I recently watched a Laci Green video, link on your right or click right here, in which she discusses fat shame. One of the ideas she proposed to diminish or eradicate fat shaming is to simply call fat by its name: FAT. Not fluff, or pudge, or any other childish name to "soften" the blow of what society has made its most devious insult. Yes indeed, the way we avoid mentioning the word "fat" is oh-so telling about the way it is portrayed in the 21st century. So is fat an insult, but most importantly, SHOULD it be?
I dish out my personal opinion on the topic.
The Times, They Are A-ChangingAs Laci mentions, the way we view fat as a society has not always been so negative. While it is true that throughout the Middle Ages the dominant Catholic church in Occident shunned gluttony, one of the 7 deadly sins, which can be associated with overeating, it's important to point out that finding enough to eat was still a daily struggle for most of the population. Appearing opulent was something only the privileged could afford, and it was regarded as noble, attractive, and, contrary to where we stand nowadays, healthy!
When crop growing and agriculture technology boomed during the Renaissance, the disparity in food supply between rich and poor slowly decreased, creating a shift in the "fat"mentality. It was no longer a sign of wealth, but of lack of self control. Of course, different societies, such as the Chinese Dynasties, have had a different evolution, but most share a fat-loving era in their history.
With the continuous transformation of "fat" and its implications throughout the ages, in the occidental society, as well as its various meanings across the globe , how can we collectively label the word as an insult?
Warped ImagesEver since Antiquity, painters, sculptors, and artists alike have been slaving over the accuracy of their portrayal of the human body. The exact, realistic proportions were all the rage. So when did we get so accustomed to untruthful representations?
Well, many art historians would claim that many representations of power figures, such as royalty and political leaders, dating back many centuries ago, were embellished by the artist to please their boss.
However, the main perpetrators and arguably the most influential originators of the warped image era we currently live in are clothing brands.
Fuelled by the arrival of fashion magazines and catalogues in the late 19th century such as Vogue, these brands now had a platform for their ads, in which their models could look as beautiful and thin/curvy/flat/wide hipped as the period's beauty expectation required. Whether it was a specific instruction to their campaign artist who sketched the clothes by hand or a lengthy Photoshop transformation on the computer, their eye was and still is on the money, no matter what kind of societal consequences their ads may lead to.
We live in a time that fat just doesn't sell the way thin does. So if we choose to use "fat" as an insult, aren't we just perpetrating an idea we are being sold?
Most importantly (again, as Laci said, but she's amazing i cannot HELP but paraphrase her every word!), fat shouldn't be an insult, because it isn't a trait that denotes any negative characteristics.
It doesn't imply in its pure, unadulterated mean, or stupid, or even lazy. It's just a loose connective tissue composed mostly of adipocytes (wikipedia knows what's up).
Therefor no, my answer is it should not be an insult. So don't let it be one.
have a fantastic week my loves!