I think about words a lot. Which, I mean, I’m a blogger and a writer and an editor so that might be stating the obvious. I think about words a lot and, by the nature of my activism, one of the words I think about the most is the word fat.

It’s a great word, in my opinion. It’s not a particularly lovely word – I find very few single-syllable words to be lovely, especially those with the short-a sound and the harshness of that consonant t. (Exceptions all involve th – mouth and thigh being particularly glorious.) No, fat is one of the basics, one of the learning-to-read words. It’s cat and bat and hat and sat and mat and so on. It’s one of those words that is so intrinsic to our English-speaking mouths that we don’t think about it; it just comes chopping out from the space between our front teeth.

Fat is adipose tissue. When a noun is modified by “fat,” an adjective, it’s a descriptor; it signifies that the noun possesses comparatively more adipose tissue than a thinner version of that noun. It’s a word steeped in comparison and contrast. It’s not a binarism – fat and thin do not oppose each other, as much as some folks try to reduce the multiplicity of bodies and body types to such a simple, inaccurate head-to-head (pound-for-pound?) competition. Fat and thin both are part of a spectrum. The center point is not an arbitrary Ideal Body Weight: it’s just one more point.

That’s why I object to “overweight” as a descriptor. Over what weight? The weight other people think I should be even though they have no experience with my body composition beyond looking at me? The weight a BMI chart says I should be? The weight a fashion magazine thinks I should be? The only thing I’m over is all the effort to Other my body.

There are lots of other words people use. Curvy, chubby, stout, voluptuous, zaftig, fluffy, big-boned, thick, and so on. But they don’t really describe my body in a meaningful way when I want to talk about my particular body experience.

Sure, my body is curvy. But that speaks more to the profundity of my ass and the size of my breasts. It doesn’t say a damn thing about my body composition – especially since, really, curvy is a thing women (and other genders) of any weight can be. Curvy has become code for a very specific kind of fat and I am not that kind of fat. It’s not the word for me.

Chubby is, apart from also being a slang term from my youth for an erection, just plain wrong when it comes to scale. (You see what I did there?) If chubby is meant to indicate a certain specific, moderate level of fat, well, am I extra chubby? Extra extra chubby? It’s not a bad word. But it’s not the word for me.

There are a lot of vintage Lane Bryant ads, and ads from other catalogs, that advertise clothing for the stout woman. There is something, I think, very evocative about the word stout. It conjures up, for me, particularly British matrons with flowers on their hats and sensible, thick-heeled pumps. Basically, the Queen of England is stout. It’s awesome. And there’s something very solid about it, something that inspires confidence, I think. But, again, it’s not really an accurate descriptor for me.

Voluptuous and zaftig – they’re both efforts to glamorize bodies of size. Voluptuous might as well be curvy for all it’s a damn euphemism, for all it’s only applied to certain figures. And zaftig, which really is a phenomenal word is just an effort to make it sound better – as though fat in English isn’t good enough. Both voluptuous and zaftig have been applied to me, and I dig them, but I don’t dig them as community-wide descriptors because I don’t think we should be ashamed to speak plainly when it comes to our bodies.

I am not a goddamn Persian cat; I am not fluffy. Seriously, y’all.

Similarly, big-boned has got fuck all to do with my body. I mean, yeah, I have bones. And because bodies vary, in every way imaginable, some people’s bones really are larger and/or heavier than other people’s bones. That is really interesting. But it doesn’t determine how much fat I have. At best, it’s an apologetic excuse for just being larger than everyone (taller, sometimes); at worst, it’s an excuse founded in extreme embarrassment about body size.

Thick is a really interesting term to me. But, uh, yeah, I’m thicker than thick is supposed to be, I think. There’s nuance there with which I’m not entirely familiar – it seems to get applied to a lot of women who aren’t fat at all to me, they just have hips and thighs. Pear-shaped women, if we’re using fruit. Mmmmmmm, fruit.

