COLUMN: It is time to stop policing fat bodies

Nova Uriostegui


Being fat is not a bad thing, and embracing the word “fat” has become the new wave of body positivity. The body positivity movement has been exclusive to only some bodies, excluding the fat bodies, and this defeats the purpose of the movement itself. But now overweight people are taking back the term “fat” and embracing their fat bodies, giving the body positivity movement we have known a run for its money.

Being fat has problems that should not be ignored. You have a higher risk of conditions that might not be risks if you were thin; however, everybody comes with unavoidable risks. Human life is not infinite, so why should only certain people be able to love the skin they are in while fat people must always live in shame with their own body? The shame becomes an internalized debate between whether or not they should love or hate themselves.

Embracing the word “fat” as a way of describing an overweight body is a liberating moment for many fat individuals, but a scary moment for people who are not fat. It allows a group of people who have been belittled with a term to now use it as a positive physical description rather than an insult.

When a fat person calls themselves fat and gorgeous, it feels better than someone else calling them fat just to be a bully, and it is the power behind embracing this word that gives a fat person confidence to be unapologetically fat and to love themselves, whether they are on a weight loss journey or not, which is the exact reason for the body positivity movement in the first place.

As a fat person, you already make others uncomfortable just by existing. Whether it is the way you walk or the way you look, there is something about the fat body that makes people uncomfortable, yet pair that with confidence, and people are sure to start policing fat bodies and telling them that you should not be proud of your size.

Most fat people do not condone being fat. There is a difference between promoting obesity and accepting your body as it is in the moment, and that seems to be something the current movement just does not understand, or if it does, does not address. Thin people can live unhealthy lifestyles just as much as fat individuals, but they do not go flaunting it if they are aware of how their life may be unhealthy. Both ends of the spectrum can be unhealthy and dangerous, yet the main focus is loving the skin you are in as it is right now.

It is okay to be fat, and the sooner we can realize that fat people are just like everyone else, the sooner the body positivity movement will become more inclusive. Being fat does not need to be a curse or a label that society stamps on your forehead. Embracing being fat and not limiting the word “fat” to be a negative term should be how the movement supports fat people. It should not police them.

Body positivity is not a movement that can just pick and choose what it supports. The movement was born from the restrictive nature of society’s beauty standards, yet in some ways it has become just as restrictive. Either everyone is allowed to love their own body for what it is, or no one is allowed to.