Dieting/WLS, Fat, Feminism, Health at Every Size

Quick Hit: Fat Talk Free Week

This is awesome, and I’ll be posting more about it on Broadsheet shortly. Happy Fat Talk Free Week, everybody! (Video is all text, so no transcript necessary.)

Update: Karen pointed out in comments that transcripts are also for the visually impaired whose screen readers don’t read video — d’oh! of course! — and llencelyn has kindly provided one. It’s below the video, after the jump.

Update 2: Here’s my Broadsheet post about it.


1920: The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.
1963: The Equal Pay Act gave women the right to receive equal pay as men.
1981: Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice.
2007: Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House.

As women we have come so far. Yet in this day & age, with all our opportunities, education, empowerment, why is it that…

54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat. (yes, you read that right)
81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
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.

In the U.S., as many as ten million (10,000,000) females are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than are suffering from breast cancer.

It’s time we wake up and realize we have a serious lifelong issue with body image! Why? Are we our own worst enemy? We must stop chasing the impossible – this “thin ideal.” Because most fashion models are thinner than 98% of most American women. Because if mannequins were women, they would be too thin to bear children.

It’s time to focus on the “healthy ideal,” which looks different for every woman, and focuses on health, not weight or size.

It starts with you.
It starts today.

Do I look fat in this?
She shouldn’t wear that tight shirt!
You think you’re fat? Look at me!
I need to lose 10 lbs.
I’m too fat to wear this swimsuit.
You look great! Have you lost weight?
I’m so fat.


It’s destroying us. Our friends. Mothers. Sisters. Daughters.

So let’s end it. Now.

We must break this habit of Fat Talk. We can start to change simply by changing the conversation.

Tri Delta launched Reflections to end fat talk and promote the healthy ideal in college women. And right now YOU can help end Fat Talk for ALL women.

Sign the Fat Talk Free Week Promise and help us end Fat Talk right now.

[Repeat shortened montage]

Friends don’t let friends Fat Talk. Be a friend. Join Fat Talk Free Week and Promise to end Fat Talk for yourself and the women you love. Use the next online page to sign the Fat Talk Free Week Promise now.

66 thoughts on “Quick Hit: Fat Talk Free Week”

  1. I know at least 5 women who need to watch this video. I will passively share it on facebook instead of sending it directly to them.

    So, So right on.

  2. Lovely…. I’m going to be passing to the appropriate people at my uni.

    P.S. From your friendly local web developer, transcripts are not only for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, who cannot hear video, but also for the blind and individuals with low-vision or reading disorders, whose screen readers do not read video. A transcript would still be helpful in that instance.

  3. I must say, this is nice for me to see.

    Recently, following a visit to the doctor and his suggestions for some dietary changes to deal with certain health issues, (and yes, also said maybe i should lose weight and i was handed an 1800 calorie diet sheet… but i do intend to change my eating to improve the blood tests), i had an unpleasant discussion with my husband. (I wonder if he will read this and be upset but I’m not even saying anything bad about him, just the situation…)

    He basically sees these blogs and ideas and books as a bunch of crackpot theories invented by fat women to justify their fatness. He thinks it encourages me to not care about my health and not be informed. He thinks I am unconcerned with health issues. He also is trying to lose weight, though he doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, so he doesn’t necessarily realize how big a deal it is to me when he talks this way.

    Anyway, i won’t get into all the details but it was kind of crushing. And i have no idea how to deal with any of it he’s is a wonderful person and husband, so maybe we will just agree to disagree… bIt’s nice to see this video though.

  4. From your friendly local web developer, transcripts are not only for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, who cannot hear video

    Oh, thanks for pointing that out, Karen. I’ll work on one later.

  5. Ok, I am a calorie counter so u guyz prolly hate me but that video almost made me cry, too. Very well put together!!

  6. Kate, I actually noticed the transcript issue before I read the comments and I’ve thrown one together which I’m a half-second from emailing to you.