There are plenty of other words that have been thrown my way over the years. But, for my linguistic energy, fat is still the best thing out there. It’s not a fancy word but I don’t need it to be. It’s one of the first words we learn to read; it’s basic. It’s as basic as “This is my body.” My body is many things. My body is fat.

The objection, of course, is that fat is used as an insult, is used to tear people down. It’s a successful insult because of the cultural perception that fat is bad.

I tell you what, my fat is not bad. It isn’t morally wrong, nor is it poorly behaved. It simply is. I’m not afraid of my fat and so I am not afraid of the word. “You’re fat,” (or, more commonly from trolls, “Your fat”) is a statement of fact, not an insult. Why, yes, yes, I am fat. Isn’t it delightful?

There are friends, generally thin, who cringe when I use the word. They won’t use it. I don’t blame them; they don’t exactly have signs over their heads proclaiming them okay and not being insulting, after all. But I’m going to keep using it, repeating it, saying it all the damn time. I’m going to keep normalizing it. It’s a normal word! It’s fat!

A lovely word? It doesn’t need to be. It’s better than lovely. Let’s use it some more.

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  1. Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    stout! i like stout. perhaps i will be stout.

  2. Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this.

    I get really annoyed when my friends (yes, often thin women) won’t use the word. It reminds me of when I first came out as a lesbian and none of my friends at the time would say the words gay or lesbian or queer or whatever to describe me. Not that I could or would hide that I’m fat like I could (but, again, wouldn’t) hide that I’m gay, but it’s a way of making the personhood of my fat self invisible, I think.

  3. Anon
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    What do you call people who are big, who wear what are generally considered large sizes, and *don’t* actually have a lot of adipose tissue (as measured with calipers, underwater weighing, what-have-you?)

    This describes me and I still refer to myself as fat… hey, if stores won’t stock clothes to fit my size 16 self because I’m too fat, and people recoil in horror at my weight because it sounds sooo FAT… I’m fat, even if 4/5 of me actually isn’t. Might as well reclaim it and leave the finer points of body composition for the concern trolls.

    • Lila
      Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Word. When I’m not on fat-making meds, I have exactly the same problem. My doctor did a body-composition testy thing and it turns out my muscle and bone (no fat at all) would weigh somewhere in the middle of the weight range for my height. Yeah. Someone should go back in time and tell bulemic high-school me.

  4. Posted August 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I like the word fat a lot too! It took me a long time to claim it, but it’s worth te fight.

    Coincidentally I just wrote a post about how the word fat is an adjective, not an attack, which just happens to mention your beautiful fat self!

  5. Posted August 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Posted this to my Tumblr. This is one of those posts that makes me say “Yes, THIS.” My reclamatory usage of “fat” makes some of my friends and acquaintances uncomfortable; the reactions I get range from fidgetiness to “But you DRESS WELL,” as if that somehow negates or hides my fatness, as if said friend hears me say that and thinks I’m putting myself down, despite my demeanor indicating no such thing. The conditioning just goes that deep, I guess. Sometimes I will deliberately drop the “fat”-bomb around my more squeamish thin friends just to watch them squirm and relish the fact that I’m not squirming. Which I guess kiiind of makes me a bad person, or at least isn’t very nice, but it’s only very, very occasionally.

    “Stout” would actually work fairly well for me, I think, if not for the connotations of frumpiness. I’m only about 5’3″ and pretty classically apple-shaped, for all I dislike the reduction of the female form to one of two fruits. But I’ve gotten pretty un-frumpy since discovering FA. I think “stout” also has a sort of solid, static feel to it, and I jiggle. :-P

    • Jackie
      Posted August 7, 2010 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      @Monica–I totally get those comments. “You move like someone who is in shape” (um I am in shape, or at least I was at the time :) I remember how I would hold on to them. I’m fat, but…! And now I’m fat. And I like it better!

