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How to Be a Fat Bitch ECourse #2: Reclaiming the Word Fat

Over 250 people have registered so far! Which is freaking amazing. Make sure you check everyone out on the register page. There are some kick ass blogs on there and I am starting to develop some serious crushes. I am working on interview ideas so we can get to know some of you even more in the coming months!

I will be sharing a lesson that you can use to work towards loving your fat body, living a fierce life and feeling confident. This ECourse is about fat acceptance, activism and fatshion. You can watch the vlog and read along and then you will be given an assignment and an opportunity to discuss it with me and other readers. You will also be prompted with some discussion questions. There will be room for all levels of body positive advocates to participate. This will be a chance to focus in on a specific aspect of fat acceptance and fatshion so that you can integrate it into your life and be a fat bitch too! Assignments don't have a due date and feel free to navigate at your own pace. This ECourse is free and can be done at any time! Click here to register.

A fat bitch is confident, out-spoken and proud of who she is. The word bitch has been used by feminists as a way to reclaim an insult used to demean our cause. Let's get started!

Describing myself as fat is empowering. I am saying that I know who I am, I know what my body looks like and what it is. I am fat. Fat is not a negative word to me. It has become my identity and it is an accurate and truthful description - a neutral description (like tall, brunette, freckly or brown-eyed). It not about putting a pretty bow on what I know or sugarcoating or hiding behind words like curvy or big. I also refuse to be called overweight or obese. That buys into the BMI bullshit and that my weight is an indication of health. Because I don't have extra weight and am not over a predetermined body size.

Everyone, regardless of size or shape, should be free from oppression and treated with respect. The fact that I am fat doesn't determine my worth or how I should live my life. I deserve to be able to use a word that doesn't indicate any negative connotations or euphemisms - again a neutral description. The word fat needs to be separated from the assumption that someone is unkempt, lazy or less-than. That is a meaning that was taught to us and reinforced so money can be made and bigotry could be justified.

There is a fat movement of fantastic and inspiring women. I am proud to be part of that movement. Fat is a badge we wear proudly! We have fat fashion, fat blogs, fat activism, fat art, fat books, literally everything you can think of that creates a space for fat people. Fat is a feminist word. It has been reclaimed and transformed from an insult and description of someone that is undesirable. Like a greedy politician or even a bad day. It's our word now and we should use it! Make a presence and political statement that can't be ignored and maybe even make people a little uncomfortable. I am totally okay with that. Because I love the word fat. It gives me strength and courage. Such a simple 3 letter word. We have fat or adipose tissue. We are fat and we wear fierce clothes, have great sex, do amazing things like run marathons, win Olympic medals, raise children, run businesses, write books, become famous and the possibilities are endless.

I don't go around calling people fat to their faces. When I call someone fat, it is in the context that I am admiring them. Like "Look at all the awesome fatties doing back up vocals for Beyonce! They should show them more! They should be the ones dancing with her too...". When I meet someone, I sort of wait for them to use the word in a non-degrading way. Then we high five and do the secret handshake. It is like a secret not-so-secret club.

It is quite possible that you are not comfortable with using the word fat. Even as small children, we knew the word fat. Santa was fat, our neighbor was fat, mom was fat but she didn't like using that word and there was fat to be sliced off the pot roast. We got a little older and girls at school start using the word to defame their competition and we knew that Sir Mixalot liked his ladies to have plenty on their asses. As teenagers, we learned tricks to avoid it and questioned our friends if we looked fat, waiting for confirmation that we indeed had not fallen victim. It was a word we whispered when it wasn't being hurtfully shouted. It was a dirty word.

Even now, with fat acceptance being in the news and there being so much positive use of the word, some still don't like it. Maybe the word is still dirty to them. Maybe they are still carrying around years of shame and guilt and the word fat brings it to the surface. I assume that most of you already call yourself fat. If you don't, maybe just consider why and see if you can remove some of those obstacles. Saying your fat is just saying you have more visible fat than a thin person does. Calling someone fat is only body shaming when you think being fat is shameful.

Maybe, it's just easier to say we are all humans and why label ourselves?

