“YOU’RE NOT FAT, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL”
It’s amazing how easily the phrase rolls off the tongue, and how much sense it makes to us when we hear it. You’re not fat, you’re beautiful or she wasn’t hot, she was fat.
And it’s amazing how much meaning is tied up in that one small word, just three letters called as “FAT” how can it convey so much..?? It should be a simple adjective, used to describe someone’s size. Instead, it’s become a stand-in for how attractive we find people around us.
Well I have been many a times traumatized by this sentence by many people around who are afraid that I will fell bad if they will call me fat. I just want to say something ask yourself:
When was the last time you used the word “fat” as a purely descriptive term?
When was the last time you heard it said without judgment, without shame, without myriad other implications attached to it?
When was the last time you heard someone described as fat and beautiful?
There are lots of things I would change about the way we talk about people’s bodies and about our omnipresent cultural conversation about size, weight, and shape. But if I could wave a magic wand and strip the adjective “fat” of all its extra meaning, I would.
When you’re a woman on the internet, “fat” is a word that gets thrown at you a lot. Like “ugly” and “slut,” it’s an all-purpose term that’s rarely intended to describe the reality of your size or shape or appearance, just as “slut” is not intended to describe how much sex you have. It’s simply intended to shut you up. It’s used to render you irrelevant, worthless and undeserving of an opinion. Because the word has so many other meanings attached to it, it doesn’t matter if the person it’s levelled at is, in fact, fat: calling her fat is a way to call her a host of undesirable things.
You hear the same dynamic at work when someone describes their mood by saying, “I feel fat today.” When we say that, we’re so rarely describing a physical state. We’re describing how we feel about a physical state: self-conscious, unattractive and worthless. Now does that mean that the person has become fat and that too in just few hours of a hectic day..??
We need to think about what we really mean when we use the word “fat,” and start divesting it of its value judgments. And that starts with the oh-so-common reassurance, you’re not fat, you’re beautiful.
When we reassure people (or ourselves) that they are not fat, they’re beautiful-what we are essentially doing is that we’re offering them comfort. We’re offering them a dichotomy, and one that rests on the correct assumption that fat is decently attractive. It’s time to start unstitching that assumption, so that fat — like tall or short — begins to function as a neutral description of someone’s physical presence, rather than a verdict on their character.
Logically, you’re not fat, you’re beautiful doesn’t make sense. Culturally — for now, at least — it does. The thing is we live in a world with lots of fat, beautiful, sexy, people in it. We need to use language in a way that reflects that reality, instead of erasing it. Are you fat? I don’t know, I can’t see you from here. Are you fat and hot ? Probably. Are the two mutually exclusive? Well I don’t think they are.
Himangini is an English teacher by profession. Her passions include writing, travelling and social work.