Campus joins anti-‘fat-talk’ campaign

From Vogue to ELLE, Bravo to MTV, the perception of women’s beauty never changes – a delicate bone structure, thin, flawless thighs and a size-0 waist.

Just from walking across campus, it’s easy to listen to women complain about their body structure: “Do I look fat in this?” or “I wish I was skinnier.”

But, beginning next Monday, UM will join Fat-Talk Free Week, a national campaign designed to end the stereotype of perfection and to prevent eating disorders, particularly for women.

“Fat-talk” is defined as any statement that may contribute to dissatisfaction with a woman’s body or reinforcement of the ideal body.

Essentially, Fat-Talk Free Week was created to raise awareness of the negative effects of “fat-talk” in our society. Its slogan is, “Friends don’t let friends fat-talk.”

The movement is an extension of The Center for Living, Learning and Leading – an organization supporting the national Delta Delta Delta sorority’s overall educational and leadership efforts – and the Reflections Body Image Program. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, nearly 10 million women in the U.S suffered from anorexia or bulimia in 2010.

“Body image right now is down the flusher for so many young people,” said Lynn Grefe, president of the National Eating Disorders Association, in an interview with TIME. “It’s one thing to have nice ads that say, ‘Feel good about yourself,’ but what they’re doing at Reflections is really ground-breaking.”

Efforts on campus will encourage students to sign a pledge showing their commitment to limit their “fat-talk” engagement. Ultimately, the organization hopes to make a significant impact on the link between body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.

“Putting together this kind of event can be challenging because people recognize how big of an issue this is on a college campus, but it becomes difficult getting people to take action,” said Vanessa Scaringi, a predoctoral psychology intern at the UM Counseling Center. “Hopefully, seeing that they just need to sign up to pledge a week free of fat-talk will get people to join in.”

A series of events will be held Oct. 17-21, including giveaways.


If you go

What: Fat-Talk Free Week

Where: To be announced

When: Oct. 17 through Oct. 21