If you’re on Facebook you may be aware of an update option where you choose “Feeling…” and then one of the pre-filled answers that include a little drawing to match your current feelings. A member of the Fit Fatties Forum noticed that one of the options is “Feeling Fat”
While I’m happy that the face is smiling, this is irritating to me because fat is not a feeling. It’s true that people have different definitions of what is being fat, and some people take the attitude that people aren’t fat, they have fat (I’ve already discussed my feelings about why that is problematic). We can definitely discuss these things but what should be clear is that fat is a descriptor of appearance, and not a feeling. “Hmm, do I feel happy, frustrated, or fat today?” does not make sense.
Generally when we use physical descriptors to describe how we feel, it ends up being derogatory and based on stereotypes (“I’m feeling blond” to describe something doing something ditzy, “I’m feeling fat” because someone hit the buffet or skipped their workout or whatever.) Usually when people say that they feel fat, they are basing it on stereotypes about fat people – like that ridiculous “fattest thing I’ve ever done“ meme that went around a while ago.
I will admit that I sometimes get annoyed when a size 2 friend complains that she has to get out her (size 4) “fat jeans” because she’s bloated or whatever. It’s not that I don’t want her to feel her feelings, it’s that I know that all of my jeans are “fat jeans” and that the difference is that if an airline loses her luggage she can find “fat jeans” in her size at almost any women’s clothing store and I’ve been in huge malls where there wasn’t a single pair of jeans in my size. It matters because suggesting that one can “feel fat” at any size gets in the way of those of us who are trying to fight fatphobia and reclaim fat as a physical descriptor without a heaping helping of stereotypes and stigma along with it.
Thin women who “feel” fat are allowed to feel that way, and to talk about that if they want, but I would ask – is it necessary? What are you hoping to gain? Are you hoping to hear “You’re not fat“? Knowing that it adds to the crushing weight of oppression, stigma, and bullying that fat people deal with in our society, how important is it, really, for you to call them your fat jeans?
And why does Facebook feel the need to help out with this? I checked and there are NOT options on facebook for feeling short, tall, blonde, brunette, or thin. Just fat. And you know how that leaves me?
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