This week, I’ve been participating in The Militant Baker’s #FatGirlsCan campaign by posting pictures of myself doing things traditionally thought of as off-limits for fat girls. In the comments emerged a trend I hadn’t expected: comments saying, “You’re not fat!” or “Fat? No, you’re fit!”
This caught me entirely off-guard. For one thing, societal affirmation wasn't my intent when I posted those photos. I don’t see Fat as a pejorative term. It’s just a neutral descriptor. I am fat, because I have fat on my body, my BMI even at my thinnest is in the “obese” category, and by society’s standards, I am overweight. I’ve been told I’m overweight nearly my whole life, so why was anyone so quick to dismiss my moniker of “fat”?
I’m sure it’s because society sees being called fat as an insult. So when I claimed it for myself, those wishing to be kind were quick to dismiss it and positively affirm me. The thing is, they needn’t have done so, because again, I don’t see being fat as a bad thing. It’s just a thing.
I have been thin in my life. I’ve been fat. I’ve been a whole wide range of things, and none was particularly better than the other. To be honest, since I started writing this blog, I’ve gotten a lot more social affirmation than I ever did when I was thinner. This is probably because self-awareness and acceptance is a really powerful and attractive thing.
But I really want to talk about the process of naming. When I named myself as fat, I took back the term and made it mine. When I call myself fat, I take the sting out of all the douchewads that try to insult me by calling me fat out the windows of their shitty cars. When I call myself fat, I define fatness in my own terms, by what I can do as a fat person. I am reclaiming all the things that society tells me I can’t have or can’t do. That’s what the #FatGirlsCan campaign is all about—breaking down those stereotypes and getting us to question those rules and who makes them.
Something else that occurred to me is the question: who gets to claim fat?
Maybe those commenters were questioning my claiming of Fat because I’m not “that fat.” I’m an in-betweenie, it’s true -- kind of on the edge between straight and plus sizes generally. And there’s definitely privilege associated with that. It can also be hard to tell—do I get to participate in the fat-positive community? Or am I too small and my presence makes larger fats uncomfortable? It’s something I’m still working out for myself.
One thing is for sure: I’m body-positive to the max! You can be any size and be body-pos. And for now, I’m participating in the #FatGirlsCan campaign, because fat shaming still exists, I’m still the recipient, and because society still deems me too fat to have a fabulous life. And I’m all about sticking it to society.
If you feel so inclined, go ahead and participate. I'd love to see more rad fat girls killin' it.