Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fat is not a 4-letter word

Something I've been working on for a while is body acceptance. I'm fat, dieting (literally) makes me crazy, and I'm perfectly healthy. I even have recent lab results to prove it. It's been a battle, but I'm finally at a place where I pretty much accept myself the way I am, even LOVE myself. I've found a wonderful community of body-positive people online, and the articles and stories they share slowly pull my self-esteem from the murky depths it was inhabiting.

I recently read a post called "Things Obesity is Not." One point that really hit home is "Obesity is not a metaphor." I'd like to add "Obesity is not an insult." How many times have you called someone (to their face or behind their back) fat, or various iterations of the word, when they don't agree with you? Have you heard others do it? It's pretty common, if you think about it. I may have even done it myself, in the past. "Fat idiot," "lard ass," etc. are all based on someone's actual or perceived weight. How is that any different from the N word, "gay," "fag," etc. being used as an insult? Those will get you in trouble. Those will get people angry at you. But call someone a fat jerk and no one bats an eye.

Today on HRC's Facebook page, they were discussing Larry Wachowski's transgender transition into Lana. Apparently someone made an ignorant comment about her being an "it," which understandably caused some anger. What I don't agree with is this person's response (click to view fully):

I haven't gone back to the conversation, as I'm sure it would only anger me more.

I just don't understand. Someone who used to be obese, and presumably used to be another gender, thinks it's okay to use someone's weight as an insult? This person has probably been bullied and prejudiced themselves (pardon my lack of pronoun, I don't want to assume this person's gender). Why do we do that? Why do the bullied become the bullies?

I'm very disappointed in this person. They "like" the Human Rights Campaign, yet can't afford the same dignity to fat people that they do to LGBT people? Fat isn't an insult. It's a physical characteristic, just like eye color, height, hair texture, etc. I'm fat. I'm totally okay with that. What I'm not okay with is someone thinking that's an appropriate way to insult me if we disagree. My weight does not affect my intellect. I steadily gained weight throughout college (and beyond), yet graduated Cum Laude, and I have an above-average IQ. There are stupid thin people and smart fat people and vice versa and everything in between.

If you've gleaned anything from reading this, I only hope that going forward, you try to be more conscious of the language you use. I can't ask you to never insult someone again; we all get angry. However, think about the words you're using. If you wouldn't insult someone based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation, don't insult someone based on their body size. It only makes YOU look like the ignorant one.

Also? "Skinny bitch" is mean too. ;)