By Lala Tshabalala
In response to the brilliant #FightingFatTalk campaign, editor of PlusSizeMe Lala Tshabalala speaks to young women about fat-shaming and what the campaign means to them.
This article was originally posted on the Plus Size Is Me website.
I spoke to four ladies about “fat shaming” and fighting “fat talk” and this is what they had to say.
1. Do you have girlfriends who initiate “fat talk” or join in on it?
Sivan: Yes I have friends who initiate fat talk (who are actually really fit and healthy I might add). I am guilty of it too in the past but for months I have been doing my best to not fall into the trap of shaming ourselves, our bodies or others.
Alex: In the past I was much heavier and I was constantly getting told by my friends about weight-loss and diet solutions to my so called “fat problem”. All my life I have been surrounded by people who have been focused and consumed by the idea of what it was to be perfect. No matter what circle I was in the topic of weight and body image was always present. Whether it was brought up by my fellow counterparts or secretly by myself as way of dealing with my own insecurities.
2. Are you in a relationship? How does your girlfriend/ boyfriend react to your “fat talk”?
Sivan: Yes I am in a long term relationship. Often he would say to me that I mustn’t feel bad, that it’s not true and that it’s ok to feel bad sometimes too – we all have our ups and downs. He is supportive and encouraging.
Alex: I am currently in a relationship. I am living in Korea at the moment, in a society which is heavily dependent on body image. They have the highest rate of plastic surgeries in the world. So fitting into this society which has already defined what beauty is is very difficult. In Korea the idea of the S line figure is perfect, that means no curves. My boyfriend has in the past commented on my figure and said I should lose weight and tone here and tone there. It doesn’t bother me so much now because I think he’s learning to love me and plus there is the bonus that he has something to grab!!
Danielle: I’m single because of my fat talk hahaha, but NO, seriously, guys really love it when their ladies are confident. It’s the most sexiest thing she can wear.
3. What does shutting down fat talk mean to you?
Sivan: Shutting down fat talk to me means to stop shaming ourselves and others. It means to accept that this is the body we have and the only one we will have and learn to take care of it. If you are unhappy be proactive about changing it and give yourself compliments. No more shame.
Alex: Shutting down this ‘fat’ talk will empower all women from every background of every shape and every size to feel good. Even great about themselves. I wouldn’t want my future daughter to hate what she sees in the mirror.
Mimmie: Shutting down fat talk is huge and I’m sure it will change peoples lives. Right now that is what the world needs. Personally, I would love to just walk in town and never have a brother shout out ‘unjani sdudla’ (how are you fatty?) .When people shout out those comments we might act like we didn’t hear it but those words always land somewhere in our hearts. People should be educated that we can’t all be skinny, so what if we are a little on the oversize side, cant we just live and act like we are one?
4. As an outsider listening to someone else fat talking, what is it you wish you could say to them?
Sivan: I wish I could say to them that they don’t need to change for anyone, and that the only person judging them so harshly is themselves. We need to ease up on ourselves a bit and learn to be more accepting.
Mimmie: Plus size ladies and gents are people as well and they have emotions. Words have the power to create and break and just a little comment like ‘damn you look huge’ can mess up someone’s life for good.
Danielle: I’m beautiful. Yes, I know that there are people out there who don’t have the confidence and who take the ‘fat word’ in a negative manner. I may be a confident fatty, but on the real, I do too have my off days and it’s just part of being human. That’s why it’s so great to have these blogs, quotes and pictures about women of all shapes and sizes to remind us where beauty comes from, “It aint in the face nor the hips and waist honey, it’s in the embrace.”