  7. Amazing. What I want to tell others about fat acceptance – the video says it all. (And amazing use of font placement and animation, I might say)

    Every time my mom goes “oh, I’m too fat” I keep telling her to stop saying that. Recently, an old classmate of mine started to work at the same company as my mom, and she asked my mom what I was like. My mom told her, “Danielle is ok, but a little too fat.”

    I have no words for how much that pissed me off. My mom doesn’t have the right to go to other people and tell THEM that *I* am too fat. What the hell is that? I don’t go around telling other people my friends or family are “okay, but a little too dumb” or “okay, but a little too tall” or “okay, but a little too caucasian” what the hell? As if me being fat is some sort of issue that is affecting everyone negatively. “She’s too fat”…too fat for who? For what?

    Every time I talk about fat acceptance to my mom she rolls her eyes and is all like “oh not this again”. But I won’t stop talking about it until she gets it. Until she understands that she is a wonderful person and worth all the love and respect of the world with or without her fat. My mom definitely does the Fat Talk thing and I want to get her to knock it off. It’s difficult, though. She’s only been told to obsess about her looks and her weight for the past 47 years.

    Reposting that video in my own blog, I shall.

  8. I liked what the first half of it was saying, but could not deal with the flashing/moving/jumping around text and gave up. I think I’m just not a video person, I just don’t like watching things as much as reading them.

  9. cggirl,

    I think that part of FA is about *not* accepting intolerance, and your husband may well be wonderful in other areas, but his view of FA blogs–and by extension, his view of you as someone reading and participating in FA–is really sad.

    I sort of think that we *all* need to do far less accepting of those who dismiss us as “crackpot theorists.” I mean, what does it mean when we accept “crushing” commentary that dismisses us as thinking, critical, smart individuals while applauding those who make that commentary as “wonderful”?

    In what ways do we diminish ourselves and take ourselves less seriously by putting this kind of conflict into the realm of “agree to disagree”?

    In some ways, this is exactly what that Fat Talk video was getting at. As fat women, we accept far too much. We normalize the dismissive things others say against us and our perspective, and we dismiss it as inessential, even when it hurts us.

    We all make some compromises with our friends and families, but sometimes, it’s worth stepping back and asking whether the compromise is unequal, and if maybe we ought to think of ourselves as worthy of and deserving of more than that.

  10. Cggirl! ***HUGS***

    I’m so sorry that your husband is not being very supportive of you. That has to be very hard.

    While I think Miriam made a good point about not always compromising, it is also very difficult to get certain types of people to change their minds. Especially if you’ve already had a lot of heated discussion about it, and he’s really committed to a point of view, the odds of getting him to come around in the immediate time frame diminish greatly.

    I think while it is fair for you to not try to force your opinion on him. (Because obviously, that wont work, sometimes you just aren’t going to agree with him.) You probably should set some clear boundaries about what he’s allowed to say to and around you. There is no reason that his closed minded ness should hurt you as a consequence.

    Don’t accept scorn or a patronizing attitude from him, absolutely. But he’s not going to agree with you just because you want him to. (Cursed Free Will!!! I’ll let you know when I complete my mind control device ;-) )

    Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Thank you for the hugs and support :)

    Miriam I get what ur saynig, tho to be fair, a. i’m just expressing this one thing about my husband, so it can give the wrong impression of him as a person. and b. he’s NOT telling me something is wrong with how i look or that i must lose weight. everything he says about what is healthy – whether i agree with it or not – he just says in the sense that “well IDEALLY we could all do this and that and be healthier…” but he, like me, accepts that people do what they can without making themselves crazy and unhappy, and admits that he himself does not always do what is most healthy. Also he said, very nicely and supportively, that he prefers exactly me as i am to having me run around obsessing about what i eat. and he has never made me feel bad about my body, he has always shown that he loves my body however it happens to be right now.

    I’m sharing all of this just to make it clearer that this is more an issue of him misunderstanding the movement, and misunderstanding what i get from this movement, than an issue of some asshole trying to force his wife to be a certain way.