So why do we need to label ourselves and use the word fat? Because of all the reasons I said before. It is an empowering word. When someone tries to say you are fat to hurt your feelings, you can respond with "Yes I am fat!" instead of going home to cry because someone called you fat. And because it is way more easier to be confident in our fat bodies when we are being honest. I don't want to use a word that glamorizes or disguises what I look like, minimizing my size and making my experiences invalid. I also don't want to say that my body is better than someone else's. We all have fat in different places and different amounts of it. But the beauty of the word fat is that we can all stand behind it.

If you haven't already, learn to love the word fat. It will be a important part of loving yourself. If you can accept and love the word fat, then you can stop hating and fighting your body.

Reclaim the word fat and do something amazing with it. Make art, take photos of yourself with fat written on you, bake a cake with fat written in frosting, etc. I can't wait to see what you do! Blog it, Instagram it, Tweet it (#fatbitchecourse, #nearsightedowl), etc. and share it in the comments below.

What do you love most about the word fat? How has the word fat evolved for you?

Grab the button!

Show your support and sponsor, or make a donation. The ECourse will continue to be free but donations are appreciated to help keep this work going. Thank you!

- Rachele

63 ♥ COMMENTS ♥:

Elle said...

I love you Rachel! You are so cool and it's like you were my speaker for the words that i can't seem to find when discussing about this issue. :'> KUDOS! :)

Jess Rollar said...

The word FAT, I used to think of it as a bad word when I would see people talk about others using that word. Lately, I use it a lot, a lot lot. I love it! To me now, it's just a shorter word for curvy, fluffy, heavy, etc... but more fun to say! :D I'll work on the assignment this weekend and link it! Can't wait (also noticed your wearing your necklace!! Cute!)

Amanda said...

I'm fairly new to fat activism, so this assignment will be great for me to work on reclaiming that word! To be honest, in my mind I still sometimes think of 'fat' as a bad word. But when reclaimed, it is just a descriptor! :)

Sally Austin said...

Loving this course. Here's my 2nd entry.

Megan Savoie said...

Ah! I love this ecourse. Every time I start talking/writing about fat I get so excited haha.
Here's this weeks assignment!

Kristine said...

This is a good one (not that last week wasn't), and reminded me to fix my Fat necklace that I broke last year.

Fat has always been a descriptor for me, I never used it as a ruse to get others to say "oh, but you're not that big," but they did and I got angry and then stopped using it. Now I don't care (I'm no longer a teenager, and I'm too fat for anyone to pull the "no, you're just a little chubby/round/soft," line) and it has returned to a more neutral status.

I like fat as a word because I can use it about myself and feel like I'm not trying to trick anyone, it feels honest in a way that all those "nicer" words I could have used never has or will, and it certainly does not make me feel like an illness in the way overweight or obese does.

English is not my first language, and in my "fedme" is a term used to describe obesity in the general population, or as I like to say as a plague. There is no way to use it about individuals and still sound like you are using a real word. It is my least favorite word in the world. Urgh, but now I'm losing track of my point, which is that fat really is the best word for me, because it is honest and does not dehumanize me and turn me into a statistic.

Another interesting thing about "fat" as a word is when it is used in a positive manner (which is out of fashion here now, but was used before. I don't know if this has been the case with English). When you want to say "nice bike" you can say "fat bike" instead. or just "that's fat" when something is awesome. This is funny to me because when a lot of people talk about people fat is bad, but in other contexts it is a compliment. Strange really, seeing as people can be so terribly hateful of fat (and fat people) and still use it about the great sound in their new stereo.

Kym Bozarth said...

I liked your happy dance in the beginning. It is easier for me to read the blog, the CC is much to fast! Wow.

Just Me Leah said...

Here's my 2nd assignment. I'm so looking forward to becoming a fat bitch! :)

thekissypearl said...

I still cannot explain how much you have inspired me! I am spreading my knowledge like wildfire :) I was wondering if I you think it'd be ok for me to put a badge on my blog even though I am not a fat btich.. ? I am for everything you are do here, KEEP IT UP!

Mandy said...

Loving it, will post later

Kim said...

Making some fancy fat art today! Loving this!

Nicola James said...

