Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm A Fatty - Some thoughts on the issue:

I've been doing a lot of thinking today about Fattygate and how it affects the FA/SA community. I've come to the conclusion that, while discussion and disagreement can be a tool for growth and learning, this whole kerfluffle seems to be on the edge of being a divisive force that isn't going to promote anything, let alone growth and learning, or tolerance.
I think I've made my position clear on how I feel about the word in question, with my comment:
For me, personally, whether “fatty” is offensive or not depends on the context – who is using the term, how they’re using the term, why they’re using it that way, etc. What offends me the most about that term? The fact that people use it as an epithet, as an insult, to hurt people. And that offends me about every word that can be used to insult/hurt anyone.
Yes, I’m fat, so I could be called a “fatty”. Big fucking deal. Anyone who would use that term to hurt me is someone that I could give a shit if they live or die. Because the people who know me and love me wouldn’t use that term for me, and everyone else? Can eat shit and bark at the moon for all I care.
I’ve reclaimed a lot of the words that fat people find offensive simply because I’m a perverse bitch who loves the look of confusion and shock on someone’s face when I use those terms to refer to myself. It’s like they’re thinking “WTF?! She’s dissing herself, that’s our job to dis her, she can’t do that!” My take on it is that if you think you’re going to insult me by calling me a fatty, calling me a fat ass, calling me a bitch, calling me a whale, or whatever insult you can come up with that means I’m fat and opinionated, guess again. It ain’t happening. If I don’t know you and you’re rude enough to try that shit with me, you’re going to get called on it and then I’m going to walk away from you like you don’t even exist. Because I don’t know you, don’t want to know you, and don’t give a rat’s ass about what you think of anything. And it’s not my job to educate you on manners, your parents should have done that when you were a child.
I’ve probably used the term “fatties” in a blog post or two (or however many) because it’s a shorthand way of saying fat people. I’m not trying to offend anyone, but when I’m blogging, collectively calling fat people “fatties” isn’t meant to hurt anyone, it’s meant as a way of collectively referring to fat people without having to use the awkwardness of typing fat people numerous times. I’m using it, not to say that being fat is bad, but to say that “Yes, we’re fat, we’re here, get used to it, and learn to deal with it. We’re not going away, and we’re going to be more and more in your face demanding the rights you don’t think we deserve.”

For me, it depends on the context with which "fatty" is used, ie Fierce Freethinking Fatties is a title that I see as being a sarcastic comment on how those who hate fat people don't see us as fierce in any way, or that we're fully capable of debating anything intelligently. But for someone I don't know or someone who isn't part of the FA/SA movement to call me a "fattie/fatty", well, they have no right at all to do so. Just like those who think it's cute to call me Mare (I'm not a fucking horse, thank you very much) or Mary - excuse me, that's not my name and if you can't call me by my name, I refuse to talk to you/pay attention to you. Oh, and if you can't figure out how to pronounce my name from its spelling, you can ask, there's no shame in asking how to pronounce an unusual spelling (I've been called everything from Marlene to Marrilen to Marilyn because people can't figure out that Mariellen is pronounced MaryEllen).

Just as some added perspective on this issue of reclaiming derogatory terms for marginalized groups of people (and I realize not everyone feels this way), a lot of people in the LGBTQ community have reclaimed the word "queer" as their own, even though it's been used as an insult for a very long time ( I think the quote I saw was "We're here, we're queer, get used to it" or something similar).
Personally, I could care less what terms people use to define me because how *they* define me doesn't matter a rat's ass. What matters is how *I* define myself - I've said I'm fat, and I've used the term DEATHFATZ many times to describe my size simply because I've been hearing for the last 35 years of my life that my fat is going to kill me - you know, death walking, looking for a place to happen (thus the DEATHFATZ terminology). I don't know who coined the term originally, but I've claimed it as mine because I like the shock value it has for *normies* - you know, those people who aren't fat and are supposed to be the ideal we're striving to attain all our lives. And I've claimed several derogatory words used as insults against fat people simply because of the shock thinner people express when I use them to describe myself (it's okay for them to use those words about me but I'm not supposed to use them about myself? Give me a fucking break, assholes).

