Am I fat, thick, chunky, big or voluptous?

The Image here obviously shows a thick and full figured woman modeling for a company. Need more of an explanation? We shouldn’t. There shouldn’t be the need for one at all, but there is. The world that we live in today just so happens to have a problem with weight. Women and men alike are constantly being pressured to maintain a perfect body. This pressure ultimately results in emotional and physical stress. Overweight people are often viewed as lazy. Why? Because all you have to do to lose weight is exercise, right? No.

Courtney E. Martin, in her article Love Your Fat Self, explains the complex role of sizeism and how it has infected and taken over our daily thoughts. The thoughts of how much thinner or prettier we will be one day is a favorite fantasy of ours, Martin says. She says linking obesity to laziness is like linking smoking to incompetence. Because obviously if you smoke you’re not intelligent because it can harm you. So, the same being true with obesity, if someone is fat then obviously the just sit around all day and eat potato chips. Being fat or overweight is not simply a physical matter. It’s definitely emotional and physical but can also be genetic. Some people have a genetically predisposition to be overweight.

From my own personal experience, I have experienced sizeism through comments from others and in my own thoughts. I was overweight as a kid and still am a little overweight today. An example of how sizeism has affected my personal thoughts, I am constantly thinking and worrying whether or not I will be able to fit through a walk way or space without bumping into someone or something. Many of the comments from others that I endured were obviously rude ones about how I was fat but some came in the odd form of a compliment. One compliment I received was “Wow, when I first met you I just thought you were a lazy fat person but you can dance and run and stuff like a normal person. You’re just a little wider!” As if this was an actual compliment I still said Thanks!

What’s even more interesting is how we try to fill the void that we feel because the constant worry over weight. I remember as a kid saying to myself every now and then that it was okay. I wasn’t lazy and I actually did play sports and played outside with friends and family. I wasn’t the typical chunky kid. I was different. I could run and I liked to be active. So, I’m not just fat I’m just a little chunky.

These reassurances that we tell ourselves and that we tell each other are only so that we are comfortable with our bodies and with our own beings. The term thick essentially means the same as wide, but because being thick is different than fat it’s okay. When honestly thick is really a medium body size. The reason we feel the need to reassure others and ourselves is because of the image of a perfect body. This image in most cases is always out of grasp and therefore creates the vicious cycle of low self-esteem and the way we all should look. So, are we fat or are we just voluptuous?

Judah Irvin 2010-002

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