Fat-phobic trolls, your days of body shaming will soon be over. Because there’s an army of female influencers out there who have reclaimed the word 'fat' for themselves, and they're refusing to let it be used as an insult any longer.
Here’s the thing: all bodies should be celebrated. Lumps, bumps, curves, stretch marks - whatever your shape or size, your body works in wonderful ways and it should be celebrated. But disappointingly, we live in a world where narrow beauty standards mean that those who 'don't fit' can often be made to feel less-than.
Despite much conversation about the dangers of fat shaming, there’s no doubt that the plus-size community is still facing discrimination. Body shaming insults are, sadly, just as routine on the internet as the Kardashian/Jenner family Christmas card - and these words can hurt.
A recent survey showed that British people are still just as likely to fat-shame people as they were three years ago, while our American counterparts are significantly less likely to blame plus-size people for their size. This weight bias, according to the researchers who worked on the study, causes "both physical and psychological harm." Another survey, carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, backs this theory up. It revealed that almost half of women (43%) felt down or low as a result of their body image.
But as soon as we start normalising the term 'fat' - reverting it back to a descriptor as opposed to a term of abuse - we can start to remove its power as a weapon. We spoke to four inspirational plus-size influencers who are already doing this. Here, they explain why they're not just indifferent, but proud to call themselves fat.
“To me, fat just means an abundance of something, whether that be body or bank account”
"I’m so proud to call myself fat, and that might seem completely ridiculous to some people. For me, it’s a word that has been used to put plus-size bodies down for so long, and I feel like there is so much power in being able to reclaim the word. It’s a massive middle finger to decades of discrimination and just proves that ‘fat’ is simply a word for size, and doesn’t measure anything else other than that.
I only set up my Instagram account in July, and I have felt so welcomed and accepted within the community. I’ve been able to connect with so many beautiful and talented souls, and I’m so excited to see where this journey of body acceptance takes me.
I didn’t think I was going to post these pictures today. I literally looked at my arms in them and was just like absolutely not, no one is gonna see these! But after a think and reminding myself why I started this account I decided to post them. So here’s a reminder to anyone reading this that you can still practice self love but on some days let negative thoughts creep back in, self love is a journey and there is no destination so everyday is going to be different, but as long as you remind yourself of that, you’ll be all good 💖
A post shared by AbFab Fatty (@abfabfatty) on Sep 14, 2020 at 9:45am PDT
When you think about whether our community is being represented in today’s society, it’s vital to note that although plus-size bodies are being shown more in mainstream spaces, those bodies still tend to be lacking in variety whether that be race, size, gender, or disability.
It’s important to acknowledge that the body positive and fat activism movement wouldn’t be where it is today without Black womxn. They are the pioneers of this crusade, especially within our social realm."
Follow Jaime @abfabfatty
“It’s very empowering to see internet bullies struggle for an insult when you have already described your body as fat”
"Plus-size people are met with stereotypes and preconceptions that thinner bodies just don’t have to consider.
I have found that being fat has me falling victim to a fair amount of sexual harassment. Lots of men assume that because of my body, I will perform a certain way in the bedroom, likely because of the fetishisation of plus-size women in pornography and certain media.
Worst of all, fat men and women are often expected to ‘take what they can get’ when it comes to dating because society generally believes them to be unattractive.
How now brown cow🐄 . My literal best ever fitting bikini from @belle.beachwear 💖💖use code BABYBELLENAIYA for 15% off babes🐮💖 . . . . . #gifted #bodypositivity #bodypositive #bodyconfidence #selflove #selfcare #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #curvyblogger #fashionbloggers #instadaily #ootd #instamood #instadaily #instafashion #fashionstyle #plussizefashion #plussize #plussizemodel #plussizeswimwear
A post shared by 🍒𝐍𝐚𝐢𝐲𝐚🍒 (@naiya.moreno) on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:27am PDT
Choosing to be online as a fat person comes with the idea of trolls and hate comments. It’s not like we can hide it. We’ll be fat whatever we wear, whatever we do. I think we body-positive influencers have been able to take this in our stride and reclaim it as a trait rather than an insult.
How can I not be proud of a body that has helped me achieve so much in my life so far? I’ve worked very hard on my mental and physical strength, and there’s a lot more to life than looking 'pretty.' (Even though I look hot as f**k.)"
Follow Naiya @naiya.moreno
“Seeing other fat women on Instagram be beautiful, sexy and happy in their bodies made me think, ‘hey, why can’t I do that?’”
"Fat is very often used as an insult, but to me, it isn't. It’s just a physical descriptor of a body - there should be no difference between describing someone as fat and describing them as thin. It’s only a negative word if you let it be. It’s not a bad word because being fat isn’t a bad thing! I used to live in fear of this word. It used to be the worst word in the world for me.
With this being said, we could definitely be represented more. We still mostly see slim people on our screens, with fat characters being the comic relief (if they’re featured at all).
A post shared by carey 💫 (@subjectively_hot) on Aug 21, 2020 at 7:04am PDT
What bothers me most about how fatness is represented in society is the myth that skinny = healthy and fat = unhealthy. I’d love it if there was more comprehensive education about it.
I’ve loved being able to connect with other fat women online. Talking about these things and hearing their experiences has given me the confidence to realise that I’m not alone, and it’s not so scary to acknowledge my fatness."
Follow Carey @subjectively_hot
“I’m proud to call myself fat because it’s just who I am. It’s all I’ve ever known and it’s how I navigate the world”
"The first time I was called fat, I was a young girl at primary school. I remember the word making me feel ugly, but because I was the type of child who always pretended she was OK, I waited until I was home to start crying.
As a grown woman, I see the word fat simply as an adjective. These days, I don’t shriek when I hear someone say it.
I have found the online fat family to be incredible, but because of the positive energy I’m constantly surrounded by, I sometimes forget that I live in a world where people automatically don’t like me for my size.
Can you imagine if we had a Plus Size Superhero 🦸🏽♀️ !!! My superpower would defo be Mind Reading because I wanna know ALL THE TEA !!🍵 What would yours be?? This is also my entry for @snagtights 🧡🧡🧡 #snagqueens #pumkinspice #plussizesuperhero
A post shared by Talia A. Darling (@taliaadarling_) on Jul 24, 2020 at 1:00pm PDT
I’ve always been able to charm people, meaning I never give people enough time to examine my body. When I tell people that I model for a living they look me up and down in shock, and I’ve even had people treat me differently to the smaller models at photoshoots.
We need to reclaim the word because we need others to understand that being fat isn’t a negative thing. I’m very comfortable with my body, and people can see that."
Follow Talia @taliaadarling_
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