The F Word

Gabourey SidibeGabourey Sidibe

One of the most hurtful things you can call a young woman is fat. I don’t know if this happens to everyone but I certainly can recall every occasion that word was used against me. Whether in a spat with a friend, maybe from a douchebag yelling out his car window or maybe a magazine just insinuated that you need to lose weight, it is a powerful word. It can affect a girl’s whole outlook and can be something she will worry about all her teenage years.

I remember being 11 years old and all my friends were lean young things while I still carried around a little bit of tummy blub. It was never mentioned by anyone that I was the ‘fat friend’ and I wasn’t really all that big but I was constantly aware that I was not the same shape. I knew that people didn’t care, I knew that my friends liked me because I was hilarious and a bit kooky and I still had my share of schoolyard admirers. But ever since a nanny pointed out to me (she didn’t mean any harm) that I was putting on a bit of weight at about 7 years old I was always self conscious about it.

I’m older now and puberty helped me out a bit with the whole body shape thing, I believe I am an attractive human being. One thing that I have some to realise is that I will never be model-like, I will never have those thigh gaps going on and I will never be able to wear a large t-shirt as a dress. And I am good with this. I guess I have come to terms with my fatness.

There are bad days though. The ‘why can’t I fit into these jeans anymore?’ days, ‘when did I become a size L’ days, and some ‘look at your stomach, it’s disgusting you fat piece of lard’ days. I guess it’s something I have to actively work hard to not worry about.

My grandma is Chinese so her view is that I’m healthy. My brother (and all the other grandchildren) are graced with lean figures and she will always be trying to fatten them up. This has lead to me getting an affectionate nickname that when translated means ‘fat girl’. Which, when I think about it is the reason why I am no longer offended by the word.

So I want to take back the word fat. I am claiming this for everyone who is not catwalk-thin. I want to be able to say “I look fat in this photo” without responses like “Oh no you don’t, you look great” because the two are not mutually exclusive. I want people to acknowledge my weight and appreciate it for what it is. I want to own being fat. Fat is no longer an insult. Fat is an observation and any negative connotations it has are all in your own head.

When I say “I think I’m fat” you don’t need to console me. I’m not fishing for compliments and it is not meant to be self deprecating. I’m just telling you how I’m feeling.

So for all you out there who have been called fat. Don’t let it affect you. All it really shows is that your insulter thinks you value that above all else. But there is so much more to you, isn’t there? ▼

2 thoughts on “The F Word

  1. ipad

    You can certainly see your expertise within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  2. Georgia

    Maddy, this magazine is so excellent – I wish it had existed when we were growing up. Congratulations ! That word doesn’t even encompass the applause you and your colleagues deserve. PS. You are one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out, and have been since we met.

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