Please, Just Call Me Fat

Thin people correcting me when I call myself fat is just another form of marginalization

Your Fat Friend
Human Parts

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Photo: Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images

I am at the airport security checkpoint when I hear a small and tender seedling of a voice behind me. “Look at that fat lady!”

I turn around, meet the bright eyes of a three-year-old, and smile. Her mother’s face is stormy, voice sharp. “Don’t call her that.”

“It’s okay,” I offer. At 340 pounds, my size is undeniable. “She’s right. I am fat.”

“No, she’s not. That’s not nice.”

“Some people don’t like to be called fat, but I really don’t mind.” I look to the girl. “You’re right — I’m a fat lady,” I say, puffing up my cheeks.

The child smiles tentatively before her mother cuts in again, her angular voice coming out in jagged shards. “Don’t ever say that word. It’s a bad word, and I never want to hear you say it again, do you understand me?”

The child bursts into tears. Her mother, all sharp edges, shoots me a serrated glance. She is a knife and I am her steel.

“Now look what you’ve done.”

As a fat person, this has become a regular feature of my life: Trying to convince straight-size people — that is, people who don’t wear plus sizes — that I am not deeply…

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Your Fat Friend
Human Parts

Your Fat Friend writes about the social realities of living as a very fat person. www.yourfatfriend.com