By Clodagh Meaney
I’ve banned the use of the word ‘fat’ in my house. I’ve noticed my boyfriend and I saying things like “I feel fat” or “I look so fat in that photo” way too often.
Having seen it first hand, I’ve noticed how rampant it is on social media, and in our social circles. From our thin friends calling themselves fat, to unsolicited comments from strangers on the net, it’s everywhere I look.
People use the word ‘Fat’ as a verb. Getting a Chinese is considered as ‘being fat’.
I used my trusty research source - Instagram stories - and ran a poll asking if people would ever use the word ‘fat’ to describe themselves. Out of 64 respondents, 72 per cent said that they use the word as a self-describing word. 81 per cent of people who took part said they were straight-sized, and could find their clothing size in most stores.
One of the respondents noted that whilst they voted yes to referring to themselves as ‘fat’, they were actively trying to stop; to fight the conditioning and the fatphobia.
@BodyToBodyProject on Instagram are working to promote self-love.
My biggest pet hate is seeing ‘skinny' people refer to themselves as fat. If you think you're fat… what the fuck am I? You’re indirectly fat-shaming not only yourself but anyone your size or larger than you who may see your comments.
As someone who would be categorically ‘overweight’, I couldn’t imagine myself tweeting about how ‘fat’ I felt. I would feel too ashamed. What is an appropriate reply to that statement? Is it done for attention? Is it done for the “No you’re not” replies, and an ego boost?
Just today I saw a tweet “I’m so sick of being fat”. I check the tweeters account. A 19-year-old girl. I’d say a size 8. Tall and thin. How is that meant to make me feel? At size 16? Perhaps she is so brainwashed by a society that she thinks this of herself? At such a young impressionable age.
I constantly compare myself. If someone mentions what they weigh, I automatically calculate how much of a difference there is between our weights.
I read Donald Trump’s weight and calculated the difference. I read Kim Kardashian’s weight and done the same thing. I compare myself to everyone. Not only celebs, just anyone I follow on Instagram, or online. Hell, when I end up on the Instagram of a completely random person, I’m comparing myself.
Size doesn’t matter
“I can usually find a size that will fit, but the number on the label is anything from 12-20”
When I was growing up my mam was a size 32.
I remember we went shopping once or twice a year to specific shops that stocked clothes that fit her. She couldn’t pop into her local Penneys and get what she needed; she had to save, and go to a store in Dublin for her clothes.
I know I have privilege in that I can waltz into many high street stores and find something to fit me. That being said, sometimes the label is a 14, sometimes, it’s an 18.
If you can walk into a shop, and find your size; you're privileged!
The diet industry
We all know that the diet industry thrives on how bad we can be made feel about ourselves.
From skinny teas to appetite suppressant lollipops. My immediate thought on those was, “c’mon now, it’s gonna take a lot more than one lollipop to suppress my fecking appetite!”
The diet industry is a multi-million euro cash cow. Influencers can make a quick buck by posing with their teacups, and selling you their diet plans.
Just look at the recent Bloggers Unveiled scandal which ‘unveiled’ the likes of Joanne Larby. She was selling her followers a diet and exercise regime based on herbal teas and editing. It was revealed she was using Photoshop to ‘thin’ down her appearance.
Often when shopping on websites such as Boohoo, I see clothes size 16 and upwards branded as ‘plus-size’ being modelled by people who are straight-sized.
Why can’t you put a size 16 model into your size 16 clothes? Why are these clothes being modelled by someone they don’t fit? Are sized 16 people so bad you couldn’t possibly use one to model the clothes meant for them?
If you were anyway different in school, you know all about the bullying. The name-calling, how ‘less’ of a person other people can make you feel because of your differences.
I was bullied for having a disability (that’s for another time) and not because of my size. But, I have been publicly shamed for being ‘fat’. A few years ago an ex-boyfriend put a status on Facebook about how he had dated ‘a few fat girls in the past’. I cried so much when I read that, naturally. But what gave him the right to fat shame me? I done nothing on him?
Celebrities galore are shamed by the public whenever they have a slight weight gain. The word ‘fat’ is used as an insult by bullies all over the world, and the worldwide web.
Something we refer to ourselves as, something we constantly shame ourselves for being. You wouldn’t allow someone else use that word towards you.
We need to stop viewing ourselves in such a negative light. We need to be the change this world needs. I have noted a rise in people posting ‘real’ pictures of themselves and their lives, which is a great start, but it’s still only the parts they want you to see.
To fight the fatphobia, we need to start with us.
Do yourself a favour, remove the word ‘fat’ as a means for describing looks, from your vocabulary.
Pictures from Body To Body project