It’s a funny word, Fat. It’s just an adjective – like skinny or loud or eccentric or introverted, but it’s taken on a negative meaning. Playground taunts of “bet you can’t catch the ball, fattie!” or “wow, look at that fatso in her prom dress” serve to demoralise and marginalise fat children from the very beginning of their social experiences. So instead, the media and fashion industries have created disingenuous terms like “voluptuous” or “curvy” or “plus size” or “Reubenesque” to describe fat women, because that word FAT is like a dirty word.
But I think that words like “voluptuous” and “curvy” do more damage to fat women than the word “Fat” does. Choosing to define ourselves as voluptuous and shying away from the word fat gives the word Fat negative power. It gives that word power to make us feel bad about ourselves, and it gives people the power to fat shame us. It gives people licence to whisper behind our backs and say things like “she looks so fat in that”, or “wow, if she wasn’t so fat she’d be really pretty”.
But Fat isn’t a bad word. Fat is an adjective. It holds no more power than what people give it, and I refuse to allow Fat to be a negative word in my vocabulary. It’s just an adjective.