Thought Catalog
January 23, 2015

‘Fat’ And ‘Curvy’ Are Not The Same

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What is the issue?
Flickr / Philipp
Flickr / Philipp

In the last few years, it has become the so-called “polite” thing to call a fat person “curvy” so as to appear less harsh/make them feel sexier and more desired/appear to be accepting of anything other than a size 0.

And while politeness, skirting the issue, and trying to find a way to accept such a body shape is no bad thing, we need to stop lumping (excuse the pun) these people together with actual curvy girls. This is not a fat-shaming exercise; it’s simply an observation about the way we view body image. Curves imply arcs, parts of the body that wave in and out—not rolls of excess fat and skin, sagging over the bones it’s meant to be covering.

It’s bad enough that we have to contend with the fact that plus-size models are actually still below the average dress size of women in the country, but to lump all those not fitting one boyish, skinny frame as “curvy” is just obscene. You wouldn’t call a rectangle a square because it has the same number of sides, so why should you bundle together different types of women who are completely different just because their clothes are labeled above a certain number?

It may be harsh to say, but there’s no way a healthy naturally curvy girl wants to be thought of in the same bracket as someone who resembles the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, looking like their kneecaps will crumble under their own weight in a few years. Curvy is Jessica Rabbit. Curvy is no more Melissa McCarthy than it is Kate Moss any day of the week. So why is it easy for us to distinguish skinny from athletic, athletic from curvy, but not curvy from a more rounded figure to a clinically obese person?

If we want to accept all body types and people of all shapes and sizes, shouldn’t we first establish that there are actual major differences in body types? Forget the numbers, the labels, the scales, and everything else—just use your eyes. There’s a visible difference. This is fact. So let’s address it.

We may be years away from the fashion industry opening up to the possibility of shapes other than a straight, thin line, but we can all start to change our own attitudes today. Be real, be honest, and call a spade a spade for crying out loud. TC mark

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