This is something that has been on my mind for a very long time. Years in fact. I would describe this “F-Word” as the atomic bomb of social situations because when it is said to someone there is no comeback. It doesn’t matter how streetwise and savvy you are – there is never a comeback. This “F-word” appears to be so embedded in our minds that unfortunately it’s become an unconscious habit.
Fat. That’s right: Fat. That is the “F-Word.” It’s unnerving how a small, three letter word can destroy someone’s self esteem, confidence and self view. Being fat is apparently the worst thing that a woman can be and this is everywhere from everyday life to how women are portrayed in the media. In an argument if someone says: “Well, at least I’m not fat” they automatically win the fight. I have seen friends who are a UK dress size 8 – 10 being silenced by this three letter bomb. Perhaps it should be called the “F-bomb” instead of the “F-word” because of its devastating impact. Now for some people, I can imagine them thinking: “If you know you’re not fat why take it so personally?”
Whilst that is a valid and rational point it doesn’t even cross the minds of women who have been called “fat” (usually) by other women. I believe that everyone should be reasonably healthy, clean and look after themselves – after all there are bigger problems in the world. But for many women, the idea of weight gain or any wobbly bits in the “wrong places” is enough to send them into panic. Many people are extremely sensitive about the way that they look and to be called “fat” is just another nail in the coffin of dwindling self-esteem. Many young women are brainwashed by the airbrushed images that bombard them on a daily basis with captions such as: “slender chic” and “gracefully thin” to vague terms such as “dangerously curvy” which does us no favours. How the hell can someone be “dangerously curvy?” I was not aware that having breasts, hips, a waist and thighs were associated with weapons of mass destruction.
These captions indirectly tell us that if you do not have these traits then you might as well be the fat cowwhom no one will ever go near. This is wholly untrue! So what if some women are a UK dress size 16 or 18? If you are blessed to have all 4 limbs, good health and able to do everyday menial tasks surely we should be celebrating this. Who cares if you have a little bit of cellulite or a tummy? How many women in the world are left disabled from acid attacks, missing limbs or disease?
There is an overwhelming amount of negative attention placed on women’s bodies which is affecting our self-esteem, confidence and most importantly self-respect. Our constant preoccupation with our bodies leads me to my next pet peeve: Diets. The diet industry in the UK in 2010 was estimated at £2bn and I am certain its value has increased. Slogans on television from the dieting world such as “bingo wings” “cankles” and the dreaded “muffin top” have entered our everyday language and way of thinking. These are terms often used by women to describe parts of their bodies that they dislike. Although many are said as “a joke” they conceal a deeper insecurity and preoccupation within women that the dieting industry does not wish to address. They just want your money and feed off millions of people’s diet failures. A niggling worm sets into our brains which makes us turn down that gorgeous red dress we see in the shop window because: “I have thunder thighs.” Wear that red dress, embrace it, work it and own it because no one else can do it as well as you do.
If you don’t respect yourself or your body, who will?