Fat – adjective: having a large amount of excess flesh.
Upon researching the term well-known among those of current society in a dictionary or similar source, one discovers a result resembling that of above. Many are aware of the meaning behind the word and few can argue with such; it has long been established for thousands of years previous. How, then, has being called or described as “fat” come to mean one is less of a person?
Any one individual can take notice of the occurrence numerous times on any given day. Worse yet, celebrities, those at the forefront of the public eye and serving as critical role models for a majority of youth today, maintain status as some of the ultimate in putting into effect this detrimental practice. What I am referring to is what has been deemed as fat-shaming.
Nonetheless, famous personas are not the only ones at fault. Though I am a part of a small school, I consistently hear comments, both direct and more under the radar, regarding the size of a particular entity. Having fallen victim to those jabs personally, each iterated tinges my heart with sorrow similar to if it had been aimed at me.
However, this unfortunate incident I can swallow, especially considering the fact that it will always take place, there will always be that someone who maliciously finds joy in extinguishing such in others. What I cannot swallow, though, is the stereotype that someone falling into the established category of “fat” therefore is seen as occupying an inferior state.
You can see it in the way people scoff as they are passing by, openly displaying their disgust. It is evident in the fact that derogatory remarks involving those failing to fall into the sickly state of the “health figures” spanning the pages of magazines are vast among culture today, yet such is significantly diminished regarding those of “average” size or those even being underweight. Overweight people are viewed as lazy with little motivation, and, on top of that, filthy. On the other hand, “skinny” boasts an angelic glow, topped with a golden halo.
Why is this the case when FAT IS ONLY AN ADJECTIVE, a means of describing something? It possesses absolutely no power unless you give it the right to. Even upon one accepting such as true, it does not make him or her weak or subordinate. It does not make this supposed character doomed in any way, shape, or form. All it serves for, its sole purpose for existing in language, is to explain something further, to provide a clearer picture. It is no different than illustrating a specific object, person, or place as extraordinary, mundane, or an extensive amount of other descriptors.
Besides that, who has the right to decide the fine line between “healthy” and “fat”? Who asserts the power to determine those of worth and those falling short due to their dimensions? Who said this was okay in the first place? Who is to say that “fat” equals a miserable life?
Fat is not negative. It is not a criticism to be assessed as fat, nor is it to not be assessed as fat. The term in itself is indifferent; on a denotation sense, it has consistently existed in this way. It is because of the principles of those in recent past and present times that the connotation has come to define such as a purely loathsome attribute.
From the day we have the privilege of being welcomed into this world, it is immediately imprinted within our brains that of all things to never be, fat is of utmost priority. To be so would surely only result in unhappiness and a less than meaningful life, for how could you ever expect a positive outlook when you be of larger proportion?
The inappropriate reality is that, yes, you are most likely going to be judged fat at some point in your life, whether you are the epitome of health or the happiest soul alive. Among a world populated in excess of seven billion, such is rather uncontrollable. What is controllable is how you respond. Grow through what you go through. After all, fat is merely an adjective.
Miranda Cox is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. She is one of seven area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 19th year.