Language, Bullies, Fat, C*nt and What We Find Offensive.

I am fat. In fact, I am obese. I have struggled with degrees of fatness since I was 9 years old.

But I no longer believe that it makes me less lovable, less worthy, less valuable. I no longer believe it is something I should feel shame about. I do recognize that it makes me less sexually attractive and that is the single most painful and difficult thing I regularly have to deal with emotionally. (It is definitely true that fat girls are better in bed because we have to try harder. Showing up isn’t enough. If it weren’t I never would have had a sex life at all!)

I give the background of who I am to say: “fat” is not a slur or an insult. It is a statement of fact used to refer to people who have an unusually high percentage of visible fat.

Of course the way people say it can easily convey the fact that the person who said it means for it to be hurtful, but that still doesn’t make the word itself a bad thing.

People who are fat who are offended by being referred to as fat are projecting bigger issues on to it, and I think that’s not good - it kind of suggests a level of denial that you want the whole world to get on board with. That’s not healthy. You need to acknowledge the truth about yourself whether you want to change it or not. it’s not reasonable to expect people to find some less accurate alternative than fat if you are 100 pounds over what is considered healthful.

I feel exactly the same way about other words that political correctness has been chipping away at: retarded, for one. It is a perfectly harmless and accurate description of the condition of being of significantly lower intelligence and capability than most people. Just because some stupid people inject a tone and an attitude and use it as an abusive noun “RETARD!” towards people who are not actually retarded (usually) is no reason to buy into the idea that it’s a bad word.

Off the top of my head I can’t think of any euphemisms that I think are genuinely helpful, and they are mostly annoying and wordy. “retarded” is much simpler than “developmentally delayed”

But of course, as with just about everything, my complaints aren’t going to change anything. I just felt like sharing after reading a story about a bakery shop owner who called a potential customer a “fat cunt” after the woman expressed her offense at the bakery’s advertising slogan “So good they make fat people cry”.

The first paragraph of the story clarified the “cunt” part, but the headline said “North Carolina Cupcake Shop Calls Customer Fat, Halfheartedly Apologizes”.

The last line of the story does ask the question:

And I think it’s kind of messy and unclear what’s going on.

The cunt part was flat out unacceptable. Are you kidding?? Cunt is widely accepted as the rudest word in the English language to direct at another person (outside of racist words).

But the initial slogan? I don’t have any fundamental quarrel with the use of the word “fat” to describe fat people, as I said. What bugs me is the mockery of fat people’s situation. As far as I’m concerned it’s really no more acceptable than saying “Our cupcakes are so good they’d make a bullimic cry!” Or “Our Scotch is so good it would make an alcoholic cry!” or “Our appetite suppressant is so effective anorexics can finally get thin enough that you can watch their hearts beat!” (just before they stop, of course)

Being called “fat” is no more offenseive than being called “tall”, or it shouldn’t be. Being mocked for your issues with food that could be killing you and which are definitely painful and difficult, is definitely offensive. (Not that I’m getting my own back up about it… who has the energy, and we’re talking about a business owner. If you want to be offensive in your advertising about people who would probably be interested in your product, you go right ahead and point that gun right at your own head and pull the trigger, I’m not going to argue with you about it. The consequences will arrive without any help from me. )

What say you?

(I started to put this in IMHO, then the Pit… but I figure it will spark a debate. If mods disagree…)

I don’t see the debate here.

One big difference between being fat and being retarded is that the first is almost always a matter of behavior whereas the second is almost always something beyond a person’s control. Does that nmake it OK for people to call you fat? No, it’s still not very nice. But it’s also still not the same thing as calling someone retarded.

Also, if you don’t like being fat,why don’t you just unfatify yourself? Everyone always poo-poos the “just do it” advice, but that doesn’t make it invalid. You don’t have to be fat. Go lose some weight.

If it was that easy, there wouldn’t be many fat people in this country given the level of social disapproval.

Wow…that might be a record: zero posts between OP and “Your fault!”.

Just out of curiosity, since I did bring it up in the OP: would you say to a bulimic: just stop gorging and puking? Do you think the cure for anorexia is to tell them to eat?

