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to think the word fat isn't offensive?

(26 Posts)
Royroy Wed 18-Jan-17 14:44:52

People are getting very upset by terms such as fat or fattist.

Surely fat isn't any different to the word overweight?

Is it OK to use the word fat if the fat person themselves uses it?

HecateAntaia Wed 18-Jan-17 14:48:00

I dont think it's the word itself though is it?
Im fat. It's an accurate description.
In itself not imo offensive.
But it often comes loaded with judgement and negative assumptions and unfair treatment.
So it's not the word but the attitude or context that can be offensive imo.

Soubriquet Wed 18-Jan-17 14:48:28

Well it's not a very nice thing to say is it?

And if someone is offended by being called fat then yes it's an offensive word

PeanutJuice Wed 18-Jan-17 14:53:30

I think it is offensive as it is reducing the individual to one component of themselves. Yes they may have "fat" on their bodies, extra fat at that but they themselves are not solely "fat"
When a loved one says to me "I am fat" I think, you may have extra unwanted fat on your body, but you are not just made up of fat..
I'm struggling to articulate it exactly..

xStefx Wed 18-Jan-17 14:55:05

I get called skinny, anorexic etc .... Because im underweight. The word skinny isn't particularly nasty but its usually with a nasty judgmental look. I wouldn't call someone fat

Soubriquet Wed 18-Jan-17 14:57:10

With you there steff

I'm the butt of every joke

"Oh sou you have some cotton having from the dress. Oh no wait it's just your legs"

Ha ha fucking ha

witsender Wed 18-Jan-17 14:58:10

It depends on the intention tbh. As a size 18 at the moment I carry a lot of fat, so technically the term doesn't bother me...I'm still happy with myself.

CripsSandwiches Wed 18-Jan-17 15:00:13

I'm with HecateAntaia. I've always been on the slim end of healthy weight but I'm constantly horrified at what overweight friends have to put up with. usually the word fat is accompanied by judgement. Why not just use the word overweight if you're unsure how to refer to it.

ShotsFired Wed 18-Jan-17 15:00:35

I use it about myself. I am fat.

I don't particularly like it, but not saying it won't make it any less true.

I am more hmm about the stupid coy alternatives - buxom, curvy (especially curvy, I hate it!), sturdy, larger, fuller-figured etc.

So "fat" is the least bad option for me.

Manumission Wed 18-Jan-17 15:01:24

Not this again.

The word is less important than the attitudes surely!

wanderings Wed 18-Jan-17 15:01:56

Here's an example. Remember that radio advert which went like this:

(Man yelling into a mobile, during a wedding) "hello!!!! What?!!! I'm in Glasgow!! Cousin's wedding!!!! No, the fat one!!!!"

"Fat" seeming to be cousin's distinguishing feature. That's an example where it's not so good.

CanarySong Wed 18-Jan-17 15:04:12

It's not the word itself, it's the sneer behind the word.

I get called "skinny" or "thin" and sometimes it's clearly said with an audible sneer (if such a thing is possible grin).

FlyingElbows Wed 18-Jan-17 15:04:45

It's not the word it's the intention behind it. "Gay" is a word, "Ginger" is a word, "specs" is a word but if I call you a fat, gay, ginger speccy four eyes then that's insult bingo!

NickyEds Wed 18-Jan-17 15:08:55

YABU, it's almost always, in my experience, said in a pejorative way. I think if there was someone with two family members of identical size, only the one they didn't like would ever be called fat.

Bluntness100 Wed 18-Jan-17 15:08:59

>>"Fat" seeming to be cousin's distinguishing feature. That's an example where it's not so good.<<

But it's ok to say the blonde one, or the tall one, or the thin one? Often someone is identified by one characteristic.

However no I don't like the term, I feel it's too loaded and impolite. So I say overweight or large if I need to reference it.

I think people struggle with this, I asked someone the other day what someone else was like as I couldn't work out if I'd met her and he said, "well she's early fifties, brunette, short and ehrm,,,well, rather wide..." . Is it wrong to reference her weight , but her hair colour and height is fine, or is none of it ok?