      • Mimi
        Posted August 7, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        When someone makes a comment to Me like “You seem like you’re in pretty good shape”, or something similar, I usually make the smart retort “Yeah, well ,round *is* a shape, I suppose”. That confuses long enough for Me to move on to something more worthwhile! *G*

  6. geekgirl99
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I actually have strong fond feelings for the word stout, and occasionally use it to describe myself. I believe I was first introduced to it by reading this poem by A.A. Milne as a kid, and I felt an immediate affinity for it. I’ve never felt it was necessarily frumpy; just not word that implies youth. Mature and solid, but also quite possibly dapper!

  7. Posted August 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    So, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, which is just about as long as I’ve been attempting to accept my fat self.

    People at work look at me like I’m nuts when I say I’m not going to diet with them, I’m not worried about what I eat, etc…

    Anyway, on to my point, I weighed myself today for the first time in about a year. I told myself last year that I had to learn to be ok with me as me, and I wasn’t going to be fighting to be thin for the rest of my life. And the results are…I weigh exactly the same as I weighed last year! What about that crap?? I fought for 15 years to lose weight, lost it, gained it, lost it again. Now that I don’t worry about it, I’ve weighed the exact same amount for a year! I’m amazed and happy that I finally found the means by which to accept my fat self. :)

  8. Miriam Heddy
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    When I hear “stout,” I invariably think of Margaret Dumont, who was five kinds of awesome. It’s not just that she was larger than the Marx Brothers (which I think obscured the fact that she was sometimes relatively thin). She also had that unmoving, upright, proper sense of presence that to me is “stout.”

    I, personally, like zaftig because it is my culture that owns the word and I like the connotation of succulent and ripe.

    But fat’s fine.

    • Posted August 7, 2010 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I have in my possession a Mad Men era pamphlet entitled How To Achieve Loveliness Over Forty, which has a section devoted to “stouts” and how they should dress. (Navy, black, fade into the woodwork; yadda yadda been, done, tee). Being British, for me, the word always evokes Margaret Rutherford in Miss Marple mode:-


      It’s all sensible brogues, walking sticks, thick stockings, tweed suits, bolster-like mono-bossoms, a deep booming voice, and frumpery for days. Personally I’m relieved one tends not to hear the word outside of vintage Ealing comedies!

      And I’m with you on zaftig; and fat.

  9. Posted August 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy the word zaftig just because in Swedish it means juicy. Like a fruit. And that is just funny to me.

    Usually I use fat though, or overweight with the disclaimer that I hate that word. Which isn’t exactly eloquent…

  10. Posted August 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a great piece.

    When women self-identify with a certain word or adjective it’s interesting how some other people make it all about THEM. Now it’s cool if ppl want to tell us how words make them feel or whatever – I encourage it (for instance there’s a whole fetish/subcutlure for “thick” which I won’t link to here). But what’s with women getting pissed if you, or I, or Natalie or whomever identify happily as “fat”?

    I don’t relate to curvy, voluptuous, fluffy, or zaftig (although they technically “apply”).

    I relate to “fat”. A few weeks ago I asked my (8 year old) daughter Phoenix if I was fat and she said “no”. I said, “Well I think I’m a little bit fat and she agreed that was fair. I feel “a little bit fat”. Even self-describing that way, which feels accurate, makes me love my fat tummy more than I did before – when I *just didn’t ever talk about it and tried not to think about it*.

    Some tell me I’m “not fat”. Yet if I was in the world of celebrity and splashed on a tabloid I (at 5′ 5″ and 190 lbs) would be MASSIVE, a wildebeast.

    That’s why self-defining terms really work for me. You can’t look to other people to tell you; many are more than happy to label, often in a way that hurts or constrains.

    Thanks for another great piece, M.

  11. Posted August 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t mind using the word fat if I knew the people around me were not insulted by it.

  12. ladyfelicity
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I like the word “curvy.” :} But I have a petite frame with, well, curves that stick out. So I like the word and feel it adequately describes me.

    I like lovely words too. :) I personally don’t like “fat” just because I think of food and meat and stuff. Maybe that could be a good thing? If you like meat. (I don’t. :}) But, it is nice to see “fat” reclaimed, even if I don’t personally gel with it. :D

  13. kitty
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    I am so old I remember, vividly, when Catherine’s was known as Catherine’s Stout Shoppe. Not so awesome, as a fat teenager (and the clothes were hideous! seventybillion times worse than contemporary fat clothes, if you can believe that shit) but from the perspective of middle age, I sort of chuckle at how retro the old name sounds, and mildly regret its change.

