National Fat Talk Free Week!
What is "fat talk"? Fat talk, according to the folks over at Fat Talk Free Week is this:
Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin-ideal standard of female beauty and contribute to women's dissatisfaction with their bodies. Examples of fat talk may include: "I'm so fat," "Do I look fat in this?" "I need to lose 10 pounds" and "She's too fat to be wearing that swimsuit." Statements that are considered fat talk don't necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet also reinforce the need to be thin - "You look great! Have you lost weight?"Why should you care about fat talk? Well, for one thing, we all do it, and it's not good for us. Fat talk reinforces the idea that thinness is the same as goodness, or that thinner people are better people than fatter people. We may think we're just complaining about our thighs, or even bonding with a friend over a shared angst. These things may be true, but - ultimately - when we engage in fat talk we're also buying into hierarchies about body size and shape that ultimately harm all women, even naturally thin women who are often treated with disdain by women who struggle to be thin. Learn more about the movement and ways to support it here: @ http://endfattalk.org.
Michael and I pledged to not say mean things about our bodies this week (yes, even we activist types sometimes indulge in negative body talk). I urge you to do the same. Even better, use this week as practice for the rest of your life! Think of how much positivity we can all spread by resisting this type of harmful discourse!
|I saw this and loved it. Then hated it. |
Then loved it again.
My body is perfect, my mind is a work in progress.
I'm feeling inspired. I'm feeling brave. I'm feeling bold. I'm posting a picture I took yesterday, of my stomach and legs. As I lounged at the pool with warm sun on my skin, I looked down and (gasp!) really loved what I saw, and how I felt. I saw a rounded belly, strong legs, and soft skin with a bit of blonde fuzz (I left my razor in CA. oops!). I wanted to capture the moment for myself, so I took this photo. Then I looked at the photo and hated it. "Ugh. My iPhone didn't capture it right at all!" I thought, "I just look lumpy and out of proportion." But then I thought some more, and decided that I needed to embrace this picture, especially during this week of no fat talk. So here it is. I still feel a little iffy about the proportions, and I know a lot of people might find it totally unflattering, but I'm feeling proud of myself for sharing anyway. This view is all I get to see these days, so I've decided I better darn well appreciate it! My new mantra for inspiration: My body is perfect, my mind is a work in progress.
Here's one suggestion from me: make a bargain with your friends that any time anyone engages in negative body talk, the guilty person has to list 5 things they LIKE about their bodies for any 1 thing they complained about.
This is a version of an activity I do in my classroom: my students and I use colored pencils to draw pictures of ourselves, and we list 1 thing about our looks that we're self-conscious about along with an INFINITE list of things we are proud of. The stunning beauty of this exercise happens when everybody shares their pictures and lists with the rest of the class. Imagine hearing 20+ diverse young women describe dozens of different things they love about their bodies!
"I love my straight hair!"
"I love my curly hair!"
"The gap between my teeth makes me stand out in perfect-teeth-land-L.A.!"
"I love my small boobs!"
"I love my big boobs!"
"My body is kind of soft... perfect for hugging my kids!"
"I like being petite!"
"I like being tall!"
"My eyes remind me of my grandma."
"The blonde fuzz on my legs sparkles in the sun like those beautiful vampires from the Twilight series!"
Yeah, we all get to share one hang-up, which is kind of fat-talk-ish, but I think it's actually pretty important for the exercise: for one thing, the last thing I want is for my students to feel guilty for not having perfect body image. Also, starting off with one hang-up seems to help my students feel less self-conscious (vain?) about sharing all the things they like about their bodies. Isn't it so backwards-but-true that we feel uncomfortable - even unlikeable - when we speak proudly about our looks? Anyway, by the end of the class we're all glowing from the positive stuff, and feeling downright bonded. It knocks my socks off every time.
So, what's on your list??
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