In December 2013 we’ve seen some amazing women and a corporation use their means and platforms to raise awareness and attempt to change the mainstream message that perpetuates constant bodily surveillance and bodily hate.
In particular, Tyra Banks has joined forces with Special K cereal (Kellogg Company) to promote the “Fight Fat Talk” Campaign and Jennifer Lawrence told Barbara Walters that “It should be illegal” to call somebody fat on television.
It is clear that both these women and the Kellogg Company have their hearts in the right place, because they are trying to help women shift their critical perspectives about their bodies in world where corporations and the media create powerful consumers by promoting self-hate and then supplying flawed solutions in the form of fashion, beauty and diet products.
This petition asks Kelloggs, Lawrence, and Banks to consider their use of word “fat,” and what it means when we only recognize this term as a disposable insult – particularly for people who are legitimately fat.
Both Lawrence’s comment and the “fight fat talk campaign” consider “fat” and insult. To their credit, it is true, that many in our culture use the word fat as an insult and often this word is hurled at bodies that are not really all that fat. It’s ridiculous to call thin people fat because they’re not, but when some one does call someone thin “fat,” the name caller is trying to insult the thin person – by saying they are fat. In this context “fat” is the thing that we don’t want to be – it is the thing to be avoided at all costs.
Despite this negative use of the word “fat,” it’s just a word, like thin, short and tall. Fat is an adjective. It’s a descriptive word, which has been taken out of context and made an insult – much like the negative use of the word “gay” – to mean uncool. Clearly, we should stop using both “gay” and “fat” as insults – but we can still call gay people gay and we must continue to call fat people are fat because that’s what they are. We feel bad when people call us fat because we think that being fat is unacceptable and because we have been shamed. Currently, you can’t walk up to a stranger and call them fat because our culture recognizes being fat as a state of shame.
Fat is a word that we must use and love if we are ever going to see fat people as acceptable. If you use other words for a fat person you are being pejorative. For example, euphemisms like chubby, voluptuous, curvy are words that look to hide or make acceptable a reality of fatness. Obesity is a pathological word that ties fatness to disease and plus-size clearly means more than "normal" sized. The word “Fat” is actually the cleanest term and it’s the term that speaks to the reality of a bigger body type.
In this context – supposedly positive ideas, like Jennifer Lawrence’s idea to “outlaw” the use of the word Fat or Kelloggs and Tyra Banks “fight fat campaign” become body acceptance campaigns that exclude people with fat bodies because “fighting” or “outlawing” the use of the word fat, inherently underscores that being fat is shameful and embarrassing.
Some people are fat and that’s okay. Recently, Amber Riley used her fat body to win Dancing With The Stars – proving that bodies of all shapes and sizes can be graceful, powerful, capable and amazing. We can promote body love without continuing to shame the fat body.
Genuine body positivity would mean that even if someone was fat, they wouldn’t have to feel body shame. This petition will raise awareness about the invisible but pervasive nature of fat shaming and help shift perspectives and create a world that accepts people of ALL body types. We can accept all body types and still fight the corporate/media machine that perpetuates messages of body hate.
Please sign this petition to help raise awareness about the negative use of the word “Fat” in campaigns that are attempting to promote body positivity, and to specifically ask Tyra Banks, Kelloggs and Jennifer Lawrence to leverage their celebrity in a way that empowers every body. In particular, we would like to see this change begin by watching Kelloggs make a big deal out of changing the name of the "fight fat talk" campaign.