    • Posted August 7, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Gosh, and I thought Evens The Outsize Shop was a cringeworthy thing to have written on your carrier bag!

  14. Sarah
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    I am just starting my journey towards FA, and am desperate for information. Thank you for this post. Getting there.

    This was my favorite:
    I tell you what, my fat is not bad. It isn’t morally wrong, nor is it poorly behaved. It simply is. I’m not afraid of my fat and so I am not afraid of the word. “You’re fat,” (or, more commonly from trolls, “Your fat”) is a statement of fact, not an insult. Why, yes, yes, I am fat. Isn’t it delightful?

  15. HellfireLover
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    I also like stout. being a Britisher and inevitably brought up on stories about ginger beer and cake and small children solving mysteries, stout indicates a kind of resolve, and there it was also a compliment of sorts – stout-limbed meaning strong and healthy.

    I also dislike big-boned as an excuse, but being genuinely large-framed with strong, flat, heavy bones, I never use the term *because* I don’t want people to think I am trying to make excuses. I’m fat, no question, although I also like plump to describe myself, because as an inbetweenie I most likely am, and besides, it’s a fleshy, luscious word that’s great fun to say. Very seaside-cartoony.

    Anyway, the word ‘chunky’ is sometimes used to describe my husband, any thoughts on that? I rather like it, in that I seem to associate chunky with being like chocolate, somewhat solid and comforting.

  16. Mimi
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Again, I am in complete agreement with you!

    Personally, I have no problem with the word “fat”. I describe Myself as a “fat chick” or “fat kid” all the time. My entire family is fat. We tell each other to “Stop being fat” or “Damn, you’re such a fat kid” when we spy each other engaging in stereotypical behavior (i.e.: deciding an an object just out of reach isn’t worth actually having to move for, or putting together culinary combinations that would make a dietitian’s head explode!). When My athletically – inclined (and physiqued) husband decided to slice a glazed donut in half and use it as a sort of a bun on which to base a pb&j, I told him that he was “Fat on the inside, where it counts.” My (thin, thanks to her father’s genes) cousin had this ice cream engulfed, cake-centered, cookie-topped, carbohydrate bomb of a confection for her birthday, and now her “honorary fat kid” certificate is in the mail. I’ve even taken a few “fat kid” road trips in My time. (These involve filling a cooler with readily available snacks to eat between stops; though we never seemed to get around to eating many of them…)

    “Fat” to Me has become a state of mind, not just a self-image. I believe that it would severely and negatively affect My self esteem if I were to ever become thin. However, I’d still be fat on the inside. Not nearly as comfortable with Myself, but still fat.

    Most of the other words mentioned, I’m ok with, even if I don’t feel they describe me exactly. I like the word “pulchritude”, or “pulchritudinous” which seem to have found a second-life describing pretty fat chicks. “Overweight” always seemed like a backhanded, condescending pseudo-slur used by skinny people to insult you without insulting you. But the word that grates on My ears is “obese”. I know it’s a clinical term, but it’s just so ungraceful and almost inhumane sounding to Me. It sounds more like a word one would use to describe a bus or freight train, not a person.


  17. Posted August 7, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I made a choice to reclaim ‘fat’ 25 years ago so using it is second nature to me now. The nearest I get to using a euphemism, (describing myself or any other fat person), in company likely to connect it with negative stereotypes, is ‘large’ or ‘plus-sized’. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to have the “but you’re not fat” convo or else don’t have the energy to dust off my FA soap box.