I love your blog and although I’m holding you personally responsible
for the inordinate amount of money I’ve recently spent on glasses having been a
committed contact lens wearer for ten years I am excited to be part of the Fat
Bitches course. I’ve started a little
late so haven’t done the first week stuff yet but wanted to jump in and catch

The thing I find most difficult about reclaiming the word
fat is how subjective it is, I hadn’t really thought about the problems using
the term ‘overweight’ until I watched your video, but it is true if you don’t buy
into the idea of weight=health then it is a redundant term. Unless of course
you are happy to say that you are spilling out of the allocated amount of space
you deserve which to a rational person should be nonsensical. But I’ve been
using this word thinking, ‘ah but at least it’s undeniable’. If I call myself
fat, even if I’m not using it as a derogatory word (which I’m not),
well-meaning but ultimately offensive people will say ‘you aren’t fat’ or will qualify
it further ‘you aren’t fat, you’re curvy, you’re just not stick thin’ because I’m
not very very fat. I’m a little bit fat and comfortable with it. I’m the kind
of fat people love to call things like ‘curvy’. So I constantly end up in
excruciating circular conversations where people keep telling me I’m not what I
clearly am. If I say I’m overweight the most irritating thing people will say
(and they will) is ‘you don’t LOOK overweight’.

I think this comes back to some of the good fatty v bad
fatty ideas. I don’t look like the slovenly, unhealthy, resource stealing mess
they picture when they see the word ‘overweight’ (I live in England where there
are lot of people who genuinely think I and all other fat people are stealing
more and more of their tax money with every bite due to the magical fat people
operations we’re having all over the NHS).

So I’m going to go back to the word fat and put a halt to
the silly circle conversations by explaining my deliberate choice to use the

Hope Smash said...

You can view my assignment and discussion here

Here is my discussion again

I love that I have reclaimed the word fat for myself and that it is no longer a shameful thing. When I was growing up being fat was always the worst possible thing that could happen. My mother doesn't hate fat people, not at all, but she has a lot of body shame and I think she inadvertently passed it on to me. The most ridiculous part is that my mum is not fat at all. In school kids would make fun of me for being fat. Not so much my sister because she has always been relatively thin, but as I have always been bigger it was more directed at me. As I got older I got fatter, and it became a huge source of embarrassment. At family dinners and at restaurants my mother would say things like "Are you sure you want seconds? Are you sure you want dessert?" She wasn't doing it to be mean, she just didn't want me to feel like she did. The word became a shameful, hateful word and I hated myself in turn. But then I discovered fatactivism and fatshion and everything changed. Through the online community I learned to love my body, fat and all, and the word fat became empowering. I am a fat woman, that isn't a horrible thing, it is simply a description and I have learned to love and accept that fact. My fat is what makes me me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Kym Bozarth said... Here is my 2nd assignment. I did a teeny FAT word cross stitch. It is on my blog and instagram. Enjoy.

Megan Savoie said...

I remember being a young girl, probably around ten, when being fat was something I was made to feel ashamed of. My grandmother would buy me clothes several sizes too small and say things like "Oh, once you lose that extra weight you'll fit into these fine." The bullies on the playground at school used the word as a weapon, hurling it at me and externalizing their own hurt. My father would blame my skinned knees and bruises on my fat; "You wouldn't get hurt/sick/picked on so much if you just went to the gym and got in shape." My father, though I love him dearly, loves to toss that euphemism around. As I got older, I internalized all of these things, and began to hate myself for being fat. For having a body that continued to grow and stretch and dimple despite my best efforts to stop eating and exercise like a mad woman. I hated that I wasn't good enough. And then, one day, I woke up (figuratively that is), and realized that all I was doing was letting other people's fear of being fat run my life. I was holding back from doing things I loved because I didn't want to be known as the fat girl. I was using my fat as an armor to keep people away. Over the past few years, I have started to own my fat. I have started to love my body. I have started to love myself. I buy clothes that fit the body I have, not the body other people want me to have. I proudly admit to being fat (that tends to really throw people off!). I am reading fat literature, participating in ecourses and blogging and exposing myself to new and wonderful ideas. That is not to say that it is always easy. In fact, some days it's damn hard to stare at myself in the mirror and say with complete honesty that I'm 100% comfortable in my own skin. But at least those days are in a minority.

BalanceWithIntention said...

I joined in on the fun, fat bitches! Nothin' special over here (i.e. no pics, haha,) but I did write a post! :)
Looking forward to next week's assignment!

Megan said...

