FAT IS NOT AN INSULT
I am a mother to a very precocious seven year old boy. This alone should say a lot, especially to other parents. He is a spitting image of his father but acts JUST like me. I love him for that but its also can be VERY exhausting. He experiences emotions the way I do, the quick ups and downs, the confidence, the sadness and of course he’s loud and bossy. But, he also has the biggest, most loving heart in the world. He wears that heart of his on his sleeve; just like me.
Note, I have always been a plus size woman, so growing up my son has always cuddled up to my belly and boobs as all babies do. As he says, he loves my “fluffy body”. To some this might be insensitive or even considered a negative comment, but to me this is how he is showing his love for me regardless of my size or shape. Kids, being 100% honest all of the time, are actually great at keeping you in check when it comes to self confidence. My son is the first to compliment me on an outfit and also the first to say my belly is fat. And that is OKAY! He is real, he is honest, and he is seven!
The other night I was tucking him in, as I do every night and he said “get in here big fatty”. My brain was very confused, to be honest. I immediately wanted to say “don’t say that” and tell him it wasn’t nice. But I am fat and that is something we have discussed many times. I want to raise him in a world where being called fat isn’t a bad thing. It is simply an adjective. I also get called loud ALL THE TIME and to that I say thank you because I would much rather be heard then ignored. In a world where people are hyper sensitive about words, I had to explain to him that he should not yell something like “big fatty” to just anyone. That yes I, your mother, am fat and that is okay, but if he said that to a teacher it would be uncalled for and could hurt her feelings. Not to mention he shouldn’t boss around adults! (Again, he comes by it honestly.)
This conversation made me think about the MANY times we have sat down and watched kids shows where a character was referred to as fat negatively. I have seen this on Scooby-Doo before where Daphne is cursed to be FAT! (OH the horror!) Also, on Johnny Test, Johnny is morphed into a fat kid by his sisters and of course, made fun of by other kids. So many times movies and TV shows portray the fat characters as the dumb ones, or the gross ones. This is not only teaching our children that fat people are some how less than skinny people, it’s just not right! Every time this happens in a show I want to turn it off and get upset. But that would be feeding into the notion that being fat is bad. I pause the show and talk it over with my son. Thankfully, after having done this so many times he understands that it is okay to be a different size, shape, or color. Like I often say to him, “yes we are all very different looking but we are all humans”.
I hope in years to come that my son learns from me and demonstrates that by how he acts as an adult. I hope he grows up to be a confident, smart man who treats all people equally. With all the love and passion he already has I know he can use it to be a positive light in an often dark world. I trust that by openly talking with my son about stigmas like obesity that I am doing the right thing by him. That I am doing my part to make a child love himself and others no matter how they look.