taking back

Once, when I was riding the bus home in middle school, a girl leaned over her seat and called me a “fat prude whore.” It’s an insult that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I mean, you can be a fat whore or a fat prude, but it’s really hard to be a prude whore. One cancels out the other. Also, I was dangerously underweight and a virgin at the time, so the only thing that even applied was prude. It was mean, but it was also kind of funny.

Now, at the ripe age of 23, I call myself fat, like, all the time. I also call myself a whore, or a slut, or a ho, or a whatever. Because I can. Y’all can’t, but I can. It’s called “reclaiming.” Look it up.

It’s not just me, either. In the LGBTQ+ community, many people are reclaiming words like “fag,” “twink” and even “queer.” Other communities or groups of people are reclaiming their ability to have their own words. Sex workers, for example, are no longer called prostitutes.

The annoying thing about this is how some people react to me calling myself any of the above terms. More than once, I have referred to myself as a “fat ass” in the company of an acquaintance who will respond, “Oh my god! Don’t call yourself fat. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!”

Listen, I didn’t say I was ugly. I said I was fat. I’m fuckin’ gorgeous and chubby. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. People need to understand that. Am I saying you should call chubby people fat? No. You probably shouldn’t call them anything. But you should let them call themselves whatever they want if that’s what they want to do.

I like being curvy and having a nice amount of body. I like my body. It’s nice. And it’s not anyone’s business what I call myself.

A big one is the reclaiming of words like “slut” and “bitch.” Women have always been degraded for their sexual experiences, whether their “body count” is high or low. They’ve been historically called whores and sluts for having any amount of sex, or none at all, if you remember the first anecdote I gave you. Men, though, have been historically praised for high numbers of sexual partners and experiences. They’re called “studs” and “the man.” They’re viewed as badasses for getting all that ass. Remember Barney Stinson from “How I Met Your Mother?” He slept with, like, hundreds of women and is regarded (for most of the series) as a hero by a lot of male characters. But Ted, at one point, judges Robin for her number of sexual partners.

So for a lot of women, using words like “slut” is a way of reclaiming their sexuality. It’s a way of saying, “Yeah, I have a lot of sex. And I like it.” Because for many people, sex is natural and fun, and it’s not something anyone should be shamed for. Women and men should be allowed to own their sexuality.

That’s why some women call themselves sluts and some call themselves fat. We’re reclaiming words that have been used against us for decades to make us feel bad, when really, we deserve to feel good about how sexy we are.