My knowledge of my body comes from years of experience living as a Plus Size Woman. Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life. I am aware of my size. Whether it is from the crash of my hips in between rows of desks in school to distant relatives telling me how pretty I could be if only I “lost the weight.” In public, I endure piercing stares if I am eating a meal that is not a salad; their eyes like daggers in my back. God Forbid, I order a carb loaded pasta dish or a milkshake. I would refuse to order dessert, as I wanted to prove to those watching: “See? I know I am big, and undeserving of the ice cream sundae.” Satisfying a constant imaginary judgemental audience, though at times… it was not imaginary.
By the time I was six years old, I was already familiar with the term obese. By the time I was ten years old, I was spat on and called a fat cow who jiggles. By the time I was eleven years old, I was counting my calories and logging my school meals. By the time I was sixteen, I had covered all the mirrors in my room with sheets; I could not stand the sight of my rolls or my rounded cheeks. I am in awe of those unaware of the fatphobia prevalent in our society and media. In all my friend groups, I was always the biggest. School bullies would pull pranks: cornering me and pretending to ask me out, laughing in my face, telling me that I was too fat to be loved.
Instead of questioning why society saw my body as a disturbance, I internalized the hatred and criticism. I felt like I deserved it. This was my punishment for being fat. Anytime I would try to open a dialogue on how I felt due to my weight, the immediate answer was: it’s simple, lose the weight. The conversation ended there, as if all my emotions were mollified. I would feel angry, but reluctantly agree. It was so simple, why did I not think of that?
The fat cow who jiggles has a lot to say. Instead of being ignored and told to diet, repeating my cycles of self-abuse, I needed an ally. I needed someone to reaffirm my emotions and tell me there was more to life than weight loss. Ever since I was a child, I was waiting for the “skinny girl” to come out, so that I could start my real life. I felt that I could never allow myself to be truly happy while fat. I have placed my life on hold for too long and I refuse to restrain myself any longer. Words are powerful, trust me I know, but also they provide a knowledgeable tool so we can change how the next generation improves and creates a healthier body positive and body confident life.
Attached below I will be including a living dictionary. I will continuously add terms and ideas that are all too familiar to you or your fat friends. Use this to continue and aid in that dialogue with your plus size friends. Use this to aid in your conversations with uninformed folx.
B.M.I. : This stands for Body Mass Index and is the value of weight in comparison to your height. This is a system of racism that deserves a blog post of it’s own so I will not go into it now. Check out this article on the Scientific American by associate professor of sociology at U.C. Irvine, Sabrina Strings, on “The Racist Roots of Fighting Obesity.”
*Body Confident: The way you feel about your own body and how you look
Body Dysmorphia: According to Mayo Clinic, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.”
*Body Positive: According to VeryWellMind, “Body positivity refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.”
Diet Culture: A set of ideals or beliefs that value thinness as desirable, healthy, and morally virtuous
Fatphobia: According to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, “Fatphobia is the fear and dislike of fat people and the stigmatization of individuals with bigger bodies. As with any system designed to exclude, shame or oppress people on the basis of shared characteristics or identities, it can be easy to assume that something like fatphobia only exists on an individual level.”
F.U.P.A.: Fat Upper Pubic Area
Obesity Epidemic: Declared as an Epidemic by the World Health Organization in 1997, the Obesity Epidemic refers to the increasing number of adults considered obese
Sizeism: According to Merriam Webster, “discrimination or prejudice directed against people because of their size and especially because of their weight.”
Yo-Yo Dieting: A system of dieting where there is a pattern of weight being lost and regained repeatedly , leading to long-term negative health effects. Click here for more information on Yo-Yo Dieting.
*everyone has their own definition, so take my opinion with a grain of salt