The word has done incredible damage to my body.
In the pages of Slate, Emily Duke, a woman who “loves carbohydrates,” shares her sorrows as a professional person of girth:
When New York state announced that Phase 1B of vaccinations would include those who are “obese” or “severely obese,” I knew I would qualify. My heart sank into my stomach. I am fat. I am a fat activist. Like a lot of larger-bodied people, I have embraced the word fat. Doing so allows me to buy clothes that fit, rather than those that could fit if I changed.
The last three words of that sentence are perhaps worth keeping in mind.
It allows me to exist.
Which, we’re to assume, the word obese does not. It being less fluffy. With the power to send a fat woman into an emotional tailspin.
Among all the radical self-love coffee mugs I’ve seen, “I love being obese” has never been one of them. The word obese elicits an unparalleled grief in me.
Well, recognition can do that, especially if belated and previously avoided. And incidentally, if your world is one in which “radical self-love coffee mugs” feature prominently, I’d suggest something may be awry.
When I heard the [vaccination] announcement I had been waiting for, I spent three hours in the grocery store trying to figure out what I “should” have for dinner that night.
Three hours. One might call that a telling preoccupation. Ms Duke then detours, at length, into recollections of being in therapy, parental divorce, the “trauma” of dieting, and the woes of being told she is an “emotional eater.”
When I heard the good news about my eligibility for the vaccine… I panicked that I was a bad fat activist. I felt like I was just one weigh-in away from losing my chosen identity because I can’t face a number on a scale… I’d need to know my BMI to ensure I qualified, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle it.
No emotional issues there, thank goodness.