If a Prius driven by a body positivity warrior collides with an electric bicycle driven by the language police, who wins? Me and you, because we are standing across the street minding our own business, believing in free speech.
This hypothetical scenario unfolded in an Edmonton clothing store. An employee was just fired from Addition Elle, a plus size women's clothing store, because of how she described her new job there on her Facebook profile. Connie Levitsky proudly touted her new job at Addition Elle by describing her job on Facebook as “conquering the world, one well dressed fat lady at a time.” She had to change her post once her manager had seen it, and then she was fired. Ms. Levitsky is a bigger girl herself, someone Addition Elle might call curvy or shapely. But Connie calls herself fat.
Fat is not a swear word. It’s both an adjective and a noun. It can be accurate and honest. I’m sympathetic to people who struggle with their weight, don't get me wrong, but words are only words. Do overweight women really need the language police to protect their feelings? Are they really so delicate that the language of other women, even the language of women of the same size, needs to be monitored? I refuse to believe that. Bigger girls are just as capable of being strong and confident as smaller ones.
I don't believe in language policing and it's strange to me that the entire “take back the word fat” crowd is now victim to another faction of the social justice movement, the speech totalitarians. These speech totalitarians will tell you how to describe reality. They'll tell you how to describe yourself. They will even tell you how words make you feel. And doesn’t this all seem so ironic coming from the same side of the political spectrum that says you can declare yourself anything and we all must accept it? You can declare yourself a woman, and man or even transracial and society must accept it as fact, yet a young woman can’t call herself fat without losing her job.
This young lady who got fired was someone who seemed to be happy in her skin and seemed happy to make others feel good in their own skin, too. That seems like the kind of person you’d want working in a store that caters to plus sized women.
And speaking of skin. Everyone in society needs to get thicker skin, no matter what size that skin is.