[Image text: “‘Fat’ is an adjective, not an insult”]
^yes. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s a noun that people use as an adjective. Like that phrase “I’m not fat, I HAVE fat”
“Fat” is an adjective - not an insult.
Erm… Words used as insults generally ARE adjectives… and just about every other type of word. Like Nouns, etc o.O It’s all in how you USE the word that MAKES it an insult. I could make PUDDING an insult if I wanted to. Or Plates, or Pants, or Cookies.
I get what you’re saying, this was just a rather illogical way to put it that doesn’t make sense to me.
A lot of people seem to be getting lost on the logistics of this message, which is in part due to the vague way in which I presented it, but I like it that way.
So okay, let’s look at the definition of the word “adjective”:
To get to the quick, an adjective is a describing word.
An insult is not a describing word.
An adjective, along with the right tone, can be spewed at someone as an insult - just as the word “fat” is most often used as an insult (ie. “stupid” “lazy” “unhealthy”) rather than a word to describe one’s body or presence.
Through this statement, I had hoped to propose that we focus on what “fat” DESCRIBES and focus less on what it may or may not IMPLY. Strip away all the negative implications of the word and what are you left with? A word that simply describes.
Yes, of course it is also a noun, bodies HAVE fat, but that’s not the point.
A person should feel free to DESCRIBE and DEFINE themselves as a FAT PERSON without inadvertently “putting themselves down”.
Two questions from a fitness student:
In college, we are constantly reminded not to use the word “fat” when conversing with clients for fear of insulting/offending them. For example, instead of saying “this will measure how much fat you have”, we’re taught to say “this will measure your body composition”. This doesn’t sit well with me, especially because some of my fellow classmates are fatter than the stereotypical personal trainer.
- In a professional situation, how would you go about developing fat acceptance and the use of the word “fat” without offending clients?
- What do you think is the best way to let my professors know, without getting myself on their bad side, that teaching us this way reinforces fat-shaming?
Hi! Wow, really interesting questions.
Yes, some people are not okay with identifying themselves or their bodies or any part of them as “fat” and that has to be respected, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t suggest that it isn’t a bad word and encourage its usage in a way that is inoffensive.
It’s hard to say what I would do in your situation as I am often very awkward in speaking with people and articulating my thoughts in person - most of the time I feel as though I’m just flying by the seat of my pants.
But the long and short of it is, whenever it’s appropriate - I would just open up a dialogue about it. Have some talking points ready about why you support the usage of the word “fat” within a positive context and take it from there.
How is “fat” used within a positive context? By incorporating honest words like “beautiful” and “lovely” and “resilient” when you’re talking about it, because it’s all true and needs to be said. Removing that tone of voice we all know exists when people spit it as an insult, with disgust or exasperation, is also important. Speak of it matter-of-factly, reinforce its delivery with love and a smile. I am still working on this myself, so I’m afraid I do not have all the answers.
Really just try to bring home the fact that “fat” exists on all healthy bodies. There is no reason to be frightened of using it. And through using it more often, in a positive and/or practical context, perhaps we can begin to relieve the word of its negative baggage.
Have some resources at the ready, facts and articles to back up your claims/arguments, as I’m sure you will experience some form of (hopefully respectful) push-back from your professors/peers. I have a small collection of resources on fat acceptance and fat health here, if you feel so inclined to peruse them.
Keep in mind that trying to get some people to listen to you on this subject can be extremely difficult. Just try to keep in mind that not all minds have the capacity to be swayed. If it’s not sinking in, shrug it off and move on - there are plenty of other people who are willing to learn and open their minds up to new perspectives who deserve your attention.
Good on you for making an effort in opening up the floor for this type of discussion. I hope I was able to help in some way, and best of luck. Keep me updated on what happens!