I am 154cm tall (short?) and I currently weigh 75kg. For most of my adulthood I’ve been somewhere between 55 and 70kg. I recently joined a fat-positive Facebook group and posted about being heavier than I’ve ever been (apart from when I was pregnant). One of the other members commented that they were 180kg, which gave me pause. Seventy-five is nothing compared to 180 right? Well, in theory, yes, but whether you’re 55 or 80kg, 180 or 300kg, being fat is not about the weight, but about being seen as fat, by yourself and by others around you.
Being fat is about being called names, being laughed at and stared at because of your weight, your size, your shape.
Being fat is the look on people’s faces when they meet you and notice that you’re not the same shape as your three older sisters.
Being fat is being fifty years old and still feeling uncomfortable when you hear the word ‘fat’.
‘Fatty fatty bom bom,
Curi curi jagung,
Mata mata tangkap,
Kena masuk lokap.’
To this day, that rhyme makes my ears burn with shame. Naturally I heard it a lot when I was a kid. I was always referred to as ‘fatty’, even into adulthood, even by total strangers and quite openly.
(Interestingly, no one has called me ‘fatty’ in the last ten years. Perhaps I am now seen as an ‘aunty’, deserving some respect.)
Fat is just a word, but it has a whole lot of baggage. When you use it as an adjective and apply it to a woman, it becomes laden with negativity.
A fat baby is cute. A fat cat is adorable. A fat book is, at worst, a challenge. A fat woman? Ugly! Undesirable! Unwanted! And, somehow, even worse than that, ridiculous. A joke.
That is the ‘truth’ we’ve been taught and I want it to stop being the ‘truth’. I want it to stop being my ‘truth’.