I Write Letters

To Whom It May Concern Among the Thin Women of the English-Speaking World:

Please stop saying you have "Fat Days," and/or days where you "feel fat."

Understand that I'm not asking you to deny or not talk about your experiences of feeling bloated with water retention, or feeling frustrated because you've gained just enough weight that your clothes don't fit right, or feeling unattractive, or feeling angry that trying on clothes in a poorly-lit dressing room in front of an unforgiving mirror can challenge the self-esteem of even the most body-positive among us.

I'm just asking you not to use "fat" as an adjective to describe these feelings.

"Fat" isn't a feeling. But if it were, it might feel like unadulterated joy (which is how I feel in and about my fat body some days). Or it might feel like the grim misery of carrying across your shoulders a sandwich board begging people to treat you like you're a stupid, slack-jawed, immoral, self-loathing wreck with no concern for your own well-being (which is how I frequently get treated because of my fat body). Or it might feel like the exhilarating surge of fucktheworldery that the radical act of being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy can be (which is awesome) in the face of mooing passers-by or tsking shamers who fancy themselves arbiters of what fat people should eat in public. Or it might feel like all of these things, all at once, all the time. Or other things, for other fat people.

But it wouldn't feel like a thin person having a bad day.

And when you use "I'm feeling fat" to convey that you're feeling unattractive—or unfit, or depressed, or slovenly, or unlovable, or generally not your authentic self in some way or other—you're implicitly saying a rather lot of nasty things about fat women. Which is unattractive in a way having nothing to do with what one looks like on her outside.

I'd really just be ever so appreciative if you could resist appropriating a neutral description of my constant body to use as a negative descriptor of your fleeting emotional state.



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