Black Girl PHat Girl??

Fat. Fat… fat… FAT! FAT! FAT! FAT! FAT!!!!!

Now that that’s out of the way.

Having been a relentlessly voluptuous human from birth, I was around the word FAT quite a lot and it never really meant anything to me other than that people felt the need to point out the pudgy goodness that the good Lord had blessed my sister and I with. This was of course prior to my sister going to study in Pietermaritzburg and returning as a short haired, fashion forward, SKINNY, city girl.

Side bar: my younger brother and I were the exact same size but everyone would just talk about how he was going to be tall one day… he’s the tallest person in my family now but that’s besides the point.

I was troubled to see how the grown ups in our community would put my sister and I up against one another

Mrs So and So: Oh your sister lost so much weight, she looks so much younger than you now!

Someone’s second aunt: uKhulphaliswa yini usis’wakho enciphe kahle kangaka? Intombhazane akmele ikhulphale ize ibe ngaka nganyam. (Why are you so fat when your sister is so nice and thin? A young lady shouldn’t be TOO fat)

While all this was happening I fell in love with MoNique of The Parkers. MoNique was about everything that I’m about (I speak in past tense because I haven’t checked in on her as of late); she got the hot men, she was funny, SHE NEVER SHAVED HER LEGS an of course she coined the phrase “PHAT”. But I had a problem, why was there a need to change the spelling of the word to change the meaning. Language is indeed prone to evolution because of its every day use by millions of people communicating different cultures at different times BUT the definition of FAT is:

  1. mass noun A natural oily substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.
1.1 A fatty substance made from animal or plant products, used in cooking.
1.2 The presence of excess fat in a person or animal.

‘he was a tall man, running to fat’
Words only hold as much power as we allow them too. So too the people who keep saying: OH BUT, you’re not fat, Sphum.
To the lady who asked if she (as a “slim” person) could speak about Black Girl Fat Girl with her learners without offending them.
To the self esteems that are shattered DAILY at the thought of  this word, F-A-T… I used the word FAT over 10 times in this piece AND THE WORLD DIDN’T END… who would have thought.
“I’m plump like a roast and thicker than most” MoNique, Phat Girls
By Siphumelele Chagwe



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