Fat Talk Free Week Inspires 5C Students to Spread Positive Body Image Awareness

By Jessie Coleman '13Staff Writer

Oct. 19 - 23 was Fat Talk Free Week at Scripps, hosted by the Sallie Tiernan Field House. This year’s slogan is “Friends Don’t Let Friends Fat Talk”. “Fat talk” is defined as any negative talk about body image, ranging from unrealistic comparisons to the thin ideal of women endorsed by the media. Examples of fat talk would be: “My thighs are too big,” “Why is he dating her? She’s too chubby,” or “Do I look fat in this? Fat talk also includes good intentioned comments such as, “You look great! Have you lost weight?” The main goal of this event is to educate women at Scripps and the other 5C’s about fat talk in the hopes for eventually eliminating it. “Fat Talk Free Week” was established three years ago by the Body Reflections Program at Trinity University and promoted through the Delta Delta Delta sorority. It is now on more than 50 college campuses in the U.S. and Canada, but it is an event and idea that can be hosted by any group or institution that would like to help spread awareness about the importance of positive body image.

The event raises awareness about the importance of reinforcing positive self-image for women in everyday conversation. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, almost 10 million American women suffer from anorexia or bulimia. Rather than focusing on the negative, women are encouraged to reinforce positive attitudes about their intellect, social life and emotional qualities. This discourages women from focusing on all physical attributes and instead on the important characteristics of who they really are as a person. Remaining conscious about fat talk can aid in maintaining better self-esteem and confidence in yourself. This is in hopes for “changing the conversation” about body image for the better and to focus on realistically maintaining good health.

The events hosted by Tiernan Field House included discussions and workshops to promote dialogue between students about how fat talk affects the daily lives of so many people. Students were also encouraged to pledge not to engage in fat talk for the week, with the hope of continuing on after “Fat Talk Free Week” ends. Discussions were led by students and by staff members. Students from Scripps and the other 5C’s were invited to participate in educating themselves about fat talk. This also provided a medium where students could share their personal issues with fat talk, where they notice it and how it has affected their lives. Students found that many of their peers share these insecurities; they are most definitely not alone. This curriculum also offers exercises to reinforce positive self-image, such as writing down one negative comment about yourself and then throwing it in the trash or looking in the mirror and saying “I’m beautiful”. “Friends don’t let friends fat talk” because friends don’t want to perpetuate dissatisfaction in other friends’ lives.