Plus-Size vs. Fat

03Apr09

I’ve been thinking recently about the language we use around fatness and the ways we actually try to avoid the real issue: fatness. When using words like: plus-size, heavy, bigger, on the heavy side, large etc. I feel like people are trying to talk their way out of addressing my presence in the room. By talking about “plus-size” folks they can be discussing anyone, fat, like some other words is slightly more biting, makes people a bit more uncomfortable but better summarizes my experiences in my body.

When things don’t fit me in stores, when I can’t fit in chairs, when my body is put on display I do not feel plus-size, I feel fat. And I think it is amazing to take that shame and hurt that I have felt for so many years and take the word and say “I AM FAT!” and be happy with that.

My other issue with plus-size is a bit more semantic. Plus-size implies that one is “plus” or larger than what the “normal” or “average” person should be. This othering of people’s bodies isn’t ok. We have different bodies some are bigger, some are smaller but because my body is fat should not mean that I am in some way a departure from a “norm.” We need to embrace a multiplicity of body types that allows all of us to be fully whole in our own bodies and never feel “othered” or compared to others.

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