Fat. Many of us who are fat have different feelings about this word. For some, it’s merely a description of the size of our body. For others, it has become a weapon against us, used to incite shame and worthlessness. We hear, “Ugh, I ate so much! I feel so fat right now,” and “How can you be happy being fat? There’s no way you’re healthy.” When people say the word fat, sometimes they mean ugliness, failure, laziness, dirtiness, gluttony, lack of intelligence, and worthlessness. But that’s not what fat means.
No matter how people use it, fat is not a bad word. Fat is not an indication of value, health, beauty, or performance. Fat is a descriptor in the same way that black and queer are descriptors. And fat is somewhat similar to black and queer in more than just that way; it’s also a word that encompasses a marginalized identity. Yes, fat is a neutral and descriptive word, but when it’s an identity, it’s much more than that. To reclaim this word, or any word, is to lean into an identity as a form of revolution against fat phobia, racism, and so much more. For me, fat is a way of saying “f*ck you.”