Because if your answer is yes, I thank you for your contribution to my little thread respectfully decline to discuss it further with you.

If your answer is no, I respectfully ask you to take some time to consider why you draw a distinction.

And finally, what the hell does that have to do with it one way or another, except that some people (I assume youa re among them) give themselves license to be rude to fat people on the premise that they asked for it.

Any word can be an insult, you human you. It’s all about how it’s used. Asking people not to peceive insult when insult is obviously meant seems like a futile and rather pointless request.

Tell me, how easy is it for ***you ***to change behaviors that you (or other people) don’t like? I have never met a person who doesn’t have some kind of addiction. Some of us happen to have food as our addiction; it’s a constant, 24/7 struggle, and your disapproval doesn’t help. But after a certain point it doesn’t hurt either.

There really isn’t that much social disapproval. What there is though is a social preference for fit people over fat ones. That really doesn’t matter much when fat people get support that enables their behaviour from all around them. It isn’t easy being fat, but it hardly makes you a social pariah outside of high school.

I assume that you are speaking in hyperbole here. Not everyone has an addiction, I certainly don’t. It is defined as: ***being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming ***.

I’m addicted to oxygen, myself.

and fattening foods

I don’t care for euphemisms either. And I agree that it’s the attitude of the slogan, not the word “fat” that is, or should be, insulting.

Personally, I find the slogan kind of strange. I’m not fat, but the fat people I know tend to like cupcakes, not cry about them. :stuck_out_tongue:

I would think a bakery would do a better business by selling a lot of cupcakes to fat people, or at least to people who aren’t real sensitive about their position on the fatness scale.

But these people do seem rather artless. Or obnoxiously “ironic,” or something. What kind of outfit advertises a “Valentine’s Day Special” with,

This is an online-based business–they have no actual storefront–and check out their reviews! :eek:

If it’s not your fault, then whose fault is it?


OK. Take care.

No, it’s not. Surprising as it may seem, the English language is not confined just to North America, and in many other English-speaking countries, “cunt” is a relatively mild expletive.

I checked out the bakery’s site. Sure looks like they know what they’re doing when it comes to sweet goodies. Damn shame to see them fail because they were so clueless.

I’ll buy that it may not carry the weight it does here, but “mild”? In the countries where “cunt” is mild, what do they consider particularly rude?

Hello. My name is Ruby and I am fat. <waves>

Several years ago I had an encounter with a road-raged teen to screamed “…you fat bitch” to me. Never mind that he called me a bitch… b…b…but he called me FAT! I was offended and pissed off until I actually thought about what he said. Now I giggle that being called “fat” was way more offensive to me than being called a “bitch”.

If I call myself “fat”, I am scolded by my friends and family as though it were a put down. It’s a fact, people. It’s not meant as a degradation. I. Am. Sparta…err FAT. It’s as simple as that.

Rand Rover, addiction takes many forms and your flippant “just do it” is simply not productive. I’m truly glad that your life is neat and tidy but many of us have faults and imperfections that manifest themselves in not-so-pleasant ways.

Well, Ruby, you and I both know that the kid intended you to be offended, as indicated by the “bitch”.

As long as you recognize that your fatness is your fault, you’ll get no quarrel from me. I just can’t stand the “god/demons/aliens made me fat, and I can’t help it!!!” people.

I can buy that it’s mild there, because I’ve seen so many people on this board mention it.

Also, the word ‘cunt’ has nearly zero effect in black American Ghettos*. A person would just kind of furrow her brow at you like, “huh”?

I really don’t have any hang-ups about the word ‘fat’, but I do notice that I refer to myself as ‘big’ most of the time.

*Of course I mean the parts of black American Ghettos that I know personally.

Dayum! Who you been talkin’ to? I’ve never met even ONE person who said anything like that…and you’ve met so many you’re fed up?

You must live someplace very odd. Entertaining, though.

If you want to say that my fatness is my responsibility, then yes, we agree. If you want to say that my fatness is my fault insinuating a lazy, slovenly, conscious choice to be fat, then we can agree to disagree. I don’t want to get too far away from the OP’s intent, but I do think it illustrates just how language is interpreted by both the speaker and the listener and they’re not always the same.