I love this assignment (fat-ass-ignment is what I called it in my head haha)!!!

Fat has been difficult for me. I've been fat basically all my life and therefore ridiculed and made to feel horrible my whole life. I've been dumped for getting upset when my boyfriend told me to lose weight and I've been mocked by people on trains, at school, tradesmen at work and my own father.

Lately though I have decided to not give a flying fuck what people think of me. If people make fun of me for being fat, it makes me more determined to be in their faces being fucking amazing.

Stephanie Fearon said...

Here's my assignment and discussion ( I made a crocheted and cross stitched "❤ Fat ❤" Cup Cozie! (the pattern is available for free btw).

unitedstatesofbecky said...

Hey Girl - I am loving your fat bitch series! Hoping to keep working on my self esteem through doing this. Remember that book you were thinking of writing a while back?. . . . dun!-dun!-dun! I see window displays at bookstores in your future.... :) Also, as I read through the comments of others, I am discovering some pretty awesome blogs. Yay!

Lucy-Anne Elbery said...

I wrote a post a week or so ago about how I don't hate my arms. I would like to use this as my second assignment. I want to do this because after I posted it, I was verbally abused by a family member who was incredulous that I could be both fat and happy. This abuse quickly escalated in to harassement and slander of not just me, but my mother and siblings, as I refused to engage in an argument with her, and I've had to take steps to get her to stop. And it's just made the post that much more important to me. So, here it is.

Rachele said...


Rachele said...

I think you are already there! You are incredible articulate and I love your photo.

Rachele said...

Obviously, she has some internalized fat shame and felt the need to rain on your parade. I am glad you didn't let her!

Rachele said...

Haha, I am still "thinking of writing one". Just not enough time in the day! Maybe this year will be the year :D

Rachele said...

Ooo, I am on that!

Jess Rollar said...

Ok I'm back and just did my homework! Posted my pic on the blog:

Shauna Danielle said...

Here is my week 2 homework! Inspired by my hatred for the assumption that fat equals unhealthy.

Just Me Leah said...

Thanks so much mama bitch ;)

Marta Kotzke said...

To honor my fat, I decided not to hide it any longer. I've cut my hair in a pixie (which I was always scared to do until now) and I love it! I also bought a lot of girly skirts and tunics and leggings and all kinds of clothes that "Fat" girls aren't supposed to wear. I tried some of them on for my hubby and he looked at me and said, "Wow, I'm not used to you in colors." It wasn't until then that I realized almost all my clothes were black or brown. Clothes that let you blend in, go unnoticed. My personality doesn't blend in, so why should my outward appearance?? It's a learning curve for sure, but I think I'll make an excellent fat bitch!

Crystal said...

Well you've inspired to go ahead and create a blog to post all my assignments on! Here's my 2nd assignment I really loved this one.

lovecatliz said...

Love this one! Finished my homework :)
Took guts, I'm proud of myself!

Meredith said...

Here's my thoughts on FAT. I am just not creative this week :( Or maybe just not yet!!

Moe said...

Whooops! I totally missed this one this week! I think since this class (it's only been two weeks!) I've embraced my fat more. I've decided to start seeing me & stop hiding behind other things. I've decided to break out of my comfort zone & do things I don't normally do - I've decided to keep growing my hair out & find fun & funky lipstick! That may seem like something to hide behind too but I always felt confident with my pixie cut - I was a bad ass chick, & I sort of hid behind that....I hope yo're catching my drift - I was "the chick with the short hair", "she's so cool" & just hid behind what people though of me. I felt like I was myself, I liked my short hair (I loved my short hair!) But I think embracing yourself & who you are means trying new things to challenge you.

Since this course I've tried to be more aware of my body & not force it into these shapes it won't in....square peg in round hole sort of deal. I've embraced my shape & have done more to show it off & flatter who I really am - both with make up & with clothes. I love trying new things and am really loving how I'm looking at my wardrobe now! I've just started wearing lipstick & started with red. I thought 'thats safe, I'll get a few looks maybe & then everyone will be like 'that's a normal color'" But I didn't want a normal color! So the Vivids collection from Maybelline is now mine! Give me all the colors!

