’m not morbidly obese, but you may not know that my mother, my sisters and many others in my family are very over-weight. I don’t talk about it because it’s a fact. I just look at them and wish there was not such a taboo. I have brought up the anecdotes I’ve just related in this post and other, subtler topics regarding health, to a silent reaction. It’s as if at the first mention of fat, we shut off. It’s offensive.

I know it hurts, but not talking about a serious health issue in an appropriate manner is going to hurt us in the long-run if we ignore it completely. Yes, some people may get offended along the way. That may be the price I pay to be a healthy human, or to even try to encourage healthier behavior in my family, but for some of us it’s harder to watch people slowly killing themselves than to offend them.

I personally love some of my fatty bits, so stop telling me I can’t call myself fat.

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