Whitney Way Thore doesn’t have a problem with calling herself fat. In an August 31 Instagram post, the star of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life defended her use of the word to describe herself after some fans who took issue with the way she talked about her body.
“I don’t need to distance myself from the word fat. I don’t need a euphemism,” she wrote in the lengthy social media post.
Whitney Way Thore’s throwback photo sparked the debate
The debate over the use of the word fat started on August 27, when Thore shared a throwback photo of herself as a young girl wearing a rainbow swimsuit with an animal print pattern.
“Bringing you high fashion since 1988. But seriously, can I get this suit in size fat?” she wrote.
While many people got a kick out of the fun ‘80s-era snapshot, a number of Thore’s nearly 1 million Instagram followers felt the need to comment on the way she talked about herself — and reassure her that she was beautiful.
“Don’t you dare smack talk yourself,” one wrote.
“You are not fat…. you are beautiful!!” another commented.
The ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’ star called the comments ‘insulting’
Thore’s followers appeared to mean well, but their remarks didn’t sit right with the reality star. In a follow-up post, she explained why she didn’t hesitate to call herself fat and why she had a problem when people tried to tell her she shouldn’t use that word.
“It’s actually insulting to insist that a fat person who has identified as fat actually isn’t fat,” she wrote. “If you try to convince me otherwise, you’re simply reinforcing the notion that being fat is bad and not making any damn sense because I am obviously fat.”
Insisting a person was not fat but “beautiful!/funny!/smart!/successful!” wasn’t actually empowering, Thore argued. Instead, it “means that you have not reconciled that a person can simultaneously be fat and possess good qualities and be likable.”
“It’s disrespectful to tell someone that the way they identify is wrong,” she added. Thore went on to explain that she was on a “long journey” to accepting the word fat as neutral and treating it “as a descriptor like any other — short, brunette, and white are also adjectives I use to describe me and none are good or bad.” Calling herself fat wasn’t a “put-down,” she concluded.
Many fans appreciated Thore’s comments
A few people thought Thore was being rude or defensive and that she should just accept the compliments from her followers. But many of Thore’s fans appreciated her shedding light on why she was OK calling herself fat.
“I really need to find a way to make peace with this word,” one replied. “Thank you for this post. It’s motivating.”
“This goes so deep for me,” another commented. “It took me 15 years to be comfy calling myself fat. Now that I do, I feel more beautiful than I ever have before.”