The Word ‘Obese’ Is Not An Insult, So Let’s Stop Using It As One


You should cease utilizing phrases that imply fats as an insult. Especially the phrase overweight. I imply, critically. Just cease it.

Last week, Anderson Cooper, in a second of warranted irritation with Donald Trump’s mood tantrum concerning the latest election, described the POTUS as “an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over.”


Really?? Come on, Anderson. “Like a turtle on its back” is a standard technique to describe somebody who’s powerless and struggling. Why did you are feeling the necessity to throw the phrase “obese” in there?

I’ll enterprise a guess: Because, like tens of millions of different individuals, phrases that imply fats run to the tip of your tongue if you wish to harm or malign somebody, particularly when your feelings are operating excessive.

Fatphobia is simply that ingrained in virtually all of us.

Oh, Anderson.

It was completely superb so that you can level out that Donald Trump is a petulant man-baby who all the time screams, “No fair!” when he doesn’t get his approach. He’s the chief of a whole coutnry, and if he doesn’t need individuals to touch upon his poor habits, he ought to act higher.

But it was not superb to default to insulting the dimensions of his physique when selecting your feedback. That’s the place this simile went sideways.

Donald Trump will not be a skinny man. By most requirements, Donald Trump is fats. But he doesn’t suck as a result of he’s fats. He sucks, and he’s fats. Those are unconnected details.

Now, I like Anderson Cooper. He comes throughout as a pleasant man to me. His child is cute. He is likable and good, and I consider him when he says he regrets that individual alternative of phrases. Nobody panic and cancel Anderson Cooper.

This isn’t actually an Anderson Cooper downside.

He is likely to be the latest instance, however that is really a society downside.

Society doesn’t like fatness or fats individuals. Fat jokes are all over the place. People are frightened of ever turning into fats. Our total tradition is obsessive about striving for thinness. The food regimen business makes billions of {dollars} yearly for a purpose. Going from fats to skinny is all the time thought-about a glow-up transformation, with no regard for a way or why it occurred. Fatphobia is actually all over the place.


The phrase “obese” is very problematic as a result of it’s a medical time period.

It has no place exterior of a medical setting (and a few would argue its place inside a medical setting is questionable, too). You would by no means throw out another analysis so as to harm somebody. You’d respect an individual’s medical historical past as non-public and largely out of their management. Obesity is among the few conditions whereby an individual is given a analysis after which blamed virtually fully for it.

Furthermore, an weight problems analysis usually results in medical neglect for fats individuals, and that sucks. We deserve enough care. Every single factor that goes flawed in fats individual’s physique can’t and shouldn’t be dismissed as obesity-related. And but, that’s exactly what occurs to many people time and time once more.

If fats persons are sick of the phrase “obese,” it’s as a result of it’s been used as a weapon to justify our mistreatment for fully too lengthy. The science of physique measurement is sophisticated, and fatphobia shares roots with different kinds of oppression, together with racism. Weight bias and fats stigma are sometimes heaped onto already marginalized individuals as another hurdle they’ve to beat so as to be handled humanely. I’m fats, however my different types of privilege usually shield me from hurt. Many fats individuals can’t say the identical.

Stop utilizing “obese” as an insult.

It’s not your individual private adjective to shoot like a poison arrow at anybody you don’t like. It’s an unlucky and stigmatizing medical descriptor. Take the phrase overweight out of your vocabulary until you’re referring to your individual analysis (as a result of, for higher or for worse, I consider you need to get to decide on your individual descriptors), or you’re a medical skilled. Even then, discover a approach to make use of it sparingly, with out attaching disgrace and stigma to it, or discover one other phrase.

But simply throwing out the phrase overweight will not be sufficient.

If you’re looking for to explain somebody in an unfavorable approach, resist the urge to convey the dimensions of their physique into the dialog in any respect. It’s irrelevant and it makes you look unintelligent. Nobody ever gained respect by being a extremely stellar body-shamer.

You would possibly assume it’s no massive deal. Maybe you’d by no means use physique measurement to harm a pleasant, form, ethical individual, however you assume it’s okay if the individual is known and gained’t ever hear you, or if their habits makes you are feeling like they actually “deserve it.” You’re flawed.


When harmless fats individuals hear public figures and their family and friends describing different individuals as fats so as to insult or malign them, it hurts us, too. Nobody deserves to listen to fat-related phrases used as insults as a result of being fats will not be inherently destructive. The measurement of an individual’s physique has no bearing on whether or not they’re form, ethical, respectable, or clever. There is actually by no means a purpose to touch upon it.

Sometimes, a fats individual goes to do one thing that sucks.

It’s completely appropriate to name them out for it, particularly if they’re the chief of the free world. But keep on subject and resist the urge to convey their physique measurement into the equation.

Body-shaming isn’t mandatory or okay. Ever. Fat persons are allowed to exist within the our bodies that we now have with out accepting that a lot of the world simply will get to speak about us like we’re much less human than everybody else. Find a technique to be higher. Fat individuals don’t deserve to listen to a relentless stream of disrespect, insults and disgrace simply since you’re too lazy to confront your fatphobia and study a factor or two.

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