Why Whitney Way Thore insists on calling herself ‘fat’
Body positivity has been a hot topic for a while. More and more people of all races, genders, and sizes are throwing off the shackles that come from living in a culture that has long promoted near-impossible beauty standards that, more often than not, require an immense amount of time and money to even imagine obtaining. While progress has seemingly been made in the past decade, the work is far from over.
This debate spilled over onto the Instagram account of Whitney Way Thore. The reality television star is perhaps best known for her starring role on TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life. In August 2020, Thore shared a childhood photo of herself wearing a rainbow, cheetah-print bathing suit, captioning the photo: “Bringing you high fashion since 1988. But seriously, can I get this suit in size fat?”
Thore was immediately met with a variety of comments, many of which called her out for using the word “fat.” “You mean in size fabulous!!!” one user wrote, with another commenting “You are not fat … you are beautiful.” Instead of caving to pressure, Thore doubled down, explaining why using the word “fat” is so important to her.
Whitney Way Thore shuts down the 'disrespect'
In a lengthy Instagram caption posted in early September 2020, Whitney Way Thore took the time to share why exactly she insists on calling herself “fat.” “It’s actually insulting to insist that a fat person who identified as fat isn’t actually fat,” she wrote, adding, “you’re simply reinforcing the notion that being fat is bad and not making any damn sense because I am obviously fat.”
Thore went on to explain that a word like fat is simply a neutral adjective, the same as any other bodily description. “telling a fat person some variation of ‘You’re not fat, you’re beautiful!/funny!/smart!/successful!’ means that you have not reconciled that a person can simultaneously be fat and possess good qualities and be likable …”
She continued, noting that she uses the word “as a descriptor like any other — short, brunette, and white are also adjectives I use to describe me …” Thore concluded her post with a call for neutrality when describing people’s bodies. There are many words that describe her, and “none are good or bad, they just are.”
While most of the people who commented on her post probably wrote their comments with good intentions, Thore opted to use the opportunity to educate her followers and explain her position. Thore is not beautiful despite being fat; she is fat, she is beautiful, and those are not competing ideas. Thore says it best: sometimes things are not good or bad, they simply are.
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