When she was called “fat” by another little girl, five-year-old Cambelle replied: “I’m not fat. I HAVE fat. And everybody has fat.”
Apparently the little girl simply responded, “Oh, okay.” Drama averted.
•My daughter told me that someone called her fat today.• ____________________ Cambelle: “Mama I need to tell you something” Me: “Okay baby, what’s up?”” C: “Yesterday at practice my shirt came up a little bit and my tummy was showing. The girl next to me looked at me and said that my tummy was fat.” >>Insert immediate mama bear reaction in my head’s internal dialogue “Oh no, here we go” I thought to myself<<, but I said: “Oh really? And what did you say to her?” C: “I told her that I’m not fat, I HAVE fat. And that everybody has fat. And I told her it’s okay to have fat.” >>Insert happy dance parenting win<<: “Wow Cambelle! I am SO proud of you for the way you handled that situation. Fat is not a bad word, I don’t think she was trying to hurt your feelings. It was so brave of you to help her understand that all people have fat, but that no one IS fat. And that it doesn’t make you a bad person if you have more or less of it. Did she have anything to say?” C: “She just said ‘oh, okay'” >>I couldn’t believe that my 5 year old daughter had been able to handle a situation with more grace than most 30 year olds.<< C: “Remember that time I told you that you were fat?” Me: “Yes baby, I do.” C: “I’m sorry I did that” Me: “Its’ okay baby, the most important thing is that you learned and now you can teach others and help change the world” ________________ Children aren’t born with hate inside them. They learn words from their environments and the things they see/hear, and they try them on for size. I can’t prepare my daughter for all of life’s situations, but I can help her to be a voice of compassion, humility and love. •And to anyone that will undoubtedly say that this is “promoting obesity,” please understand that preventing childhood bullying before it can even start is not a matter of weight, but of character.• Just do you babes Xoxo Allie & Cambelle
The mic drop was courtesy of Cambelle’s mom, self-love and body-positive author and speaker Allie Kimmey.
Kimmey had the body-shaming conversation with Cambelle in June, after she called her mom “fat” when she was upset with her.
My daughter called me fat today. She was upset I made them get out of the pool and she told her brother that mama is fat. I told her to meet me upstairs so we could chat. Me: “what did you say about me?” Her: “I said you were fat, mama, im sorry” Me: “let’s talk about it. The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy. Do you have fat?” Her: “yes! I have some here on my tummy” Me: “that’s right! So do I and so does your brother!” Her brother: “I don’t have any fat, I’m the skinniest, I just have muscles” Me: “actually everyone, every single person in the world has fat. But each of us has different amounts.” Her brother: ” oh right! I have some to protect my big muscles! But you have more than me” Me: “Yes, that’s true. Some people have a lot, and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other, do you both understand? Both: “yes, mama” Me: “so can you repeat what I said” Them: “yes! I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat, but everyone HAS fat and it’s okay to have different fat” Me: “exactly right!” Them: “can we go back to the pool now?” Me: no 🤣🤣 __________________ Each moment these topics come up i have to choose how I’m going to handle them. Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable. Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friends house whose parents have different values, watching a tv show or movie, overhearing someone at school- ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest. Give me a 🙌🏻 if this resonated w u! Just do you! Xoxo Allie
Kimmey made an important distinction for Cambelle — that you can’t “be” fat, just “have” fat — and imparted a crucial lesson that the little girl clearly took to heart: it doesn’t matter how much “fat” you have.
“Some people have a lot [of fat], and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other,” Kimmey explained, recounting the conversation in an Instagram post.
Kimmey went on to say that she chose not to scold her daughter for using the word “fat,” since that would reinforce the stigma associated with it.
“Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable,” wrote Kimmey.
The message is refreshing in its simplicity: fat, after all, is just a physical component of the human body. By not responding with a lecture, or even acknowledging “fat” as an insult at all, Kimmey takes away its power.
Teaching her daughter that having fat doesn’t make a person better or worse is important; it lets her know that physical appearance is not a competition.
But there’s something to be said for not having an overly-emotional response. By keeping the conversation more matter-of-fact, Kimmey demonstrates that “fat” is worth no more airtime or negativity than a pancreas.
It may still be August, but school is officially in session. *slow clap*