The F-Word

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Artwork by me (on the iPad’s Paper app – pretty nifty!)

In my inaugural post, The Hardest Post (and it really was the hardest post – I struggled for a week after not to delete the whole blog and have us all carry on like it hadn’t happened), I use a word I rarely use. A word that has become demonized to such an extent that I once heard Sarah Jessica Parker confide to Oprah that she taught her children to say “round” rather than use it. The word? Fat.

Seems silly, doesn’t it?

The truth, though, is that I get it. I hated the word for a long time myself, and even now I have a sort of stilted relationship with it. I’ll even admit after seeing that interview I went through a period of telling my kids that people weren’t fat, they were just round. (Gahhhh!)

But really, “fat” in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. You can, as I am, be “fat” to a degree and still be healthy; after all, I’ve never been my ideal weight – you know, that weight that haunts you every time you go to the doctor’s office and they show you the chart that shows how much you should weigh based on your height – I hate that chart. But my overall health is good – blood pressure’s normal, cholesterol is within normal levels. In any case, you can be fat and exercise and mostly eat okay and still be healthy.

So I’ve come to (mostly) accept that “fat” doesn’t have to be an epithet. Maybe this is why I was horrified to read Rex Reed’s comments about Melissa McCarthy – the sunny actress who played one of my favorite characters on Gilmore Girls, Lorelei Gilmore’s best friend Sookie – every one of which was a pejorative directly referring to McCarthy’s weight. If you’ve somehow missed the controversy, I’ll sum it up for you: in a review of McCarthy’s and Jason Bateman’s new comedy Identity Thief, Reed refers to McCarthy as “tractor-sized”, “humongous”, a “female hippo”, and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” Yes, really. In contrast, Bateman, McCarthy’s dashing costar is described as “charming, talented, attractive and versatile.”

I find it interesting that while both Bateman and McCarthy were starring in the same “dreck” of a movie – Reed seems to think trashing McCarthy for her role in it by calling her every weight-related insult in the book is acceptable punishment, while Bateman is praised and flattered. It’s almost as if Reed would have us all believe McCarthy used her “tractor-sized” body to literally push Bateman through the film utterly devoid of any ability to exercise his own free will.

What’s my point? It’s still a little cloudy, but one glaring through that fog is this – it’s unacceptable to insult someone based on their size, and honestly, I think insulting someone because of their weight is possibly as insensitive as it gets. Very rarely will you talk to someone who is overweight and hear them say, “This is exactly who I want to be.” Even if we’re comfortable in our own skin, feeling beautiful at any size, most of us will answer we would love to be healthier – but being healthier is hard. It’s incredibly difficult to fight your body’s natural cravings and inclination to take it easy and do all that it takes to get thin. If it was easy, People magazine would sell a heck of a lot less “Read Their Weight Loss Story” covers.

So how about a little compassion, Mr. Reed? From what I can tell from your pictures, you may know a thing or two about struggling to maintain good health yourself.

Fat doesn’t have to be a bad word. Whether you’re exercising at least three or four times a week and making sure your diet is largely made up of healthier choices or content to eat what you want and skip the walk around the block, if you’re comfortable in your own skin, if you feel beautiful at whatever size you are, revel in that. My goal with this blog and with my own journey to Wellville isn’t to demonize being fat – I just want us all to be healthy. I don’t want to see another person I love die because of issues related to being overweight. But for the love of people – no one should ever have to hear comments like Reed’s, regardless of their size.

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Categories: Honesty is Healthy:

Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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