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My cat’s tail is fluffy, my body is not

I know scores of people are not comfortable with describing themselves or other people as fat. I understand why – fat is still considered a bad word.

“But I don’t see you as fat!” isn’t mean to be a compliment so much as a rejection of the way society ascribes and describes fat on people. It is really seen to mean: lazy, sloppy, smelly, dirty, greasy, slovenly. Another word for letting yourself go. Hell, even the fat in our foods is described in other, more careful terms – low fat, less sinful.

We must not say that bad word!

I won’t argue that words are just words. I know they aren’t. Words can change the world, for better OR worse. Words have immense power. Anyone who tells you different is part of a very privileged group of people.

Thinking about the synonyms for fat the other day, I came across one word I loathe the most. It makes me want to curl up into a ball in a corner of the room, rocking back and forth with my hands over my ears.

“Fluffy.”

FLUFFY.

I completely and utterly loathe it. It’s a visceral reaction; I can’t help feeling that way. It makes me have full body shudders.

Fluffy in my mind brings up images of a comfortable blanket, a jumper, an old, well-loved toy. I do not envisage a person. What parts of a person are fluffy besides their hair?

Obviously, people can choose to describe themselves however they want to describe themselves and will do so, no matter what I think. That’s totally cool. To quote an awesome person I know, “You do you.” But I’m gonna do me and do what I do best – rant. This time, about the usage of the word “fluffy” as a euphemism for fat.

I like the word fat. It’s descriptive. More than that, I like the way it sounds in my mouth. It’s short and to the point. I like the way it makes people think. I like the idea of a group of people reclaiming a word which is used negatively to describe their bodies. I like the power reversal of the word.

Fluffy, as a word descriptor, has no power. It’s wishy washy. It seems to me, a cutesy, coy way of describing something, especially a person. It waffles. That might be why people use it to describe fat. They don’t have to commit to the power of the word.

Well, I commit to “fat”. I will continue to use it to describe myself and those who wish to use it to describe themselves. I aim to continue to change the hidden meaning behind the word and have it, again, be used as just a descriptor than as an insult.

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8 thoughts on “My cat’s tail is fluffy, my body is not

  1. Hi Sonya,
    I just discovered your stuff on here and have read a bunch of articles. Really enjoying it. Do you have a twitter/your own blog that I can follow?
    Cheers!

  2. Hi Tahnee,

    Thanks! I’m all over the internet, haha. My personal blog is mainly to do with plus sized fashion — Australian Fatshion. My twitter is gannet_guts and my tumblr is gannetguts. I’m pretty much gannet guts everywhere because I am so original and all.

  3. The Term Fluffy is banded about in a lot of ttc (trying to conceive) and pregnancy forums as a way of separating women who are plus sized from the non-plus sized.

    I wish women would just accept the term plus sized or even fat.

    PCOS causes a lot of issues in women who are overweight, and it causes a lot of women with PCOS to BE overweight.

    To try and create a divide of skinny vs fluffy pregnancies really does more to perpetuate the belief that fat pregnancies end in trauma whereas skinny women get perfect births, pregnancies, no issues.

  4. Oh goodness, really? That brings a whole other set of icky issues with the word for me and another side I had not even considered.

  5. Each is allowed their own opinion but I disagree. I know words are powerful and can be used lovingly or maliciously but in this instance you are taking away a persons use of words to express themselves. Fat carries a highly negative connotation in today society whether we like it or not. If a person wants to call themself fluffy they are fully entitled to do so. Or is their choice of using the word “Fluffy” in your eyes just a sign of another failure?

    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    William Shakespeare (1564–1616).
    Romeo and Juliet
    Act II. Scene II.

    • I call people fluffy. I don’t mean that they are fat. By fluffy, I mean that they have curly hair or something voluminous, and that their HAIR is fluffy. Or that an animal might perhaps be fluffy. But calling someone fluffy to mean that they are fat is… well, the wrong use of the word ;)

      Oh and that quote… Wouldn’t it suggest that the name (fat, fluffy) are of equivalent power? That it does not change the meaning?

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