What Eating Disorder Sufferers Think Of The Word "Fat"

February 24th 2016

Laura Donovan

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Seattle based publication has released a powerful, informative video revealing how people struggling with eating disorders respond to one word: "fat."

Some had a positive response to the word "fat," saying that fat can be good and shouldn't have such a stigma in our culture.

The negative responses.

Many others in the video had a negative reaction to the word, an unsurprising reality given how hard it can be to fully recover from eating disorders, which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

The association between weight and failure.

Some of the video's subjects said they associated thinness with success and happiness and the word "fat" with failure:

A man featured in the video say he associated his own "fat" as failure, but didn't apply that standard to others:

The video received ample praise on social media for highlighting the complicated, fraught reality of living with an eating disorder and having body image issues:



Cultural views surrounding the word "fat."

The word "fat" can conjure many negative feelings in both those who suffer from eating disorders and in those who don't. As a result, members of the body positive movement have chosen to celebrate the word in hopes of normalizing different body sizes and relay to others that there's nothing inherently wrong with being heavy. Photographer Substantia Jones, the creator of body positivity venture the Adipositivity Project, is one of those individuals.

Jones recently made news for photographing a diverse group of people for her Valentine's Day photo series this year. Jones told Mashable in an interview that she aims to combat the notion that "fat people are unworthy of love."

"It's become a means to juice up the holiday, to validate the relationships of the otherwise invisible, or to provide an alternative to the whole damn heart-shaped month of February," Jones told Mashable. "The unenlightened like to believe fat people are unworthy of love and long-term romantic partnerships. To that, we say, 'Bite me.'"

Jones told Mic in an interview that her project apparently helped some of her participants overcome negative feelings they had about their looks.

"Some tell me seeing my photos has been transformational for them, easing their body shame and arming them with what they need to push back against size-ist bigotry," Jones told Mic. "Others just tell me they're pleased to add the Adipositivity Project to their fat acceptance arsenal."

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