Should You Really Say FAT?

Yes, because I am FAT and it’s not a bad word.  Currently I weigh 260 pounds or so and wear anywhere between a size 22-26. Yes, that’s a real weight you can be and STILL HAVE A FULL AND ACTIVE LIFE. I know you’ve been scared into believing that when you get “this” fat you can’t go on but you’ve got a warped sense of size and weight, trust me.  I don’t keep tabs so this might change by the time you’re reading this. Some fat people avoid numbers and that’s fair. But for myself, I state this implicitly because these are only numbers and I do not define myself by them. And, honestly, I like saying them to remind you of the physical reality of my body.

Fat is just a descriptor for how I look, I reject it as a value judgment/moral statement about who I am. I am a feminist.  I think the personal is political. For me, that means issues about body image, size, weight, and how our society views and judges these issues are both personal and political and I choose to interact with them in both ways. 

If you are fat, you can use whatever word you’d like to define yourself. If you are thin, your opinion on terminology doesn’t matter. In the words of activist and writer Da’Shaun L. Harrison: “Fat people are glorious and obesity is worth glorifying.” While this blog looks at all kinds of issues in publishing and library services, this is a fat acceptance space and I will directly address how kidlit/YA treats fat people: I will celebrate the good and call out the harmful. 

Besides my fatness, I am a cis, white, able-bodied woman. I am invested in disrupting and dismantling the cisheteronormative, ableist, white patriarchy however and whenever I can. If you are white and wish to engage or begin this work with another white person, please feel free to reach out to me. I strive to constantly check and examine my privilege and do good in the world and I invite you to help me on my journey by talking with me honestly. I welcome any and all callouts and call-ins. My feminism is intersectional and ever-evolving. I believe “ally” is something I must prove and earn through action and not a title or status I simply have. I owe much of my activism and awareness to the disability rights movement and am indebted to the generations of disabled people who have done (and do) that work. 

Comments are moderated and good faith comments and discussion are welcome, but trolls and hate speech are not tolerated. To be clear about it: all the thoughts and opinions expressed here (and on my twitter) are all my own and not my employer’s. 

Bio

Since 2019, Angie Manfredi has been the Youth Services Consultant for the State Library of Iowa. She provides continuing education, training, and support around everything related to Youth Services for all 543 public libraries in Iowa. Previously, she worked as the Head of Youth Services at the Los Alamos County Library System in Los Alamos, New Mexico from 2007-2018. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and from the University of Southern Mississippi with her MLIS in 2007 and, before that, had several years paraprofessional library experience.

Angie has a special interest in and focus on spotlighting and uplifting marginalized voices in both youth literature and librarianship. She passionately advocates, in the words of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, giving readers “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors” in all the books shared with them. She cherishes mentoring new librarians and championing equity of access for all youth readers.

Angie is fat and not sorry about it. In her spare time, she enjoys writing snail mail, watching obscure world cinema, debating unsolved mysteries, trying regional sodas, and really must insist that Jack could not fit on that door at the end of Titanic. She spends much too much time on Twitter @misskubelik and would love to discuss elaborate Supernatural plot theories with you there. 

Photo of Angie Manfredi illustration of woman

short  Bio

Angie Manfredi is a librarian, writer, and editor. She’s fat and not sorry about it and is passionately committed to ensuring all kids and teens have equal access to books that represent the truths in their lives. She likes sending snail mail, watching bad TV and good films, and Twitter where you can find her @misskubelik.