Fat or Curvy? Positive Body Image Movement Controversy

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Recently, I watched Pitch Perfect to gear up for the release of it’s sequel. I fell in love with Rebel Wilson’s character ‘Fat Amy’, a nickname she poignantly uses to introduce herself. I had the intention of writing a blog about Fat Amy’s character and what a curvy girl can take from the film, but what I ended up focusing on was the notion of ‘Fat Amy’ calling herself “fat”. It’s a word, you can say it.

There have been many blogs about reclaiming the word “fat”, taking a previously negative association and making it  your own. However, a recent disagreement via social media with an acquaintance made me see that even within our community of big women, we have very different views on reclaiming the word “fat”, and the terms we use to identify with.

Essentially, my acquaintance had posted an opinion about how the positive body image movement in a sense is a “masquerade” for those who are fat in a sad attempt to justify their poor health and lifestyle choices. Needless to say, I subsequently made a post myself that it’s sad to see women bring other women down. I continued with the firm affirmation that women can choose to identify with whichever term they want and feel best suits them.

Who gets to be the judge on which term a woman uses to identify herself? At what point are you ‘too fat’ to call yourself plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, etc? And, are we condoning obesity by using these terms?

Here’s my two cents on the subject. First, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we are not privy to an individual’s medical history, lifestyle choices, and the like. So, how can we appropriately measure a person’s health based on their body shape, weight, or even photographs? And, even if we have all this information at our disposal,what gives us the right to diminish the great strides a person is making by loving their body and accepting themselves no matter the term they use?

Thirty pounds ago, I started calling myself “curvy”. I didn’t use the word “fat” because there was just so much negative association with the term, and I was taking baby steps toward body acceptance. Now, I call myself “fat”. It’s a reality; it’s a word, and I have no fear using it. I reclaimed it because I saw other women reclaim the word for themselves.

But, I call myself many things: model, plus-size, sexy, curvy, diva, strong, and the  list goes on. The  point I am driving at is that the choice is an individual one, a person’s journey to body acceptance. And, I do not feel I am promoting obesity by using these terms. I’m a size 18, and I am fat and happy. I work out, but I also enjoy eating pizza. I make myself smoothies, but I also have drinks with friends.

I want to open up the dialogue to other women regarding the subject. What’s ‘too fat’? What terms do you use and why? What’s your opinion about the positive body image movement?

XOXO Chica Rosita

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8 thoughts on “Fat or Curvy? Positive Body Image Movement Controversy

  1. I’m really happy, and honestly surprised, about the body positive movement. It wasn’t something I expected to see happen. I’m so over people judging people (and sometimes being downright cruel) for being overweight. Like you said, no one knows anyone else’s health history. I would love to see everyone mind their own business about other people’s bodies. I use ‘plus-size’ when I’m talking about clothes and ‘curvy’ ‘voluptuous’ and ‘overweight’ when talking about my body. I don’t like the word ‘fat’ because of the negative connotations behind it, but I’d like to see it reclaimed without the negativity.

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    1. Thank you for your input Melissa. I agree with you. These terms are personal choices for self-identification. And, yes I am over cruel judgments by people. We all have the right to an opinion, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to be mean or cruel.

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  2. I’m a plus size woman and i call myself fat. Hearing the word use to make me cringe but about a year ago, i accepted it. Anyone should be allowed to use what terms they would like that helps them love who they are and their body even more. As you stated, what gives us the right to diminish the strides one takes to self love. I don’t believe it is condoning obesity really, it’s reality. Some of us are plus size, curvy and so on, those are the terms to represent our bodies. That’s just my opinion.

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    1. I agree with you Myraray about how the word “fat” just has so much negative association with it. I didn’t start using it until recently. And, yes words can damage even the most spirited soul making great strides toward body acceptance. I forgot to mention that the person that made this comment was a big girl like me. How do you feel about that? Do you think it makes a difference if it comes from a slender woman or plus-size girl?

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      1. I personally feel that the person who made that blog may have some trouble really accepting their size. There are plenty of slender woman who are very understanding when it comes to this topic. I have slender friends myself who encourage the words plus size, curvy and so on because they do not like the word fat because of the negative influence it is associated with. Of course there are those who are not understanding about it all but those are the women who bring other women down. Those types of women who do that most likely have a problem with themselves. For a plus size woman herself to say that calling yourself plus size and curvy condones obesity does not make much sense to me. That is like if a slender woman were to say calling yourself slender and thin condones anorexia. That makes me wonder how does she consider herself.

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  3. I feel that body acceptance is about accepting ourselves and others without the judgment. As a society we love to tear each other down. You are so right in that we don’t know what others are going through. I wish we didn’t use labels like that to identify people. It is a way of putting someone in a box and distancing ourselves from them. I applaud you on this blog.

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    1. Thanks AJ for your support and input. I think it’s okay to have opposing views, but I guess what outraged me so much was the ridicule, insults, and hate aimed at fat people by this person. It’s okay to have an opinion, we all do, but I don’t think it’s okay to be cruel about it. I recently watched Ashley Graham’s Ted Talk, and I love Ashley Graham, but I have to admit that there was a part of me that felt differently when she talked about the term “plus-size”. Have you seen it? Let me know what you think. https://youtu.be/xAgawjzimjc

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