Y’all, Kate Harding has fat hair, as demonstrated in the comments to this post.
No, wait, I meant to say she has fluffy hair.
But what with all the people walking around calling themselves fluffy instead of fat, I got the two words confused.
How did this even get started? Was it those cutesy pictures of the little fluffy puppies that say, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” that just perpetuate the idea that fat is something bad to be? Are people really walking around saying they are fluffy because puppies and kittens have said it in pictures?
Now, granted, I like a good cat macro (or LOLPresident) as much as the next person. But I’m not going to base my identity descriptors on them.
Now, the OED has this to say:
fluffy: 1. a. Consisting of or resembling fluff; of soft, downy texture. b. Of timber: (see quot.). c. fig., often with reference to personal character or intellect.
The timber definition is a new one by me, so that’s cool to learn. But let us look at the examples chosen to illustrate the concept of fluffy as applied to personal character of intellect:
1898 Westm. Gaz. 16 Apr. 1/3 Celia is strong-minded. You would not think so to look at her: she is what I call a fluffy girl. 1904 E. F. BENSON Challoners xiv, Begin instantly without playing any fluffy arpeggios. 1927 A. P. HERBERT Plain Jane 10, I like them fluffy,..With downy soft eyebrows and artful blue eyes,..With fluffy complexions, like plums on a wall, And fluffy opinions, and no brains at all. 1964 Punch 23 Dec. 967/3 His fluffy wife prepared to help him by seducing the boss.
Fluffy is used to describe flighty people, people of little consequence, people with no substance. Applying that to my physical body doesn’t pay me any compliments.
Fat, meanwhile, is, by definition, substance.
So to describe my fat body as fluffy is to attempt to take away my substance. It is to render me inconsequential. It is to render me, in many ways, invisible.
Calling a fat person fluffy is to DENY that the person is fat. It relabels the ample flesh as something weightless and thus pulls the teeth on the negative connotations but it does so by removing all of the power that belongs to a body of substance.
Kate has fluffy hair, y’all. And I am fat.
This entry was posted in Body Image
. Bookmark the permalink
. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post
or leave a trackback: Trackback URL