    Of course from such a supportive person, who showed no concerin when i gained a bunch of weight recently, and someone i respect so much, and someone who tends to think for himself more than anyone i know, i was very surprised at his reaction, and, as i said, VERY upset. And even though it was not his intention, it brought up a lot of negative feelings from my past and my history with my family.

    When i suggest agreeing to disagree, its more because i dont feel emotionally equipped to fight about it. And because as we always say here, people are on different points of this journey at different points in life, so i don’t feel i should force anything on him, and he’s not trying to force anything on me, i just inadvertently opened up the conversation because of the healthful changes i was trying to make and his mistaken notion that i was clueless about healthy eating (because i don’t talk about it all the time in front of him).

    Aaanyway… Thanks again for this supportive awesome blog and the whole community, which, contrary to what SOME people think, does not actually go around telling us to eat baby flavored donuts and never exercise.

  12. and yeah shinobi thank you. actually that has always been the rule, he’s just not allowed to comment on this sort of thing and he knows it – because of the sort of history i have with it.

    this just came up in a roundabout way where i opened up the door for him to say what he wanted to say, and when we were done i just went back to well then lets go back to not talking about this. :) cuz i agree, sometimes u just have to have those boundaries.

  13. I liked MOST of the video. The thing that really put me off is the bit about mannequins being too thin to bear children.

    Why does our worth always come down to either our fuckability or our ability to breed?

  14. I’m delurking just to say I’m pleased to see a sorority finally returning to the original purpose of sororities — to advocate for and support women. Thank you Delta Delta Delta. Here’s hoping other sororities follow suit.

  15. Overall I think this is a positive contribution to body dialogue but I had the same reaction to that line in the transcript that buttercup did. (I can’t view the video on the uni server). Don’t you know by trying to be thin you’re destroying your ability to breed??!?! Cue handwringing and gnashing of teeth. (Or the queer in me rolling her eyes. One of the two.)

    It’s the little things that continually reinforce our place in the world. Even in a video like this, that little reminder of our role just slips in.

  16. Same response as buttercup and Caitlin…everything is great, then *argh*.

    But I really liked ” life-engaging activities like, giving an opinion”–because yes, we are all worth of having and giving opinions, and that counters the “seen but not heard” expectation.

  17. I was really loving this video until that “bearing children” thing too” and then I didn’t like the term “fat talk”… like that’s a bad thing? What’s wrong with talking about being fat? Why do they assume it’s always negative? I’m trying to embrace & celebrate it!!!

    It’s almost like sticking the word “fat” in something makes it bad… like Fat Talk is obviously when you’re dissing your body? I don’t think so…

    but anyways yeah I did like it a lot, its inspiring :-D

  18. I didn’t mind the part about being too thin to have kids.

    Since thin is often equated to healthy in our society I think it is important to point out that it could also be a barrier to natural activities. It is natural for women to be able to bear children, and if the “ideal” means that you would not actually be able to do something that is natural for your body, then obviously it’s not really that healthy.

    But yeah, me, not interested in breeding, so I can understand the annoyance.

  19. Totally O/T, and it’s none of my business, and please tell me to shut up if I am being a bit cheeky, but those snapshot preview things that come up when you click on a link and sort of get in the way? ARGH.

    Mind you, it might just be my poor hand-to-mouse coordination. Ignore me.

  20. Unfortunately, I can’t get the video to work, so I’m really glad for the transcription.

    Thanks for pointing this out, and to llencelyn for doing the transcription.

  21. The thing that really put me off is the bit about mannequins being too thin to bear children.

    I see your point, but I think the point is that these aren’t naturally thin women, they’re presented to us as aspirational examples of the correct shape. It would be completely different if the video showed real slim or thin women and suggested that they must be unhealthy simply because they were thin.

  22. Kay–

    It is interesting that it’s “FAT TALK” when I guess it’s actually more like, “THIN TALK.”

  23. I see what you’re saying shinobi, you see what I’m saying, it’s all good. I can see why they put that line in there and who it’s meant to appeal to, but the feminist in me has major problems with it.

