A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog here on Psychology Today - Are Fat Women Sexual Targets? Exposing the Practice of "Hogging". This blog struck countless chords in my readers and the comments came fast and furious. Many of my readers skipped right over the true content of my post (it was about the cruel practice of some men to target and prey on fat women for casual sex) and instead, focused on my use of the word "FAT" which they felt to be cruel and over used. The back and forth that followed in the comment section of that blog was incredibly insightful and sometimes alarming — take a peek into how some people perceive being fat, fat women, sexuality and the inclination of men who either find fat women sexy or use them for kicks.
I just left a week long retreat at what many people, including the other guests, would call a "Fat Farm". I went as a part of my year long project for my own rejuvenation which I have named "Project ReCharge". The fat farm, better known as Hilton Head Health is located on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and attracts fat people from all over the United States and around the world.
At dinner I sat with different people including a military power couple (a Brigadier General and a Rear Admiral) as well as single women and men of every sexual orientation, political stripe, marital status, religious background and cultural identity. Some were there as "presents" from family and friends—others were there because they were making a life transition. Still others were at Hilton Head Health because they simply wanted a vacation where they could lose weight and improve their fitness level. Weight loss goals ranged from ten pounds to over a 100 pounds. We were a fruit salad of diversity with one thing in common—fat.
I shared with newfound friends the story of my blog and asked them what they liked to be called. Are they "overweight"? To which some piped up "Over what?"
"Well, what about 'chubby', 'plump', 'husky', 'plus size' or 'portly'"? I pressed on.
My fellow fatties just started to roll their eyes and laugh. My favorite remark came from a man working on losing about 70 pounds. "We are fat. That's okay. We are here to own that, learn to take charge of our bodies and our health. If I couldn't admit to being fat, I couldn't do the work that I need to do here. I am not hiding my size behind the word "portly". Fat is not a dirty or insulting word. It is what I am right now. I am a fat man in transition to being a less fat man!"
I stood up and gave my fellow camper a hug. When did fat become such a dirty word that the use of the word "fat" was more alarming to some of my readers than the practice of "hogging"?
How did it happen that one of my readers wanted studies to prove to him that fat people could be found sexy and attractive just as they were! Or that another reader comented that fat women simply had more sex than anyone else because they lacked self control? When did fat become the "F" bomb and fat people the target of false assumptions and so many awful projections?
For a fabulous inside look into fat prejudice and its impact, check out this wonderful young woman's video about being fat.
I was not at Hilton Head Health because I dislike being a fat woman. I love my body right now, and one of my missions in life is to support other people to find happiness right now — no matter what their size. Sure, I had the same struggles as everybody else. I even wrote a book which talked about some of these very issues. I had to get past my own self loathing and heal my issues with my body, just like so many others. What I found out is that using fat as an excuse for not finding happiness is just an excuse. Again, I know this, because I live it, and I coach hundreds of clients on how to move through their "fat excuse" in their search for happiness.
But it is because I love my body that it became time to lose 6% of my body weight as prescribed by my doctors for a speciic health issue. By the way — the health issue I have affects thin people too. But in my case, my doctors believe I will feel better and my symptms will abate when I have lost some weight. My fatness has nothing to do with my self control, my sexual desires, or my apparent sex appeal. My fat is just a part of who I am right now, no more or less emotionally loaded for me than the color of my hair or perhaps my age.
My fat self is not happier than my thin self - it is always me!
Fat is just a word. I drop it like a pebble into the water. But it is so interesting the ripples that it causes. So are you fat? Does the word "fat" offend you? And if it does, would you mind sharing why? I would love to hear your comments about dropping the "F" bomb. Do you do it?