Alicia Mccarvell is on a mission to "change the narrative."
On Thursday, the Canadian TikTok star took to Instagram to open up about the use of the word "fat" with her 903,000 followers.
In the post, the content creator replied to a fan's comment asking a "genuine question — what do we say when others call themselves fat?"
While Mccarvell shared that she has never said "I'm fat" in front of her friends to seek validation, she says it's an opportunity to try to understand someone's reason for voicing that.
"Typically my experience has been that those who call themselves fat around me are not fat, but are struggling with something else," she explained in the video. "So I like to say, ‘what makes you feel that way?’ Because this opens the dialogue to get to the root of the problem."
Specifically, Mccarvell believes that people use the word "fat" when they feel bloated, when their jeans don't fit, when they've gained weight or when they aren't feeling good about themselves.
If this happens, the Halifax-based influencer encouraged people to help clarify the person's thoughts and to try to help them.
"If you truly care about changing the narrative around the word ‘fat’ then you can clarify and say I’m so sorry you’re going through that, but that doesn’t make you fat, but being fat isn’t a bad thing. And then you can move on to helping them solve the root of the problem," she revealed.
"I like to say, ‘what makes you feel that way?’ Because this opens the dialogue to get to the root of the problem."Alicia Mccarvell
If their jeans don’t fit, Mccarvell suggested telling them that it’s OK and help them buy new ones. If they’re struggling with bloating, she recommended they talk to their doctor or find a supplement to help.
"And if they’re truly feeling s— about their body, then help them find resources to make it better. So by asking them what’s really going on, you can really help them," she concluded.
In the caption, the social media star further clarified how "we can be respectful of peoples struggles with their bodies" while still changing the narrative around the the word "fat."
"It’s important to empathize with those who use the word 'fat' in a negative way because it’s what they’ve been taught..." she explained. "I used to struggle when my thin friends would describe themselves that way around me, and that’s valid — but what is also valid is there struggles with their body, and their experience."
The body positive advocate ended her caption about getting to the root of what someone is struggling with.
"When we ask for more information we’re not only able to change the narrative around the word, but we’re also able to properly help the people we love," she penned.
In the comments, fans thanked Mccarvell for her "vulnerable" and "compelling" answer to the fan's question.
"I love this answer so much, thank you," commented a follower.
"Thank you for such a compelling answer! We need more people like you to accurate challenge important topics like this," shared someone else.
"Girl I praise how vulnerable and real you are. You're so aware and I know you're helping tons of people out here," wrote a fan.
"This is brilliant! Thank you for helping us navigate this when our friends say something like this," added another.