  24. Caitlin and buttercup, I didn’t even think of it that way, though I see now what you mean! I really heard it as, “mannequins are so not-correctly-proportioned that they could not do normal human things,” but I can see where it also sounds like the ability to breed is being elevated as this all-important thing.

    Shinobi, I really didn’t read it as saying that thin people can’t bear children. Thin people can have children. I read it as saying that mannequins have bone proportions that would make it impossible to bear children, which isn’t like the way most people are built.

  25. Volcan, that could be, I just know that you have to have a certain body fat percentage in order to menstruate and get knocked up, which presumably the mannequins would not have. But your interpretation may be more accurate.

  26. I wish the campaign had a poster I could download and print out – sadly the technology doesn’t yet exist for me to post the video on my office door. The .pdf file listing “suggested activities for chapters” isn’t quite what I’m looking for either. :(

  27. I actually poked at it in Photoshop, Kate – it’s very small, and blows up quite pixellated. I managed to do a quick and dirty cleanup job on the edges so hopefully it won’t look like crap if I print it out at maybe 5 inches tall. :-/

    I wrote their marketing person to say “having a poster we could print out would be really helpful!” and mentioned that I work at a graduate-only school without a Greek system. She sent me the chapter activities flyer. I wrote back and said that wasn’t quite what I was looking for; just the logo at poster size would be better.

    She replied that maybe next year they would do posters, but this year they were focused on spreading information online, so maybe I could just email everyone the video.

    Email all my colleagues and students… potentially controversial, non-work-related information. Yeah, that’s not the worst email etiquette in the known world. [headdesk]

    Well, I have my crappy pixellated blown-up logo, and I’m tacking it to my door, and I’m going to try to be virtuous and not snark too much about marketing people and sorority stereotypes, because it’s a valuable effort and I’m glad they’re doing it.

  28. I loved the video.

    I am getting pretty sick of “Fat Talk”.

    The other day, I walked into the kitchen at work, and my boss was getting a biscuit from the communal tin. And then when she saw me, she looked so embarrassed and was like, “Oh, you caught me again!”

    Then yesterday, I was walking from the work kitchen with biscuits and a cup of tea, and a male co-worker said, “Busted!”

    And at first I didn’t even know what he was talking about, and then I realised it was the biscuits – oh yeah, I’m supposed to feel bad, not only for having these, but being seen having these.

    And my boss talks about her teenage daughter who is growing taller and has all of these weird dislikes that basically leads to her not being able to eat much, and is fine with that because she wants to be skinnier. And my boss is worried about her daughter’s health and nutrition. (while what she describes her kid as eating doesn’t sound that much different from what she herself has for lunch.)

    But when we have cake for birthdays at the office, she’s the first one to say, “Oh, I can already feel this going to my thighs.”

    And it’s just Oh MY GOD do you not see what you’re doing?

    Have the biscuit – have the cake, or don’t. But shut the hell up with the guilt and te Fat Talk, because you are breaking your kid’s brain and driving me crazy!

  29. That made me cry, too. I’m going to send it to my friends and put it on Facebook.

    With a wee caveat about the breeding thing, obv.

  30. Ha, Volcan is a funny name. (I’m Lynne, by the way, I just stopped bothering to log out of WordPress.)

    It’s true that with too little body fat you stop menstruating, but I think it’s a lot more complicated than just body fat, anyway. Nutritional intake probably also has to play a role. I mean, I can certainly bear children, and my natural build is very small. So I figured the mannequin comment wasn’t just about size, and more about impossible proportions.

  31. It is natural for women to be able to bear children,

    Not all women are able to have children, and not being able to doesn’t mean they are any less female.

  32. Thanks for sharing this, I loved the video. But I couldn’t avoid noticing that Seventeen is one of the supporters of the program. You can see its logo beside the video if you wacth it straight from Reflections Program website. I don’t know the magazine well and thought it would be just like the average media product directed to female readers: full of fat talk. So I went check their website and it seems they are somehow supportive of body acceptance (they hold the Body Peace Program) but October’s issue still states: “Change your body – all it takes are the right clothes” .
    Mixed-messages are everywhere – or am I just too suspicious?

