Lovely article from Everyday Feminism (clicky-click below for fullness) about how we select the language we use to describe our looks to others. The words Fat, Curvy, BBW, and Plush are discussed here.
In my life, the word “fat” was the enemy. Bullies and jerks used it to make me feel small and make me feel bad for looking differently than the others. It was what I called myself when the back of my arm jiggled in a fond greeting, or how I saw myself when my friends got hit on in bars, at dances and I didn’t. It was the only difference between us (that I could discern then), and so it must have been the real reason.
Now, after long years of realizing I never wanted those boys and that I was being called fat for other reasons, I still couldn’t call myself that and feel confident. I used it in jest, and got the argument back from friends and family who all said, “Of course you’re not sweetie!” But as I came into my own fat acceptance and started calling myself that, people still argued against me, but I argued back.
“Yes, I am fat, and that is because I carry extra skin and flesh on my body than the average person.”
I would carry on, insisting that it wasn’t a judgement call against myself or my body. It was simply a statement of truth. My truth. And one of the words that I used to build confidence in my body was ‘Curvy.’ It’s my go-to word when I’m feeling sexy in a great outfit–I call it ‘Workin’ my curves.’ But I don’t call it that to anyone else, just to myself. It makes me feel good. And there isn’t a whole lot of that going on these days…
So, after I finished the article I started skimming the comments, as I invariably do–because I’m something of a sadist, and I look for trolls who have awful things to say–and I noticed that some men were posting responses to this article. Citing that ‘curvy’ isolates cis men and transgender men from the fat acceptance community.
Now, I never would have believed that fat men had any kind of issue–body image wise. This is ignorant and assumptive, certainly, but I never saw any fat guys being bullied in my high school. Plenty of my curvy sisters, certainly, but–looking back now–I can imagine that some of the bigger guys in my class may have been suffering in silence.
Men, I encourage you, look to the language, the community, to find your own identifying language. Granted, ‘curvy’ may not be up your alley; but what would you like to be called? Find the word that empowers you, and spread it around!