“You look great have you lost weight?”
We are all guilty of thinking and saying stuff like this–to our family members, to our friends and even to ourselves. We are all guilty of self-criticism when we look in the mirror and notice that the skirt that fit us perfectly and hugged our hips in all the right places last season but doesn’t go past our thighs this season. We have all thought we were too fat, we have all dieted in hopes of becoming skinnier, more attractive, the “thin ideal.”
Women have more pressure than ever right now to look attractive, to dazzle with our appearance, to wear all the right fashions and to strive to look like the women who grace the covers of magazines. This is especially true of younger women and teens who obsess over this thin ideal and who will stop at nothing to attain it. These thoughts that so often enter our brains and things people tell us, whether we have gained weight and they ask if we are under stress because of it or if we lose weight and we’re told how great we look because we shed five or ten or fifteen pounds. While we’ve undoubtedly thought this was normal, it actually has a very damaging impact on women. That is why Tri Delta has launched a five-day body activism campaign, Fat Talk Free Week.
Fat Talk Free Week (October 19th-23rd) draws attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the thin ideal on women in society. This annual public awareness effort stemmed from Tri Delta’s award-winning body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections: Body Image Program.
The supermodels and people we see on the covers of magazines are thinner than 98% of women and a great percentage of these women think that they too can look just like what they see on these magazine covers and on television and in movies, but often we see, especially on magazine covers, is an airbrushed and heavily-photoshopped appearance of that person. Not even the person being put on the pedestal of ideal weight and beauty looks like that! Tri-Delta is in pursuit of the healthy ideal, which has absolutely no bearing on our weight or size. The healthy ideal is all about our physical health, mental health and our quality of life and that is what truly matters. Tri Delta’s initiative this past week has been about eliminating fat talk and they believe that by eliminating fat talk, we can begin to change the way women think about their bodies and accept their bodies just the way they are because if you’re healthy, then why does anything else matter? Why do we care so much about the size that sits on the tags of our clothing or how other women and men may look at us and what they may think if they see us in a swimsuit or a form-fitting top or a short skirt.
- 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
- 51% of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet.
- Research has shown that very young girls, ages 5-7 who are exposed to Barbie, the best-selling fashion doll in the world who has unattainable and unhealthy body proportions and who if was a real person, would be too thin to menstruate, have lower body esteem and want a thinner body than they have.
- As many as 10 million females are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than are suffering from breast cancer.
Because it is the last day of Fat Talk Free Week, do something good for yourself today. Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you each like about yourself. Or start a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do. Learn how to take a compliment! The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting and saying something like “No, I’m so fat,” practice taking a deep breath and saying “Thank you.”