  33. I love the video. But I also have a problem with the “too thin to have kids” part. It assumes that a defining part of womanhood is having kids. While the majority of women have the ability to have kids, I don’t think that not wanting to/not being able to have kids is something that makes someone more or less of a woman.

  34. I have recently been considering initiating a Body Positive Zone within my home, aka once people come in there is no talking about if they’re fat, ugly, wrong, etc. I have a couple concerns though and I’m hoping for some advice from you folks.

    1. Do you think exceptions need to be made when friends are feeling particularly down about themselves and just need a pick-me-up? Do you think it would be best to have these support discussions outside the Zone? Should some other boundaries be established concerning this discussion? I don’t want to /not/ be there for friends who are having a hard time, but I also don’t want to be surrounded with negative self-talk.

    2. What should be the proper response if someone doesn’t adhere to this Zone? I’m going to be a returning student soon, and I’m concerned with folks in study groups or projects not respecting my boundaries, and my having to work with these people. I’m not sure asking them to leave would be the best response.

    3. What about when I’m having a particularly down day and feeling horrible about myself?

  35. I guess “too thin to have children” sounded less icky to them than “too thin to have their periods.” But it’s less felicitous. Not having kids is not an overall minus to your health (possible increase of some health risks, possible decrease of others); artificially stopping your period by self-starvation definitely is a big minus. Still, I suppose the makers of this video figure that most women still want kids and fear not fitting in because of not reproducing, more than they fear not getting their periods.

    Other than that, though, I think it’s great.

  36. Cree, I once declared a “No complaining around me!” week in college, because I was sick to death of people one-upping each other about how awful they had it with papers, reading, etc. — I couldn’t take any more complaining.

    I told my close friends ahead of time, and they were fine with it; my strategy with acquaintances was to dramatically throw up my hands the second they started with the “I’m busier than thou” crap and say, “I’m having a no-complaining week. I don’t want to hear anyone, or myself, complain about anything this week. Let’s talk about something else.”

    Which worked, in that people would stop complaining, but I quickly found that people often had very little to say that *wasn’t* a complaint, so people would cut dinners short to escape from the “positive zone.”

    Which was a learning experience for me about how deeply ingrained is the convention to share the pain. I’m a therapist, so I understand that connecting with another human being when you’re hurting is important, but that’s not what these folks were doing, they were just trained to talk about negative things and had no idea how to talk about positive things. The whole experiment definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone a little bit, too, which was cool. And I felt like, with the people who actually would talk to me during that time, that I had much better conversations because it wasn’t just carping around random crap.

    So…. I know that doesn’t answer all your questions, but I wanted to throw out my experience with something similar. And I would say that there’s a huge difference between talking to someone who’s all, “I’m fat, I’m awful, it’s awful” and someone who’s more, “I’m feeling really fat and awful right now, and I don’t know why. Can I talk to you about that?”

  37. In my household, we often do a “moratoriüm” on certain subjects, and have a subject we’ll talk about instead whenever it comes up. So, instead of talking about how frustrated we both are with my husband’s mother, we’ll say “Wait! Moratorium subject!” and start talking about our RPG, or our plans for NaNo, or our travel, or something that isn’t that Thing We Aren’t Talking About.

    It may be away to deal with such things.

    As for the vid – I posted it to my LJ and apparently it’s totally encouraging us all to have three extra helpings of potatatoes with sour cream and a quart of gravy.

    Either that, or I linked to another video, since no matter how much I squint, I don’t see that.

    *sigh* I’m getting very tired of being patient.

  38. (I might not have been clear that we’ve agreed on said Moratorium Subject in advance, so we’re not floundering looking for that quickie distraction. Right now, sadly, it’s the Bloody Stupid Canadian Election OMG. I don’t know what we’ll do when that’s over, because one of the Subjects We Aren’t Talking About Anymore is the U.S. election.)

