Sometimes we have to cover the same ground. Sometimes the same things need to be said again and again. For example, there is not an end in sight to “Fat is not a moral issue” or “Health is not a moral issue.”
Which is why, when I read in different communities and blogs where someone has whipped out “you are not fat!” and they mean it in a complimentary way, I always have to say something.
The most recent occasion of this, the person was awesome about it. If only every time this came up things went so wonderfully.
Instead, I usually get a lot of “OH MY GOD, IT WAS A COMPLIMENT WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE OFFENDED AT EVERYTHING!?!?!?!?!ELEVENTYONE!!11111111111?”
But, see, it isn’t a compliment.
It’s a lie.
Unless you are not fat by societal standards and you’re using the term to mean “fatter than you were previously.” Which, you know, totally happens. In which case, you genuinely aren’t fat and might want to be a bit more precise with the old lingo. *grin*
But if you are fat and someone says you are not fat, trying to pay you a compliment, well, they may be trying to be nice and supportive and awesome but what they are really saying is that you don’t fit the mental stereotype of fat that they have – which is a negative stereotype – so you can’t possibly be actually fat.
This is where our power as individuals who define ourselves as fat comes in. Because, yes, actually, we ARE fat. And we appreciate that you want to pay us a compliment, dear, dear friend or casual internet stranger or anything and everything in between. But we ARE fat and that is okay because fat does not mean anything bad in and off itself. What are you really saying? That we are beautiful/you find us attractive? Thank you! That we aren’t smelly or lazy or morally decrepit? Thank you! Yes, we are wonderful people, so glad you noticed. And none of those things are automatically derived from fat.
I am the first to tell people that the proper response to a compliment is to say thank you. But that is not the proper response to a lie. Don’t thank people for lying to you.
And this isn’t to say you should be up in people’s faces in mega aggro mode unless that is really your thing in which case more power to you. It’s just to say that we let people get away with a lot of shit in the name of not causing a fuss, in the name of being polite, but you don’t have to make a scene to call someone on this.
I really, truly am fat. Telling me I am not supposes that I haven’t noticed the size of my own ample ass. And if you truly believe that then you don’t think highly enough of me to be paying me any compliments anyway.
This entry was posted in Action Plan
, Body Image
, Responding to Other Blogs
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