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Why I Wanted the Eating Disorder Treatment Staff to Call Me ‘Fat’

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Sounds weird, right? Who wants to be called fat? Nobody does, and you know why? Because it’s considered an ugly word, as opposed to the neutral adjective that it is.

We associate fatness with laziness and overindulgence, which simply isn’t accurate. Some people are born into a bigger frame, or with a slower metabolism, or just with a higher set point — the range your body naturally falls between when you feed yourself consistently). Some people are just naturally fat, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Saying that it is would be like telling someone that they should be ashamed of their height. Ridiculous, right?

So, why did I want to be called fat by the eating disorder treatment staff I worked with? Because to ignore the fact I am a fat girl, to keep it a secret, to keep it hush-hush or on the down low is to imply it is something to be hidden and not spoken about. In other words, it implied that being fat is shameful. Their avoidance of the use of the word “fat” was really just their embarrassment to say what society has deemed an “ugly” word and their fear of insulting me. Let’s get one thing straight — I am not insulted by the word fat. It’s what I am. It is a size. It is not a synonym for ugly, disgusting, or less than.

To say the word “fat” loudly and proudly is to declare that being fat is OK. To call someone fat to their face in a nonjudgmental, compassionate way is to let the person know they can embrace who they are without fear. It lets them know you are an ally in the fight against fatphobia and sizeism. And you know, we could definitely use a few more warriors.

Photo by Charis Gegelman on Unsplash

Originally published: February 25, 2019
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