I genuinely don't know any more so try not to mention it. It's a bloody political minefield. 🙄

unlucky83 Wed 18-Jan-17 15:21:54

I'm fat and I don't think there is anything wrong with using the word. We use the word tall and thin and short to describe ourselves and others - so why not fat?
I saw a documentary a few years ago about a clinic for (morbidly) obese children.
One of the consultants used the word fat and apparently had had several complaints from parents brought against her for using it.
But she said she found often the parents were in denial about how big their DCs actually were and how serious it was. Up to that point everyone dealing with them had been using gentler terms -or even clinically accurate terms- but she said telling them their child was fat was one of the best ways of getting through to them - it upset them, they didn't like it but that was partly because they couldn't pretend to themselves any more ...
And it did actually seem to work - mostly success stories but there was one parent even that didn't really get through to ...their child ate nothing but junk - biscuits, crips, sweets and fizzy juice. Filled up on junk then refused meals (which were actually not too bad health wise). They stopped most of the junk, the child was eating proper meals and losing weight...all good. But when they went back 6 months later, the child was back on the junk, weight rising again - the mother said she couldn't bear making her child sad by not giving her the food she liked and she was refusing to go back to the clinic sad. I do wonder what happened in the end...if someone managed to help that child (and the mum) ...
(The whole program was quite shocking in places (and I don't think it was on Channel 5 wink )

DebbieDownersGiveItARest Wed 18-Jan-17 15:35:12

I am fat too and also cant see any issue with it. I have a very realistic view of how over weight I am and I cant hide it or deny it and nor do I want too - its simply fact.

TheNaze73 Wed 18-Jan-17 15:38:06

It's all going to be down to interpretation & the spirit it is intended.

Can't see there being a definitive right or wrong

ailPartout Wed 18-Jan-17 15:50:34

I think it's similar in many ways to the n word.

Everyone will know what you mean.

It will make most people who hear it feel uncomfortable.

It can be or has been reclaimed by the group it describes. Their use of the word is much more debatable and nuanced.

It is needlessly mean and unkind given its many negative connotations and the fact there are politer alternatives.

10stonestolose Wed 18-Jan-17 15:51:13

I'm fat, but I also have many much nicer tangible and not so tangible features, so I'd be pretty offended if that was the only word someone could think of to describe me. I'd prefer 'the gorgeous one with the long dark hair' obv!

SadTrombone Wed 18-Jan-17 16:14:40

Depends. I wouldn't use it about someone else (in case they dont feel the same way about the word as me) but I use it about myself.

What pisses me off no end is when I mention it in passing as part of an anecdote or whatever and someone interrupts me with:

"You're not fat!" Or,even worse, "You're not fat - you're gorgeous!!"

A) Yes I am - not only by my own standard but by any standard going - getting on a plane recently and not needing a seat belt extension was a fist-pump worthy moment.

and

B) Fat and gorgeous are not mutually exclusive! I scrub up well thanks very much!

It's just an adjective!

Persemillion Wed 18-Jan-17 17:41:12

I'm with ShotsFired.

There is nothing inherently stereotypical about the words fat and skinny, but the alternative words sound quite condescending essentially saying the same thing.

itsmine Wed 18-Jan-17 17:48:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarterUSM Wed 18-Jan-17 18:01:09

As others have said the word itself isn't offensive and can be an accurate adjective but the context and tone it is said in is key.

At a friend's party recently her daughter called out 'fattie' followed by 'you're a fattie' when I hugged her goodbye. To me that was as an insult and therefore offensive. Particularly as neither mum nor child saw the need to apologise.

Sugarlightly Wed 18-Jan-17 18:19:26

I'm fat and will refer to myself as such, but find it difficult to think of a situation where I would be comfortable with someone else calling me it to my face.

If you're trying to say that the word fat shouldn't upset someone, you are wrong. I've never heard "fat" used in a positive sense when talking to someone else.

If you're saying that the word "fat" itself isn't offensive then yeah obviously; In the same way that "fuck, shit, cunt" are words and not offensive.

The word fat is intrinsically offensive because it's always seen as a negative characteristic. I think that skinny doesn't have the same culturally negative connotations, but can be used in an offensive way.

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