If referring to someone as fat were the same as referring to someone as a brunette or tall or freckled, a woman's refusal to describe herself as such would be weird. But, collectively, we're not there yet. The word "fat" has power because the word "fat" has consequences.
I believe that the majority of the time, weight stigma in a health care setting is a misguided attempt to help. But that does not excuse rudeness, shaming, guilt, scare tactics, cruelty, or poor medical care.
The conversation I would like to have about obesity is about acceptance and being kind to each other. By all means, make a commitment to better health by attaining your ideal weight if you can, but leave the self- and other-loathing at the refrigerator door.
Whether subtle or blatant, weight stigma is broadcast into our living rooms and shows up in our classrooms, break rooms, and exam rooms. For many people, weight stigma hits even closer to home: right between our ears!