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The Other F Word

January 6, 2014

Fat News
fat is an adjectiveWith 2014 here, I took the opportunity to sit quietly and reflect on 2013 and all that transpired to make the world a more fat-friendly place. I know it is easier to focus on the speed bumps along the Fat Acceptance road; and to a certain extent, that is important in order to keep the engines stoked for more activism. But if we don’t take a moment to accentuate the positive, then our despair over the preponderance of negatives can extinguish the flames of forward motion completely.

With that in mind, I sent a CFP (call for progress) email out to my list serves and dug into my “good news” files from the past year. As I sifted through the materials, one commonality began to emerge, an indisputable trend: in article after article, interview after interview, and book after book the word fat was used intentionally and without apology.

Katie Couric asked Jeanette DePatie why she calls herself The Fat Chick, and Amanda Levitt had to answer a similar question during her CNN interview. Both women explained that one of the reasons (and I am paraphrasing) was to reclaim the word, strip it of its stigmatizing effects, and put it back in its rightful place as an adjective …neutral … no different than using the words short, tall, thin, or squiggly.

There is something powerful about reclaiming a word that has been used to hurt people or that is loaded with negative connotations. And the ultimate goal, I would suppose, is to neutralize the word so that it can’t hurt anyone and garners no more attention than any other word in our vocabulary.

It won’t be easy  to accomplish. We have only to look at the other “F word” and we know that the destiny of certain words is to be eternally labeled as bad. And while there have been fabulous attempts at defusing the four letter F word (e.g., George Carlin, Hair, and Eric Idle’s tribute to the FCC), their campaigns did not generate any secondary gain for their cause. Not true for the campaign to reclaim and destigmatize the word fat.

Every time we get called on the carpet for using it, or asked to explain it, it is our opportunity to shine the light on the negative impact of fat stigma. These are teachable moments that may not arise otherwise. I have written extensively about the negative impact of weight stigma and the power of words to hurt or heal. While it may seem redundant to address this topic yet again, calling out prejudice is something that as long as prejudice exists needs to be done repeatedly without apology.  It also doesn’t hurt to borrow pages from Carlin and Idle’s books and mix in a healthy dose of humor.

And so I raise my cup to salute the 2013 accomplishments from the Fat Acceptance, Size Acceptance, and Health At Every Size® communities and I offer you the following short list of links (in no particular order) in case you need an injection of positivity to get you ready for 2014.

Do you have any to add?  Did you make any personal strides that you would like to share with us? It doesn’t have to be big or splashy, every step counts!

Til next time!
Dr. Deah

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2014 2:43 pm

    Lovely! I raise my cup and salute the movement right along with you. Loving your blog. Thanks for your activism. The Minchin video was hilarious!!!

  2. Feminist Cupcake permalink
    January 6, 2014 3:09 pm

    Love this. Way to Go rad fatties!

  3. Oxymoronictonic permalink
    January 10, 2014 5:23 am

    Yes Minchin.

  4. January 13, 2014 1:07 pm

    @Oxymoronictonic I love your name and yeah Minchin!

  5. April 4, 2014 11:12 am

    Reblogged this on drdeahstastymorsels.

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