'Fat Acceptance': Women Embrace the F-word

Celebrities from Oprah to former tennis phenomenon Monica Seles have proclaimed the merits of accepting yourself for your size.

The Internet is bulging with blogs and support groups with women boasting that fat is "flabulous." In the size acceptance movement, "fat" has become like the b-word in the feminist movement.

"I grew up learning that fat was a dirty word," said Harding, "that fat was something that I didn't want to be. It's a matter of reclaiming the word from all those negative connotations."

Model Crystal Renn is hardly fat. At size 12, she is still thinner than the average American woman, who wears a size 14.

"I say voluptuous," she said. "That's what I feel comfortable with and that's what I am. Everyone has their different word and if you say it with a positive meaning, more power to you."

The idea is also showing up on television, where the lifetime sitcom "Drop Dead Diva" has become a breakout hit among women.

The show's main character is a former model who died in a car crash and was reincarnated as a smart, likeable, but larger attorney, played by actress Brooke Elliott.

"To me, the message is that everyone is beautiful," said Elliott. "You don't have to be a size 0 to be beautiful, to know your worth, to know how gorgeous you are and to act accordingly, you know."

Women Should 'Know Their Worth'

In the face of shows like "The Biggest Loser" and "Dance Your Ass-off," the "Drop Dead Diva" heroine eventually choose to lose her self-loathing, instead of the pounds.

For Elliott, the lead role is a vast improvement over the days when she was cast as the sugar bowl in Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast." But in Hollywood, being a plus-size actress -- even a great looking one -- can still be cruel.

"It doesn't hurt my feelings as much as it shows me how much further we have to go," said Elliott, "It takes a while to transition and I think our society as a whole is craving a transition."

Or maybe they're just falling in line with reality. More than 60 percent of American women are considered overweight, but are they, perhaps, the new "normal"?

"There are all these stereotypes that fat people are in denial, that we're ignorant, that we just don't know about good nutrition," said Harding. "That's just not the case. I don't think anybody else should get to tell me what is over the natural weight for my body."

Flipping through the September issue of Vogue, Renn says she is starting to see change. "What a perfect person to put on the cover, Charlize Theron. So comfortable in her body," she said.

Renn says she no longer struggles to fit onto the page. In fact, some of the pages are adjusting to fit her.

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