    As euphemisms go I loathe ‘thick’ and ‘fluffy’ with the white hot heat of a thousand big fat flaming suns. The first is a common UK slang term for stupid in the and, since fat people are called stupid all the time, is simply asking for trouble. The second just fills me with despair. Not only does it tick the “in denial about their own fatness” stereotype trolls love to promulgate, it just sounds so ingratiating and apologetic.”Don’t hit me, I’m widdle and fluffy and cuuuuute!” Seriously, try filling a duvet with fat and giving it a shake. It’ll keep you warm alright but it won’t be fucking fluffy.

    (I do quite like the way a former vet used to refer to my late (and indisputably fat) cat, Wattie as having “a little bit of extra cuddle” but, hey, he was a cat and therefore cute by default).

    @Kelly “When women self-identify with a certain word or adjective it’s interesting how some other people make it all about THEM.

    Word, as amply demonstrated this week by UK Health Minister, Anne Milton:-


    …complete with obligatory headless fatty.

    • Adi
      Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      YES. Not only am I fat, but I have a lot of extra cuddle! I am totally using that one.

  18. Posted August 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny – I have NO problem writing that I’m fat, but it’s a hard word to use out loud. I was writing with a friend and telling her that we’ll need to just sit down and say “fat fat fat fat fat” until it sounds totally fine coming out of our mouths instead of our keyboards.

  19. Lillian
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m told that I’m not fat. I’m 5’2″ and 150 pounds. I have heavy bones and I’m curvy. Apple shaped. I used to like chubby when I was younger and only 135 pounds. I feel like I’m fat since I’m not thin and I’m heavier than ideal. Still, people don’t see me as fat. The problem with the word fat is that it’s an insult. People can be called fat and not be fat.

    I suppose curvy fits me better.

  20. Posted August 8, 2010 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Hi there. I’m a skinny woman who has actually never had any particular issues with my body (although I’ve had lots of issues with my mind… on-off psychosis). Then I stumbled over fat acceptance blogs like yours and Harding’s more or less by accident yesterday – I was surfing the internet for want of anything to do, and came here via some feminist and queer blogs. I sort of always assumed that it’s unhealthy to be overweight and healthy to be normal weight, never much thought about it, but it seems to me that both you and Harding have really good arguments. So I wrote a long post on fat acceptance on my blog (in swedish though ;-) ) and I’m gonna think differently about weight and health in the future. Just saying.

  21. Sara A.
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve always liked “big” for myself. I feel big. In my head I’m about six feet tall. People express surprise when they learn I’m only five foot two because I just seam taller. I am fat, but somehow I don’t feel like that is a descriptor of me. It is a part of me but it doesn’t suit me like big does.

  22. Wendy
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I, too, have an AAMilne reference, but no link. I remember Winnie the Pooh getting up in the morning and doing his “stoutness exercises”, which I love, since it’s ambiguous enough for me to imagine that he is exercising to enhance his stoutness.

  23. bumerry
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    When “fat” – a word my 3/4s fat family uses routinely to mean fat – was on the 2nd grade list of words forbidden by the class social contract, we had to address this with our twins. I explained that there are no bad words, only bad intentions. And that bad intentions can come to be so closely associated with a word that bad intentions will be assumed. And that the way to deal with that is to focus on intentions, which are readily apparent to neurotypical kids but harder for atypical kids.

    To demonstrate the point, I asked if “boy” is a bad word. My white, Northern kids said no in puzzlement. I explained that if you call an African American man in Louisiana “boy” you’re lobbing a far worse and more dehumanizing insult than “fat.” Yet there is nothing wrong with the word boy, with male children, or with Southern Black men. Enslaving people is wrong, oppressing people is wrong, lynching and raping and whipping people is wrong. As in many situations, the insult says more about the hurler than the target.

    Hatred is bad, words are not.

    Also IMO, it’s impossible to insult another person by calling myself fat in a neutral manner. That’s the point of reclaiming words!

  24. Posted August 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    There is a scene in ‘Almost Famous’ where two characters are just meeting and at first they both lie about their age, then slowly back down to something closer to reality as they realize they can trust one another. One of the characters says, ‘The truth just SOUNDS better’.
    I think every time we use the word ‘fat’ we affirm the truth. Not because we don’t deserve descriptive terms that are fun or sexy or whatever, but because we don’t owe anyone descriptive terms that obfuscate what we are. I examine my own motives for using words like zaftig because I never want to use them because I’m applying excuse or apology for what I am. Nor do I want to avoid ‘fat’ to make non-fat people more comfortable. It may be the only way they will learn to BE more comfortable.

