Fat Ands Over Fat Buts

Picture courtesy of the fabulous Jodee Rose http://jodee.deviantart.com

Picture courtesy of the fabulous Jodee Rose http://jodee.deviantart.com

Someone shared a Facebook meme with me that said “I may be fat, but I’m fabulous!”  I’ve seen this in any number of iterations: I may be fat but I”m fit, or I may be fat, but I’m not lazy, even though I fat I’m still beautiful etc.

I’ve certainly done this myself in the past and while I’m not trying to tell anyone what to say or think, I do think that this may be worth looking at.

What I realized for me was that when I said  “I’m fat but…” or “even though I’m fat…”  I (however inadvertently) gave credence to stereotypes about fat people.  For example if I say that I’m fat but I’m a good dancer, there is a suggestion that the fact that I’m both fat and a good dancer is a surprise, or that I’m somehow overcoming my fat to be able to dance – which is not my actual experience.

I also felt that it made it sound like I was trying to make up for some kind of failing – like “I let myself get fat but I can still dance.” Worse, it can sound like I’m saying that “Unlike those other fat people…” which engages the “Good Fatty, Bad Fatty Dichotomy” which is complete bullshit and needs to die.

Working with stereotypes is tricky because whatever the stereotype is, and whoever the stereotype is about, there are going to be people who embody it and people who don’t within the stereotyped group. The problem is with the fact that we are stereotyped in the first place, not with whether or not we happen to embody a stereotype that has been created as a way to bully and stigmatize us.

There are many different ways to deal with stereotypes but one of the ways that I deal with them is to make the conscious effort to never speak about my fat body as if it’s a flaw, or speak about my accomplishments as if they are in spite of my fat body. Instead I tell the truth about my body in a way that acknowledges and honors the amazing body that I have. I’m fat and a good dancer, I’m fat and athletic, I’m fat and fabulous. I’m fat and, not fat but.

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Published in: on August 25, 2015 at 8:20 am  Comments (9)  

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Power, Peace, and the Porch Gym and commented:
    Another great post by Dances With Fat. I have been much happier since I stopped apologizing for my shape, though I could always work on this!

  2. I never thought of this this way! I will also pledge to replace the “buts” in my fat sentences with “ands.” Thank you.

  3. http://themindsui.com/but-considered-harmful/

  4. I’m fat and I’m a good scrapbooker!

  5. Ragen, this is awesome! It reminds me of my infamous But Rule that I write about in my book and blogs…”Once you use a BUT, it negates what was said before the but. If you want to read the specifics of the BUT rule here is a link…no ifs ands or buts! http://fiercefatties.com/2012/09/24/no-ifs-ands-or-buts/

  6. Right on!❤

  7. I’m sticking with “Fat butt? Fabulous!”

  8. I like it!

  9. Positive statements are almost always better than negative statements, even when they objectively mean the same thing. But is a negative word that has connotations and history that leads people to interpret the statement in a negative way, including the interpretation that everything that came before the word “but” is irrelevant and/or false.


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