Fat used to be so negative with me, especially when I was younger. I really struggled to fit in with my friends' clothes & when I didn't feel cute in what they wore I didn't know what to do! Even into college when my friend's and I'd go shopping I'd often leave empty handed. It was discouraging. It's made me thrifty though - boy do I love a thrift store. Creating today's looks, not only for less but more uniquely? yes please! I also found the world of plus sized clothing. This stuff was made for me!

I think I've embraced the word fat because I've realized that it's me....and it's not something to be ashamed of. This is one reason why I like sharing outfits on my blog because I'm a real person with a real body! I want to get back to it, but with a boyfriend who travels for work & a horrible camera timer....I'm gonna have to invest in something better!

whitejenna said...

So. I don't think I'm there yet....I did use fat in a sentence referencing myself this week w/ a friend. But except for the THats FAT! movement of the 90's I still don't prefer the word. I got picked on a lot as a very chubby girl. Then I was a chubby girl with breasts in 4th grade. Love my curves, but still have to work on it. As for art....didn't have a chance what with school and 40 hrs a week....maybe I'll catch up.

whitejenna said...

I'm so excited for you! I think we should all have fun with our look and not let anything hold us back-I cut my hair back again this week too :)

whitejenna said...

I think a book is a great idea! And be sure to share lots of vintage and thrifting ideas for us fat bitches who love variety!

whitejenna said...

Hi Jess! Its me, Jenna-from Blythe Kingdom! I was so super excited to see you are taking the course too!!

Qaroline QZ said...

Sorry for being so late with this week's assignment! This is my blogpost:
Have a fabulous week - love, Qaroline

GimliGirl said...

I love using the word fat because I'm only average size, which IS FAT according to the current beauty norms (and 'health' norms). I say "Yeah, I'm fat" and people respond with "No! You're not fat!" and I say 'Oh yes I am, and that's ok. This is what fat looks like, but noone ever thinks of it this way." It's an opportunity to show how ridiculous the notion of 'overweight' is. Over WHAT weight, I like to ask! :)

Erin Kys said...

Here's this week's homework!

Vanessa said...

I am very new to the fat acceptance movement. It has been *hard*. After a life time of drinking the sugar free kool-aid and cultivating a fairly strong hatred for myself and other fat people, as well as a life of growing up in a family of fat, constantly body shaming women - I made the decision to change it.

For me, one of the most important moments for me on this new journey was talking to a friend of mine about it. I had been exploring the fat blogosphere for a while and finally felt a shred of confidence in backing up the belief that I am a human being with an inherent right to respect and felt a need to try on this new belief system. Test the waters I guess.

I decided to bring this up to one of my friends who is Deaf (I am a sign language interpreter) and repeatedly spelled the word FAT rather than used one of the many, what I feel - are derogatory signs for fat. (Grabbing a chubby cheek. Using both hands and puffed cheeks to show the large size of a person. A sign which represents a person so fat they cant walk). Now, to be fair, the Deaf community is one of the bluntest groups of people outside of Israel. They are all about visual descriptions and telling it like it is. But I personally made the choice to not use these signs for the point you brought up - neutrality. So, while I may be purposely refusing to use the language of a oppressed group with a long history of oppression, I felt it was important for defining the line of my own identity and feelings towards the word.

We were having a discussion about buying clothing. He's thin to the point he can shop in the childrens section if he chooses and tried to being up that the problem with the clothing industry could be remedied by me making my own clothes since many stores don't carry things in my size. I disagreed and started into the discussion on think privilege and fat discrimination and how it affects me. He was totally thrown off by my spelling of the word FAT. This lead into a long discussion of why I was spelling it (he kept trying to show me the signs I should use and I then had to explain my problems with each). He remained pretty wide eyed throughout the discussion.

But in the end he seemed to really take a lot of what I said to heart, and that was incredibly validating. I guess not only from the stand point of having a thin person validate my experience as a fat person, but just having a friend hear me out and be supportive. The whole conversation has really left a lasting mark on me and made me feel much more improved in my usage of the word.

Although I will admit that while I feel fine these days describing myself as a fat person, I have noticed that I get a little hesitant using the word around other fat people. On the one hand - it has been totally empowering for me to be exposed to fat acceptance rhetoric, but the negativity associate with the word is still not very distant for me.

It has definitely been a amazing journey so far, and I know I still have a long trip ahead of me.

