"But You Have Such A Pretty Face!" And Other Things You Should Stop Saying To Your Fat Friends Ramou Sarr

“But you have such a pretty face!”

I am willing to throw down my savings account and bet that every single fat girl in the world has heard this at least once. This week. It has been so imprinted in our brains that “fat” is a bad word, that we simply cannot help ourselves and jump to the defense of any – self-proclaimed or not – fat/chunky/big girl whenever one of those words is thrown her way. Fat is real, you guys! It is an actual thing. And not every fat girl spends her nights alone in her room depressed about it and cutting out photos of supermodels to hang on her refrigerator to remind her to go for the celery instead of that dark chocolate bar stashed in the back. In an effort to explain how some big girls get through life not obsessed with eliminating their fatness, I’ve compiled a list of things that you should probably stop saying to your fat friends. Starting with that first one:

But you have such a pretty face!
I’ve heard this one a lot and this is not a humble brag at all because after you hear it a few times, you start to think that people are saying it not because they think it’s true, but because they want to make you feel better about being fat. To which I say (and this is a straight up brag): Yeah. I know. My face is pretty fly! Fat and pretty (or hot or sickeningly beautiful or a bomb dime piece) are not mutually exclusive. You can be both. At the same time. Telling us that we have a pretty face can sometimes come off as if you think that that’s all we’ve got going for us and we would be worthless without it. Thank goodness you’ve got that pretty face, girl! Because if I didn’t? Would I be summoned to the life of a hermit, only leaving my apartment to pay the guy who delivers my groceries and the occasional emergency trip for toilet paper? Because what else do I have to offer the world!?

Have you tried [X workout]?
Yes. Probably. A common misconception about fat people is that we’re lazy and simply don’t have the capabilities to figure out how to operate the elliptical machine. Believe it or not, some of us work out regularly. Some of us work out when we feel like it. And some of us don’t work out at all. Just like thin people! I was a runner at one point. I tore my ACL in college and was forced to start swimming for cardio. I got really into yoga and pilates for a bit. For a month, I dragged myself to a 6am spin class at my gym. This one time, I got really motivated by So You Think You Can Dance and started taking hip hop classes on the weekend. I know how to work out and I’ve been doing it forever, and it’s never made me thin. Despite a few spurts of weight loss in my early twenties, I’ve realized that I was simply not blessed with a thin, athletic body, regardless of how much cardio I do.

Do you want to cut carbs with me?
The only acceptable answer to this – fat or not – is: Absolutely not! Kidding aside, much like that of fitness fads, so many fat folks have already tried so many diets. We live in the world too, and we’re subjected to the same array of crash diets that the media feeds us that you are. I’ve been a vegetarian, a vegan, on the paleo diet, on no-carb (I know!) and “just cutting back on dairy.” Most of these changes in my diet came with the belief that they would change my body. I believed that simply cutting out animal products would give me the body of a ballerina. If I could manage to up my protein intake and drastically cut carbs I would look like a strong, yet feminine, bikini model. But even at my thinnest, I was still a big girl who had a hard time getting pants over her thighs, and it had very little to do with my carb intake. I’ve been through the diet roller coaster, and I’ve yet to emerge from one thin. It’s not always the food. Sometimes it’s just us. And some of us are so over cutting out pizza indefinitely in the hopes of obtaining a different body.

You are NOT fat!
Girl, stop. Yes, I am. And as I’ve mentioned before, 75% of the time I’m 90% okay with it. Referring to myself as “fat” isn’t always self-deprecating or an indication of low self-esteem or an insult to myself. It’s not a bad word and it doesn’t make me feel gross. It’s just what it is. I’ve accepted it, and you should too.

Now trust me, it took me a long time to get to the point where I can proudly yell, “I’m fat!” and not collapse in a heap of sadness and anger at what I perceived to be my own lack of self-control that was keeping me from the body of my dreams. Sure, there are times when I’m really not friends with my body – and at least once a month I curse my lower stomach for being a butt head – but for the most part, my body and I are totally buddies. Maybe in the future I’ll decide that I’m not okay with it and I’ll make some changes. For now though, life is so much easier when I embrace the body that I have, love it, take care of it, and just keep doin’ me.

Image via Shoebox

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  1. Amen!

  2. Yes. Hero.

  3. One of my favs was from my (obsessively super-skinny) sister in law upon hearing a story about a cute guy that i had sex with: “But I didn’t think you were the kind of girl who had sex!” LOL…yes darling. Even fat girls get laid.

  4. “75% of the time I’m 90% okay with it” – haha, anyone else confused by the unexpected maths?

    No seriously… amazing article. We need someone to SAY these things damnit! Glad you’re doing it here! :)

  5. If I wasn’t Ramou’s number one fan already…..

  6. Thanks for this post, Ramou! People’s attempts to make me feel better are mostly unnecessary, and I bet that’s true for lots of ladies.

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