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The Space Between

"You're a palsycorn, a unicorn is too general."

June 27th, 2014

The correct response to "I'm fat" isn't "No, you're not!". It's "So?" @ 09:50 pm

We've all heard it.  Hell, we've all done it.  Someone (maybe even you!) makes a comment about how fat they are, and the people around them rush to reassure them that of course they're not fat!  They're totally skinny!  Toothpick sized!  Maybe just a little chubby, but not fat!  It's nothing a little exercise and healthy eating won't fix!

The problems with this response are multifold.  First of all, because some people are actually fat.  Fat people exist.  I know, it's hard to believe.  There are people who fit the medical criteria for being overweight or obese and/or are routinely judged and oppressed based on their weight.  So telling someone they're not fat is denying a basic fact.  It's like telling an elephant they're not an elephant; they merely have some pesky elephantine tendencies.

(As a side note, I experience this often when I tell people I'm disabled, or more often, when I tell them I'm crippled.  It usually elicits gasps of horror, as if I just let a particularly sordid word fall from my lips.  And after that, I usually get something like "Don't say that!  You're not crippled, you're just...different!" I suppose I'm not female either, then?)

Second, and perhaps far more important, is that by reassuring people that they're not actually fat (and by seeking that reassurance for ourselves), we are actually reinforcing the idea that fat = bad.  Why else would we crave that reassurance and rush to offer it to others?  Fat is the bogeyman, lurking under our covers.  To our minds, fat should be uttered in the same horrified tones as "cancer".  We are creating sizeism/fatphobia every time we utter the words "You're not fat."

So next time someone complains to you that they're fat, don't deny it.  Don't tell them they're not fat.  Don't spout oppressive language.  Just say one word.  "So?"

So what if you're fat?  So what?  Is being fat really so disturbing?  Is being fat worse than being unloved?  Is being fat worse than being alone in the world, with no one to count on when times get rough?  I think not.

Yeah, you might be fat.  So?
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The Space Between

"You're a palsycorn, a unicorn is too general."