Should You Really Say FAT?
Yes, because I am FAT and it’s not a bad word. Currently I weigh 290 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.