Welcome, fellow explorers of the ever-evolving topic of fatness! Today, we’re thinking about and responding to the thought-provoking podcast episode titled “Why do I use the word Fat?” from the lovely Nicola Salmon of “Fat and Fertile.” In this episode, the host candidly shares their personal and professional reasons for using the word “fat” – a term often laden with stigma and misunderstanding, frankly it makes people everywhere scared. So let’s unpack their insights, and explore the power of language and its ability to reclaim and remold the word fat.

Don’t Be Scared! Unpacking the Podcast Episode. . .

The episode description offers a bold declaration: “I use the word FAT in my business, and here’s why.” This simple yet powerful statement sets the tone for a conversation that seeks to challenge conventional language norms and highlight the significance of embracing the term “fat” instead of running scared because of the historical shame associated with the term.

Personal and Professional Context:

Our host doesn’t just drop the F-word casually; they use it intentionally and proudly. It’s a conscious choice informed by both personal and professional perspectives. This tells us that language isn’t just about semantics; it carries weight (no pun intended) and impact.

Reclaiming Fat:

One of the central themes of the episode is the reclamation of the word “fat.” Historically, this word has been used as a weapon of shame and judgment, causing immense pain to countless individuals. By reclaiming it, we shift the narrative from one of self-deprecation to one of self-empowerment. This reclamation may happen more quickly for some and for others it can take years or decades or not at all. There is no right way to describe your body. You get to decide that for yourself. 

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Our host emphasizes that using “fat” helps to destigmatize the term. Instead of tiptoeing around it or using euphemisms like “plus-sized” or “curvy,” they boldly say what they mean: “fat.”

In doing so, they challenge the notion that being fat is something that should be hidden or sugar-coated.

Many folks may still not be comfortable using this term to describe themselves or others, please use what terms feel good to you and those you are with. If a friend still finds hurt in “fat” do not use it for them.

Language and Power:

The episode delves into the concept of language as a tool of power and control.

The host highlights how changing the way we talk about fat bodies can challenge societal norms and ultimately lead to a more inclusive and compassionate world.

The Power of Language

Language, as we know, is a potent instrument for shaping perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Here’s why embracing the term “fat” matters to us:

  1. Normalization: Using “fat” as a neutral descriptor helps to normalize the term. It shifts it from a judgmental label to a simple statement of fact. It simply describes that you have more adipose tissue on your body. This normalization is crucial for removing the shame and stigma often associated with fatness.
  2. Representation: Embracing “fat” acknowledges and respects the experiences of fat individuals. It validates their identity and challenges the stereotype that only thin bodies are acceptable or worthy of recognition.
  3. Visibility: When we use “fat” openly and without having to be scared, it makes fat individuals more visible in society. This visibility can lead to increased awareness, empathy, and support for the challenges that fat people face daily.
  4. Education: In academic fields like Fat Studies, using precise language is essential for effective communication. “Fat” is a direct and unambiguous term that facilitates clear, meaningful discourse on the subject.
  5. Self-Empowerment: For fat individuals, reclaiming the word “fat” can be an act of self-empowerment. It’s about taking control of their own narrative and rejecting the negative connotations society has attached to their bodies.

Embracing “Fat”, Is the Fertility Industry Scared?

The intersection of fatness and fertility is a crucial point of discussion. Historically, the fertility industry has not been kind or inclusive when it comes to fat individuals. From judgmental comments to discriminatory practices, many fat individuals have felt marginalized in their pursuit of reproductive health.

With reclamation, you no longer have to be scared of the word being hurled at you, you can transform your relationship to the word, draining it of power. So, how can embracing the term “fat” make a difference in the context of your pursuit of reproductive health? You can seek out providers who doing any of the following:

  1. Inclusive Care: Using “fat” openly and respectfully in the fertility industry is a step towards providing more inclusive care. It acknowledges that people of all body sizes deserve access to care that helps them build their family. That care should also be  compassionate and respectful. We say no more to BMI limits on reproductive health.
  2. Reducing Bias: The fertility industry, like any other field, is not immune to biases. By recognizing and using the term “fat,” healthcare providers can work towards reducing bias and delivering care that is based on medical evidence rather than weight-based assumptions.
  3. Empowering Patients: When fat individuals hear their healthcare providers use “fat” without judgment, it can be empowering. It tells them that their provider is focused on their well-being rather than their size. If you aren’t used to using this word to describe yourself, it may feel unexpected for a healthcare provider to use it. The fertility industry is one that historically has shut fat patients from their care. Having providers use the word “fat” can be a way to fight against this past history of exclusion.
  4. Advocacy: Using “fat” in the fertility industry can also be an act of advocacy. It’s a way of saying, “We see you, we hear you, and we’re committed to providing you with the care you deserve.”

 The Fun Side of It

Now, let’s not forget the fun side of embracing the term “fat.” It’s about embracing humor, self-acceptance, and camaraderie within the fat-positive community.

Here’s how:

  1. Fatphobia-Defying Humor: Many fat individuals have turned to humor as a coping mechanism in the face of fatphobia. Embracing the term “fat” allows for playful and even cheeky self-identifications that challenge stereotypes and bring humor to a challenging journey.
  2. Supportive Community: Using “fat” openly can help foster a sense of community among fat individuals. It’s a rallying cry, a shared identity, and a way of connecting with others who have similar experiences.
  3. Body Positivity: The fat-positive movement encourages everyone, regardless of size, to appreciate their bodies. Embracing “fat” is a celebration of self-acceptance.

This episode of “Fat and Fertile” is a powerful reminder of the impact that language can have on our perception of ourselves and others. It invites us to question the status quo, challenge stigma, and create a more inclusive and compassionate world.

So, whether you’re a practitioner in the fertility industry or simply someone on their own journey of fertility, remember that “fat” is not a dirty word. It’s a word that can empower, validate, and inspire positive change. We hope one day you can embrace “fat”!

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