The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

The “F” Word

on February 12, 2014

About 10 years ago I was working as an advisor.  There were 5 advisors in my office and often clients would phone and ask to speak to the advisor they had seen, but they couldn’t remember who they had been talking to.  I was filling in on the reception desk one day when one such call came in.  I asked if they had been speaking to a man.  “No”.  I asked if the advisor was black.  “No”.  I asked if the advisor was tall and thin.  “No”.  I then asked if the advisor was fat.  There was a pause and then a long ahhhhhhhh sound and then the caller whispered “Yes”. There was also muffled giggling to my right as one of the office managers had come up to offer me a break and overheard my question.

I’m not a fat activist, I’m just impatient.  That phone call could have gone on for 10 minutes while I tried to differentiate myself from my remaining colleague who is also short, of a certain age and curvy.  I cut to the chase, I asked the obvious question and as it turned out it was me who had spoken to the client previously.  To me the oddest part of the conversation was my having to reassure the caller that it was ok, because I am the fat one.  The word fat is a descriptive.  Absolutely if you hurl it at me as an insult it’s going to hurt my feelings, but the word itself is innocuous, it’s the fact that you chose to insult or belittle me that would upset me.  It’s the negative meaning and feeling that we associate with the word fat that makes it a “bad” word.

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Source

This week a colleague sent me a link to a story about Whitney Thore.

She knew that I would be interested.  She knew that it would be a good topic for me to write about, but she was obviously uncomfortable saying “Fat” Girl Dancing and made sure in a very politically correct way that I understood that that was Whitney Thore’s word and not her own.  I work in a very inclusive, politically correct environment where one is expected to be careful with their language choices, but I still found it really interesting that my friend was struggling with the correct terminology.  I am fat.  Whitney Thore is fat.  I can dress it up and say curvy, I can sex it up and say buxom, and I can joke about my “assets”, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am fat.

There are plenty of ways to hurt my feelings.  Calling me fat is not one of them.

– the Goddess

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6 responses to “The “F” Word

  1. tinfoil27 says:

    In the past when people call me “fat” I have come back and said is that all you got? Sometimes it does hurt but not as much as lazy does cause I have associated lazy with fat all my life. Example when doing my job sometimes the reason I may go above in beyond to make sure they don’t call me lazy.

    • To me calling me fat is like declaring that I have brown hair. On the other hand associating fat with slovenliness, laziness or lack of intelligence are hurtful to me. A friend once teased me because for a long time I was something of a perpetual student. I told her that I liked to learn, but I also admitted that I never wanted anyone to call me stupid. Is that a girl thing? A fat thing? A low self esteem thing? Hard to say, but I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with all three. I often complain that I have too much to do and then I go right on taking on more and more projects at work and in my personal life. I’m getting better at saying “no” or at least “not now”, but it’s taken me a lot of years to get there. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog along these lines 🙂

  2. tinfoil27 says:

    I will definitely be tuning in! I see what your saying about what being called “fat” can mean and suppose it comes along with all the examples you gave me related to the word. I don’t know if at the time the people who called me this put that much thought into the word the people who do so are usually ones who don’t really know me you know as in my personality. I found it more to be a “low Blow” from a majority of people which I call shallow and most likely have a negative comments to make about anyone different for that matter and never dare to see a person the way they should.

    • I agree. It is a low blow, certainly for many of us who have struggled and hurt because of our weight and body image. It’s also lacking in creativity 😉 I mean really – tell me something I DON’T know 😉 As Tina Fey says “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at.” If they are poking fun at the obvious, then they are simply showing me they aren’t very clever. Plus if people are mean I usually pity them because I assume they are trying to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings by denigrating others. Oh and it really pisses them off when they realize that you feel sorry for them. Really, watch them get all hot and bothered when you do it – now THAT’S funny 😉

  3. tinfoil27 says:

    I think I got off a bit on the comment above. I read yours wrong. I wanted to delete what I said but could not find the button so if you want you can delete it. I apologize.

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