The word ‘fat’ has mixed reviews.
Some think it’s offensive and prefer to use ‘gentler’ adjectives such as ‘curvy’, ‘voluptuous’ or ‘plus-size’.
Others think it would be much better if we just used the word and stopped trying to come up with alternatives.
Is it an offensive word? Should it be banned? The debate was sparked after it was reported that ‘Strictly’ judge Bruno Tonioli asked producers to re-shoot a scene after using the phrase “It isn’t over until the fat lady sings” during the semi-finals on Sunday.
The dance professional is believed to have asked the crew to film his comments again as he didn’t think he could use the term ‘fat’ on TV for fear of causing offence.
The subject was discussed on ‘Good Morning Britain’ today by fitness expert guest Marvin Ambrosius, who has lost five stone in weight, and Judi Love who believed the phrase shouldn’t be banned.
Host Piers Morgan was of the opinion that “snowflakes” who found the word offensive needed to get a grip and went on to say “everyone needs a fat-shamer” if they’re overweight.
The 54-year-old presenter told co-host Susanna Reid he appreciated it when his friends told him he “needed to lose a bit of timber”. He said it motivated him to go to the gym.
Ambrosius said his weight loss was triggered by his low mental health rather than being taunted about being fat.
“It would never work because I had to go to a negative place,” Marvin explained. “But that negative place for some people, they don’t have the strength to come out and that is not fair.”
Piers responded: “Listen, every fat person who ends up losing weight and getting fit does so because of being shamed.”
However, Ambrosius said his decision to lose weight was down to health, getting older and having children.
Is it offensive to say ‘fat’?
It has been reported that Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli used the word ‘fat’ during filming, but asked to reshoot the scene as he didn’t think he was allowed to say it on TV.@1Judilove | @MarvinAmbrosius | #GMB pic.twitter.com/v87NDByuMM
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 10, 2019
“But it was also to do with the fact that I felt terrible, I literally didn’t want to leave my house,” he added.
Judi Love said we should be conscious of what we’re saying to each other, but banning certain popular phrases is taking things too far.
Susanna pointed out that there could be a difference between just using the phrase or pointing out someone specifically.
“I don’t see that as fat shaming,” Love added.
Following the segment on the programme the debate continued online.
Some people agreed with Piers that the phrase shouldn’t be banned.
Its offensive to say anything these days. Tis about time people grew up.
— Trev (@Tom9560964548) December 10, 2019
Fat is not a bad word nor is it insulting. I was 22st at one stage and only for my friends telling me to lose weight I would still be a fat lazy slob with no motivation to do anything and its great to have truthful helpful friends
— ANNA in Fermanagh (@AnnaInFermanagh) December 10, 2019
But others thought Piers was wrong to believe everyone needs a bit of fat-shaming.
Folk are not allowed to make fun or insult someone based on their religion, race, skin colour, sexual orientation, age, or gender. So why should you be allowed to insult folk on their weight, or looks? maybe offensive behaviour of any kind, should be banned, or is it selective?
— Renegade (@Renegade_uk100) December 10, 2019
— MarketingNoBS (@MarketingNoBS) December 10, 2019
This isn’t the first time the word fat has been questioned.
Earlier this year a gym came under fire after sending out a marketing email asking members whether they can “pinch” or “grab” their fat and urging members to “call it what it is... FAT”.
One woman shared the email on Twitter saying she was “horrified” by the message and received hundreds of comments agreeing with her viewpoint.
And back in July a department store sparked a debate about ‘fat-shaming’ after removing a dinner plate which made reference to portion sizes, and then getting accused of pandering to snowflakes.