  25. JupiterPluvius
    Posted August 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    The thing about “fat” is that, although it’s my general term of self-description, I don’t always feel honest in using it. I don’t have a lot of external fat on my 5’9″, 235-pound body; I’m burly and stocky and sturdy but not beautifully fat and round like you or Nikki Blonsky or Beth Ditto.

    So I say “fat” because I want to reclaim “fat”, and because there are ways in which “wears size above US 12″ and “weighs more than 200 pounds” = “fat” but I feel like an impostor in the world of beautiful fat women (and men, for that matter). My body isn’t so generous and rounded as those of the fat folks I admire; it’s blocky and solid and muscular, like an NFL linebacker’s, and there’s no word for women like that that I want to reclaim.

    I see folks who have the Venus of Willenberg as their icon with “I DO have the body of a goddess!” and feel jealous.

    Not that “boo hoo, poor me” is necessarily a useful contribution to this discussion, but there may be folks like me who think both “fat is beautiful” and “my body isn’t like that beautiful fatness” and thus choose not to self-identify that way.

    • Adi
      Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      I like “burly”–you can be a burly goddess. I would LOVE to have more muscle. It would make me feel less like a creme puff and more like a goddess. Goddesses are STRONG.

  26. Posted August 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I think ‘solid’ would be a fair descriptor for me. Big boned works too (I could be starved in a concentration camp and still be this broad shouldered) but more than that I am SOLID. I am HERE. I am made for lifting and carrying, I have feet that plant ont he ground and spade-like hands that are good for digging dirt and kneading dough and carrying heavy loads.

    I also really love the word ‘fat’. And cos I’m a stirrer, I like saying it around those people who it makes uncomfortable. ‘Oh, you’re not FAT!’ they exlaim. Well, I’m an in betweenie, so I can see how they could double think that, but dudes. Check out my lucious arse. It is FAT! It is also zaftig (which apparently means ‘juicy’ in german) but mostly? It’s F-A-T. It is not fat in the same way that other fats are. But it is fat and I love it.

    PS, after listening to the latest fatcast, I had the BEST dream in which a group of women got together under the name ‘DeathFats’ and started refilming filmclips. They started with Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ and it was THE BEST THING EVER and I really wish it were real.

    • Adi
      Posted August 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to live in your dream plz.

  27. Marc
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I will haopily say “fat” among my friends who are into FA. But as a non-fat man, I would feel uncomfortably privileged using it in mixed company. I’m just not sure it’s helpful for a partially reclaimed word to be used by the people it doesn’t describe.

  28. Alison
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Yesterday, at a party with a lot of people I did not know, I got asked if I was expecting. I am not. I was wearing an empire-line top and I guess I had the nerve to rub my belly unconsciously, and the older lady next to me at the buffet table said “so, you’re expecting, then?” I said no, startled, she apologized, and what popped out of my mouth next was “no, just fat.”

    I’ve practiced this response in the event of such a thing happening, because I figured it was only a matter of time, but I never thought I’d have the guts to actually say it. I think it embarrassed her a bit, because she walked off quickly, apologizing all the while. I know it was probably rude to make her feel bad, but she should know better.

    It upset me a little, but not as much as I thought it would. I think that’s progress.

  29. Posted August 9, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I am fat! It was so liberating to me to take that word back and to accept it as a simple statement of fact, no apology, and no judgment just what it is. The Fat? So! (sorry the website author’s name escapes me at the moment) was the one who brought that understanding to me.

    I also hate curvy, I am not curvy, unless one views an apple as curvy. I dislike that non hour glass body shapes are considered less than by the plus size industry pisses me off and curvy is just the word they LOVE to work.