Thank you so much for offering this class! <3

My FAT art. I was going to do pictures of my face, but it's after midnight and I just got home from a 4 hour lecture class. I look dead. So here's a sign language lesson instead. ;)

Shaunta said...

Here's my assignment for this week:

One of the most exciting things to me about being involved with body acceptance is the de-villianization of the word fat. I don't avoid the word brown to describe my hair and eyes or the word big when I talk about my feet. And I don't avoid the word fat any more either. Every step I take toward really loving my body makes me feel stronger and more confident. Who wouldn't love that?

Amy Stoner said...

Great idea and great assignment! I wanted to share a painting I made to celebrate my own fat and sassy self!

Becky Bedbug said...

Here's my task number one. I'm still a little unsure about what to do for task 2. I'll have a think of something, I'm sure.


Sarah Clarke-McDougal said...

Hey Rachele! I am really late but here is my second assignment! I LOVED completing this one and I hope you like it!

Chels Stenvert said...

I'm anorexic and I've got to the point where I can sometimes use the word in my mind but I would still rather die than use it as a description of myself, OUT LOUD. Though when that time comes (as I'm sure it will!) I plan to immediately open a bottle of champers and CELEBRATE!!!! ^_^

Tracy said...

It's been really hard for me to come to terms with the word "fat." I grew up with a fat mom who has spent her entire life trying not to be fat. She's hated herself, and she would never admit that she was fat. After years of being told to lose weight and seeing fat as the opposite of attractive, I've realized that I can be both fat and sexy!

Rebekah Langton said...

Hey Rachele! This week I'll be making my contribution to Jess of Milky Robot's new zine! All about fat bellies :D. I used to associate fat with self abuse, it'd be what I'd say when I was crying my heart out after kids at school taunted me with the word. It's now simply an accurate description of my body, my beautiful awesome body that I live my life with and do everything the world can offer! <3

Here's my first assignment (psst, I'm a little behind!)

Rebekah Langton said...

Also! The tinkling of the cat toy was seriously confusing my cat!

lateshoes said...

Yes! I finally finished this one.
For years I used, "chubby" to describe myself. It's a cute word. A safer, less threatening word.
It was better than, "chunky" - the word my grandmother used to describe me and 1000% better than "obese." BLERRRGGGGH
But, there is power in embracing FAT. The more I use it, the more comfortable I become with the reality of my body and the less power it has when used by others to insult me.
True story. Back when my sweetie and I were still dating we were caught in a terrible traffic moment where another driver yelled at us.
Jerky driver: F*CK YOU! AND YOUR FAT WIFE!!!!!!!
Take that, creep!

Melissa Bunn said...

Everyones assignments are amazing! I haven't done mine yet :( only just registered :D Look forward to it :D

Big Fat Betty said...

SO many comments! I must schedule some time to have a gander. I'm terribly behind, sorry:

Melissa said...

Oh man - am I ever late to the party this time!! Here's a link to my assignment.

Rachel, this one challenged me a lot. I found myself struggling and struggling to reclaim a word that's been so loaded with negativity my whole life (hence why it took me so damn long). You could call it a big fat rant, if you will. Now that it's posted, though - I feel so amazing. Yes, I am fat, I am an awesome fat bitch and I love it.

Ms. Gosling. ♥♡♥ said...

I reclaimed the word fat and for me it went from "i'm fat and its a bad thing" to "i'm FAT and awesome and those two words go together!" I love this and i am so excited about it.

Amy Kelly said...

My take on assignment 2. :)

Mrs K said...

I'm fat

lovenlols said...

I think this challenge is going to be one of the hardest for me. I think there's probably going to be some crying involved. There's a lot of back-story and baggage and identity caught up in the word fat for me and I think this is definitely something I should do...but it's going to be tough, and it may take me some time. Even thinking about doing it threatens the overflow of emotions.

Brooke said...

I love that fat isn't going to be a trigger word of insecurity for me anymore.

Megan Williams said...

I did a blog post about this word. You are an inspiration!

Untypically Jia said...

Woo! Finally got around to doing this lesson. Loved it!!!

Nastassia Artalejo said...


Moonstrobe said...

F.A.T. It is mine!

Allison Kennedy said...

I am SO blogging this next, as I was just denied health insurance due to my BMI.

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