Fat Talk Free Week is a 5-day body image and health awareness campaign created by the Tri Delta sorority. This campaign strives to bring attention to the “thin ideal” on women in our society. Media coverage on “self-hating, body-shaming statements” has brought to light this issue that plagues both men and women of all ages. Recently, a popular article on body-shaming has been circulating the social media world. This personal story shares the powerful impact that women can have on one of our most precious values, our children. In fact, I learned the word “diet” when I was 7 years old. While I didn’t know its true definition, I did understand that it was something one did to lose weight and it meant you had to eat cottage cheese and beets every day for lunch.
One of the main problems with the issue of body-shaming is that it is accepted in most social circles. I know I have been a part of conversations where all of us gals talked about the parts of our bodies we hated or would like to change. It almost seems too natural to publicly announce our dissatisfactions with our bodies. In fact, here are some interesting facts listed on the Tri Delta’s Body Image 3D website:
• 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.
• More than 90% of girls ages 15 to 17 want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.
• 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
• 1 out of 8 adolescent girls reported starving themselves to lose weight.
• 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities like giving an opinion, going to school and going to the doctor because they feel badly about their looks.
• 40% of moms tell their adolescent daughters to diet. 45% of these are of average weight.
• 70 million people worldwide struggle with eating disorders.
Last year, Tri Delta launched their Body Image 3-D program. This movement was established to create a multi-dimensional approach to body image awareness and education. Their mission is to help girls and women focus on all aspects of health, not just physical features when considering one’s body image. According to their website, this month’s challenge is to color your plate with an assortment of fruits and vegetables. The focus of this challenge is being healthy, not skinny. One thing I always try to communicate is that healthy and skinny should not be used synonymously. Just because someone is “skinny” does not mean that they have healthy lifestyle habits.
As a former self-hater, I couldn’t agree more with this campaign. I’ll admit I used to cut out pictures of Victoria’s Secret models and celebrities and paste them to the refrigerator hoping one day I would be perfectly tanned with a six-pack. Thanks to the additional efforts of the Dove campaign we now know how unnatural and air-brushed those flawless magazine pictures and ads really are. We have a serious issue on our hands and the change needs to start within ourselves. With self-hating statements like “My thighs are too wide” or “I look so ugly today”, we end up becoming our own worst enemies.
I encourage you to join the movement and participate in Fat Talk Free Week. Inspire change in the way we think and feel about our bodies and remember, it starts with you.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” –Muhatma Gandhi