As a young person, I was many things- a budding opera singer, a poet, an angst-ridden step child, an activist, but more than any of those things (that I wish I could have seen as being as utterly incredible as they were at the time), I was one thing above all to anyone who laid eyes on me, I was fat. I know this because I was reminded of this constantly, by children and adults alike.
Actually, if you take my BMI into consideration, I am still fat. At 29.8, my BMI places me in the upper echelons of the “overweight” category, a mere tenth of a percentage point from obesity and that’s after maintaining an almost 130 pound weightloss for almost 20 years. I exercise daily, eat my veggies, and am still overweight, although admittedly, it’s been a very long time since anyone has called me fat.
After all, it is entirely possible that one could exhibit an overweight BMI and not look fat at all. By now, most of us are aware that BMI is an imperfect measurement that fails to take into account either muscle mass, bone density, or body fat percentage, meaning a professional athlete could very well appear to be overweight or obese, if assessed solely by their BMI. Take Cam Newton, the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, for instance. Cam, like me, weighs in at a 29 odd point BMI. When you look at it that way, I’m in pretty good company!Embed from Getty Images
Except that I’m not. Because you know you know who else registers between a 29.5-30.5 BMI, that is, if you can believe a single piece of information released by his administration? You guessed it, the current president of our great nation (whose name and image I will not dignify with representation in this space). So, if the three of us are, more or less, overweight/cusp of obese, how do we determine who earns the descriptor, “fat”?
The truth is, there’s not really a standard definition of fat. It is an almost entirely subjective designation, further complicated by the fact that fat is a noun that we use largely as an adjective. I have fat. You have fat. The average uterus-having American has about 40% body fat, while the average non-uterus-having American has around 30%. Cam Newton has about 13%. We all have fat, if we didn’t, we’d die.
But when can we call someone fat in the subjective sense exactly? Well, it’s worth noting that many, many folx claim the word fat as a matter-of-fact point of pride, much in the same way that I claim the word gay. For people who identify this way, the word fat may be an accurate and accepted descriptor but it’s, I don’t know, a little obvious maybe? The real question is, why do you want to call them fat? Let’s consider the possibilities here.
If you want to call someone fat because you’ve had a long-standing social media rivalry with them and don’t understand how they were able to snag such a hottie for a sexual partner while you, a person you subjectively consider to be somehow less fat than them wither on the Tinder vine, well, you might not be that nice of a person. But also, I’m so sorry that you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy into thinking that fatness is somehow unsexy. You’re probably missing out on lots of super dope thicc folks who’d gladly help you find your O face and, more than likely, you’re pointing that fat-hatred inward toward yourself as well, making it harder than it should be for you to actually be available for another person, in terms of physical intimacy…
Or, let’s say, you want to call someone fat solely as a point of differentiation, in order to distinguish between that person and another person. Maybe you could think of all the other differences between them to highlight prior to fatness? Sure, Karen might be overweight, but is that the most obvious difference between her and Becky? No, of course not. Karen has the “I need to speak to the manager” Kate Gosselin chop while Becky, naturally, has the good hair. There you go, we didn’t need to use the F word at all, did we?
NOW, if you want to call someone fat because he is the leader of the free world, a leader who has repeatedly hurled the word as an insult at uterus having folx (some of whom he has been accused of sexually assaulting), and that man has recently contracted a disease for which obesity is one of the leading comorbidities, a pandemic about which he has repeatedly lied and disseminated false information, in this one case, I think sweet irony gives us license to use the word.
So go ahead, call him fat. He is fat, but I’m going to issue a major caveat here. Let’s not marry the word to other words as we criticize our leader. Yes, he is ugly. The unabashed xenophobic blood lust coursing through his veins is easily visible on the surface of his ugly, dumb dermis. Yes, he is woefully undereducated, as evidenced by his grasp (or lack thereof) of the English language, United States civics, and science in general. Yes, he is a million other derogatory words, as evidenced by the way he treats others but, if we accept the marriage of fat with other words, we unwittingly add those other words to our own definition of fat.
I may be fat, but I am hot as hell and certainly no dumb dumb. So, do me a favor, if you want to call him fat, call him fat, but end the sentence there- unless you want to call him a fat hypocrite, that is. For a fat guy that felt bold enough to criticize the body composition of contestants in the freaking Miss Universe Pageant, I’ll allow it.
Want to know what I’d cook for the leader of the free world if I had the chance? Stay tuned tomorrow for my antidote to his fast food burger addiction- THE FAT CHICKpea burger!!