Is it really going to matter 6 days from now, 6 weeks from now, 6 months from now, 6 years from now that certain people don't agree over the usage of a word? Fine, one person doesn't like that word applied to her and thinks it's not good to apply it to all people that it could describe. Those are her feelings and she's entitled to them, as is the person who thinks the word has been/could be an insult but could also be reclaimed so it's no longer an insult, and uses that word to describe people as a group. This has escalated beyond a conversation about a word, its meaning, and its usage. It's degenerated into name-calling, fighting, and passive-aggressive bullshit.
How in the hell are we supposed to get respect from the rest of society when we can't even show each other any respect? If I got my knickers in a knot every time someone called me out over something I said or the fact that I didn't wholeheartedly agree with them, I would have very few friends (and no family at all, let alone a husband). One of the things I happen to like about the internet is that I'm so wordy that it takes me a while to type a comment and that gives me the time to think about what I'm saying, why I'm saying it, and am I taking it too personally? I don't know how many times I've gone to type a comment on a topic and ended up deleting it because when I read it over (to check for typos, to see if I've said everything I wanted to say in exactly the way I wanted to say it), I sounded like an asshole (yes, I use the Asshole Rule from Fierce Freethinking Fatties to rate my comments, and if I look at my comment like someone else wrote it and it sounds asshole-ish, why then it is an asshole comment and I delete it). That's why you'll see that I've "liked" a lot of posts on Facebook, but I haven't commented on them (I haven't figured out how to comment without sounding like an asshole, and if I can't contribute something constructive, I'd rather keep my mouth shut).
My main problem is that I really don't understand people and why they do the things they do. I never have, and I've been a tactless fool for most of my life - it took me years to figure out that when someone told me I looked nice, I shouldn't say "I should, I slept with curlers in my hair last night and it took me an hour to do my make-up and another hour to decide what outfit to wear." And yes, I have made comments like that when I was complimented on my appearance. It took me years to figure out how to interact with people and not piss them off right away. And I've never gotten over the fact that I just generally don't like most people, don't want to be around them, don't want to talk to them, don't want to deal with their bullshit.
Back 17 years ago, when Pat was still alive, I didn't have a job, I lived alone in an apartment, and she was the only close friend I had. I had acquaintances, people I knew, but we didn't go out shopping together, or have dinner out together, or just get together at one another's homes. We saw each other in passing and I liked it that way. The only time I left my apartment was if I needed to get groceries or pay bills, unless Pat called me and said "Let's go somewhere and do something." or "Come on over, we'll play video games and watch MTV." If it hadn't been for Pat, I would have been a hermit and been completely happy. I had my books, cable TV, my crafts (counted cross stitch, soft-sculpture dolls that I made), my sewing, crossword puzzles to work, and the ironing and mending I did for other people for spending money. I didn't need anyone to make my life complete, as far as I was concerned, my life was complete and I was happy with it that way (can we say semi-hermit?).
I have a few friends on Facebook, most of whom I've never met in real life. While we seem to connect online, I sometimes wonder how well we'd get along in the meat world if we ever managed to meet. I've had a few people un-friend me on Facebook and I have no idea why - one of the many drawbacks to Facebook is the fact that you can un-friend someone with no explanation. I mean, I know why my sister-in-law un-friended me - I told her to "eat shit and bark at the moon" and "fuck you". I know why my niece un-friended me - she worshiped the ground my mother walked on and I thought my mother was an abusive bitch and blogged about it (heaven forbid I should talk about any of that and tarnish her sainted grandmother's image .... roflmao).
All of this is to say that I really don't understand why people get their knickers in a knot over things that aren't really all that important in the grand scheme of things. I mean, really, how much damage is it going to do to anyone if some of us in FA/SA refer to ourselves and fat people as a group as "fatties"? If we really want the rights we deserve, we need to keep fighting to take the stigma away from those words that people hurl at us as insults, especially when they aren't offensive in any other situation. If you look at the meaning of "fatty", this is what I found in the online dictionary:

fat·ti·er, fat·ti·est

Containing or composed of fat: fatty food; fatty deposits.
Characteristic of fat; greasy.
Derived from or chemically related to fat.

Informal pl. fat·ties

A fat person.

So yeah, I'm a fatty and anyone who doesn't like it can lump it.


  1. First I've heard of a "fatty" thing. Not sure I care ;)

  2. It doesn't bother me either, and as I said in Shannon's post at FFF, I'm tired of bloggers and supporters of FA who get offended at every little thing and expect everyone else to walk on eggshells for them. It's why I quit posting at several major sites because I felt we couldn't have real open discussions because certain people expected such a ridiculous level of PC-ness.

  3. lifeonfats - That's exactly it! And all the infighting about terminology just divides us when we should be showing a united front to the haters. How on earth are we going to get the respect we demand and deserve from the haters when we can't even extend it to all the members of our movement? Getting offended by the insulting words thrown at us says way more about us and how much we accept and love ourselves than it does about those throwing the insulting words our way. To me, it says that if I'm offended by those insulting words, then I must think somewhere deep down inside that I deserve to be insulted and those words are true in all their awful, insulting connotations. What actually offends me the most is that people really think I, as an adult, am going to be hurt by their insults. While those insults hurt me when I was a child, and when I was teenager/young adult, I'm old enough now, at 59, to know that, while words have power, they only have power over me if I let them have that power. Not happening, not anymore. So fuck the haters and fuck their insults - neither of them have any power to hurt me anymore.

  4. Yeah, I have to confess that I'm not a huge fan of the term, but it doesn't bother me much when it's used in an FA context, and I wouldn't get my panties all up in a bunch about it.


Comment moderation is enabled. If you're a troll and trying to slander someone or just being generally an asshat, your comment probably won't see the light of day. If you want to have a reasonable, civil discussion, welcome, and feel free to comment.
To the troll at IP: ,, your comments will not be published, nor will they be read. They will be automatically deleted. Get a life, sad sack.