Due to popular demand, I publish this article* again. It created a controversy because of a false interpretation, which I will talk about below.
“Use the word ‘fat’: Yes or No? Tess Holliday and Joby Bach have different opinions about it. With whose do you agree?
A post of Joby Bach got me thinking a lot about this topic. The term ‘fat’ has like the term ‘plus size’ a negative connotation. I said in this previous article that for me the term ‘plus size’ is not bad at all. Yet, I am not sure if I think the same about the term ‘fat’.
We picked Tess Holiday and Joby Bach, both with very different opinions, out for you.
Tess Holliday thinks that using the term ‘fat’ is not bad at all. She even named her first book #TheNotSoSubtleArtOfBeingAFatGirl, because she wanted to change the way we think about the word. Furthermore, by using it and not making a fuss about it she herself is reacting less stressed about it. This is a good way of not getting hurt by the bullies on social media. We can’t change the trolls and their behaving, but we can change the way we react to that.
(Tess thinks that we should celebrate ourselves and using the word ‘fat’ is one tool to achieve this. It is one way of accepting yourself as you are.)
Do you agree with Tess?
Or do you have a different opinion?
Joby Bach is against using the term ‘fat’. She thinks that if we are using the term for ourselves, then we are also degrading ourselves. She thinks that women should never try to do that and rather use other words, who have a more positive meaning. For her it’s important to have a positive outlook on things, therefore a word like “fat” is not a word a woman should ever use to describe herself. In her view, even if you say it’s ok to let others call you “fat”, your subconscious still has the negative meaning of it connected to yourself. Therefore, she could rather call herself “curvy” or “plus size”, than “fat”.
(For Joby it’s important to not use derogate words, because it doesn’t help you. Self-Acceptance and a positive outlook works for her by using words with a positive meaning.)
Do you rather agree with Joby?
I, myself, have no problem with the term ‘fat’. Yet, as a depression patient I learned that how I regard myself is very important. During my therapy, I had to write down my thoughts and emotions about the horrible incidents from my past. After writing that down, I had to change my ‘negative’ thoughts into more ‘positive’ ones. This way it can help you to get over them. It didn’t turn down the sad emotions I had, but it did help me to get over with a few incidents. I am still working on accepting my past as it was.
So, from my therapy I learned that changing your mindset on you and your past, can have a positive effect on yourself.
My question about this is still: “Do I need to turn my mind into something positive for it (turn the word fat girl into big girl), or do I need to name it for what it is and just let it go (call yourself fat, live with the negative connotation and focus on celebrating my life)?
I think I will use for myself the words fat & fabulous. In this case both the negative and the positive connotation will end up balancing it out. (Plus I love this combination.)
Do you agree with Tess (Fat Acceptance) or with Joby (Don’t use the word Fat)?
I am interested to know your opinion on this topic.”
> The highlighted parts in the brackets have been added to the article later. <
So, let me write something about the false interpretation.
- Do you see in the article text above anywhere the N word? No. That is because my discussion is not about it at all, but about the question to use the F word or not. That’s all. Furthermore, as I wrote in my statement: “I am happy to see in my comments that women accept themselves (the way they are). All I wanted to do is to make people think and decide for themselves. It is my job to reflect the different voices of the community.” The only reason why the N word was seen in my article, was because I included the IG link of Joby from her statement.
- I can understand very well if people feel hurt by reading Joby’s post just by “reading the N word from the page of a white woman” (words of one commentator). A lot of tragedy is implied with this word, which is a sad part of human history. Yet, because of the sadness surrounding this word Joby included the word in her post. Because of the tragic history we shouldn’t try to keep using it. That is all what she wanted to say with it. She is the mother of a mixed child and her boyfriend is black too, therefore she chose to include it. There are also personal concerns involved in it and she know of the feelings people have with the N word. However, I can also understand if people don’t mind using it to accept this part of the ancestor’s past.
- Accusing me to compare the F word and the N word is a total misinterpretation of my article. I didn’t compare them at all in my text and I also don’t think it’s ok to attack someone like this. Especially, if I agree with the attacker regarding the usage of the word ‘fat’. I’m fat too and I don’t mind if other people say they are fat. If they love themselves the way they are; then I am fine with it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
My last article was first published over a week ago, but the reaction is still significant. 1. My article was only about the question “use the word fat – yes or no”. Plus, this was also what the accused model talked about. She just added in her text examples of other words with a derogative meaning. The main context is only on the word fat. When I saw her post, it didn’t cross my mind that it could look like a comparison, because she never used both words together in a sentence with comparative words like “as bad as”, “worse than” or “just like.” Then it would have been obvious, and I would have cancelled the article completely. Nevertheless, I can understand now why people think it is a comparison, but this thought is not correct. We shouldn’t twist things around, because it creates ground for further legal actions. I believe “…when we are in the realm of Conflict, we can move from the Abuse-based construction of perpetrator and victim to the more accurate recognition of the parties as the conflicted, each with legitimate concerns and legitimate rights that must be considered in order to produce just resolution.” (quote from the book ‘Conflict is not Abuse’). 2. I didn’t choose the models to create a conflict, nor did I published the article to get used for sensationalism. I just wanted to share two opinions of models I respect and admire, because I saw that this is a current topic. 3. I am not against the word fat at all. I also have nothing against anyone using it. 4. The amount of negativity from the reaction has shocked me very much and I can’t believe that this is still the plus size community I started to love many years ago. 5. Furthermore, I just share the beauty of humans. Therefore, I can’t reject anyone because of different thoughts, looks and sizes. That’s why on my page you can see International Curvy Women and the progess of the Plus Size Movement in other countries too… (Continue in the comments)
Well, this is all I have to say about this topic. I will not share further comments or posts of the accusers, because that chapter is now closed for me. I thank Tess for her reaction and for tagging me, she is an amazing social media star. I just think she misunderstood what I wanted to say. Nevertheless, she rocks with her beauty and her tremendous talent.
*Article first published on October 25, 2017