    Now that I have read your blog, I think I am going to start calling myself stout. I love that word, I am a rebellious perverted stout spinster, and it has a lovely derisive ring.

  30. Kel
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    My sister and I forever talk about the fact that we are fat kids (kids in their 20s). We love being fat kids. It is a fun and tasty way to be. Personally, I like to describe myself as thick or solid or just plain fat. I remember in college when I said something about being fat and my friends said that I wasn’t and were offended that I had said I was. But I am. And I’m ok with that. Fat kids unite!

  31. Adi
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    It makes me so crazy when I say that I’m fat and everyone immediately tells me “nooooooo of course not! You’re just _____!!” No, I’m FAT. And I’m not insulting myself. It’s OKAY to be fat. You treating “fat” like it’s a horrible thing to be is what makes it horrible. I’m fat and I’m perfectly okay knowing I’m fat. You’re not sparing my feelings. GAH. Thank you for saying these things so I know I’m not alone <3

  32. Kreske
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny how I have been reading on FA for a while, and trying to get rid of all the bullshit society told me about fat people all my life, and really three simple words in the end of your post sum it up like nothing else: “It simply is.”
    Thank you!

  33. Posted August 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I went to Forever 21 the other day to finally find their Faith 21 line. I walked up to a sales associate and this is what happened:

    Me: “Excuse me, do you carry the Faith 21 line?”
    Sales Associate: “The what?”
    Me: “Faith 21 line.”
    SA: “I don’t know what that is.”
    Me: “Faith 21 is Forever 21′s fat line.”
    (The SA’s mouth drops open)
    SA: “That’s not a very nice way to put it. You shouldn’t use that word.”

    Why shouldn’t I be allowed to use that word. I am fa, so why can’t I call fat people clothes fat people clothes?

    It’s not like I was using the word is a derogatory way. And the fact that I got reprimanded by a skinny sales associate about using it made me a little peeved.

  34. mccn
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    So, I have a question about this, “When a noun is modified by “fat,” an adjective, it’s a descriptor; it signifies that the noun possesses comparatively more adipose tissue than a thinner version of that noun. ” Is that true? Because I had always thought, linguistically, that it’s not quite more-than-a-thinnER version, but that it’s more than some absolute “standard” version – fat is fatter than an average, and thin is thinner than an average. I think this is also why fat and overweight are equated – leading to your next issue, over what weight exactly? I think people use fat to mean “different than what I think the average is or should be” in conversation – so, even if the average size is 14, that still doesn’t work, as 14/16s are considered “fat” by and large, and often by ourselves. But do you see my point?

  35. Beth
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    You’re an amazing writer!

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marianne Kirby, Happy Bodies . Happy Bodies said: RT @TheRotund The Words We Learn To Read; Reclaiming Fat: http://www.therotund.com/?p=938 [...]

  2. [...] a reader/writer/English teacher, the thesaurus is most definitely my friend).  But today I saw a post on The Rotund that sort of hit me between the eyes.  As Marianne dissected the various synonyms, including [...]

  3. By Dance Dance Dance « MirrorMe on August 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    [...] Reclaiming Fat – via The Rotund, a great post about all the different terminology for being fat. I myself really dislike “big-boned” as a euphemism for fat, because I (and my brothers) actually do have much larger than average bones, on top of our being fat. You kinda have to, to be built on the scale we are. So yes, I am fat. Not husky, or stout, or curvy. Just fat. XD [...]

  4. [...] The Words We Learn to Read; Reclaiming Fat:  Break down the word “fat” and all its over-used synonyms, and what do you find?  An interesting conversation about the way we look at and describe ourselves.  [The Rotund] [...]

  5. By Big Fat Deal » Revisiting Fat Euphemisms on August 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

    [...] Rotund writes about reclaiming the word fat. That’s why I object to “overweight” as a descriptor. Over what weight? The weight other [...]

  6. [...] prefer being called “big” (as in Big Beautiful Women) to fat.  Marianne Kirby recently wrote an amazeballs post about the importance of using fat over other euphemisms, which sums up my opinion on the matter [...]

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