  39. As someone who has PCOS and may actually *be* unable to have children, I just want to add my two cents to the discussion about that. While being able to bear children is not essential to the health of women, the problem is the reason behind not being able to bear children: that one of your bodily systems actually shuts down and stops working. The idea of that is kind of distressing, whether you want kids or not. Being unable to bear children because your body is sick and weak is very, very different from being unable to have them because you consciously decided to have your tubes tied, or some other reason.

    I’m mostly mentioning this due to frustration that, whenever my friends (many of whom don’t want children) hear that I haven’t had a period in six months (!) because I have a disease that is making my body not do something it is naturally supposed to do, they react like “Oh, I wish that would happen to me! I hate periods!” It feels an awful lot like friends who want to catch the flu that made you lose five pounds from vomiting, because they’d like to lose 5 pounds too.

    I’ve strayed off from my original point here, which was: Whether you want kids or not, it’s really upsetting to have an entire organ system shut down, even if it’s one that is not vital. I do agree that the video maybe should have focused on that point and not on “zomg! babies!”, but I think a lot of women who *do* want children might not even be aware that being thinner than their particular body is naturally meant to be (another point they should have focused on, instead of JUST “too thin”), could make them unable to have kids. So I do think it was an important point to make.

  40. jazzy thanks for explaining that. i was thinking kind of the same thing but did not know how to explain it so eloquently…

  41. Robitron, just as a note, I said natural and not healthy or normal for that reason. Naturally women can bear children/have periods but sometimes they are un able to for a multitude of reasons. I thought implying that women who could not have kids were unhealthy, or abnormal would be even worse.

    I still think it is important that women know that being extremely thin can cause them to stop menstruating. But yeah, further evidence that that comment in the video may be alienating to some women.

  42. I was another one who didn’t see the “if the mannequin were a real woman, she’d be too thin to have children” comment as problematic–though I’m glad to hear a couple other perspectives on it.

    Being able to reproduce (if, you know, you choose to) is part of being healthy. It’s not the sum total or the most important part, but it’s one of the things your body is supposed to do. As such, it’s worth pointing out that mannequins (and models and Photoshopping) are creating a standard that is touted as “healthy” but that’s the very opposite of healthy–because it keeps your body from being able to do the things it’s supposed to be able to do.

    It’s similar to ponting out that if Barbie were a real person, she’d be so top-heavy she’d fall over and not be able to walk. Just like that statement isn’t a slam at people in wheelchairs, I don’t see the “mannequin would be too thin to have kids” bit as a slam against people who can’t have or don’t want children.

  43. I’m having a hard time understanding the furor over the mannequin-infertility comment. It’s a valid point, it’s relevant to a lot of women, and in itself is not an implication that all women can or should give birth. Is there any context in which it would okay to make the point? Only amongst women who desire and are able to bear children, I guess, behind closed doors in hushed tones?

  44. “Ok, I am a calorie counter so u guyz prolly hate me but that video almost made me cry, too.”

    I’m not going to speak for anyone else, but I doubt anyone hates you. Almost every fat person diets at some point, and as long as you don’t want the rest of us to calorie count, then you’re good with me.

    This video made me feel pretty emotional too.

  45. Thanks Elizabeth – that’s really helpful! I printed a copy for the bulletin board in our break room, and snipped out the article to hang next to my fuzzy logo on my door.

  46. As a mom (very happy to be one now, HIGHLY ambivalent for the 37yrs that preceded it!), I was also mildly irritated at the childbearing thing. As the stepmom to a teen recovering from anorexia, it’s not just about having babies/periods.

    If you’re sufficiently malnourished to experience dysmenorrhea and/or infertility, you’re probably also:

    Too thin to lay in bone properly – osteopenia & osteoperosis, hello!
    Too thin to maintain healthy dentition.
    Too thin to adequately maintain and repair fatty structures throughout the body like, oh, the BRAIN.

    Ok, maybe these are not as pithy as what’s in the video, but my larger point is that it’s usually a sign of larger problems when an organ fails to work the way nature intended it. For the next iteration of the video, maybe the makers can figure out a way to make that very salient point without alienating those of us without reproduction on our agendas.

  47. @Linda, I wouldn’t call it furor, at least not on my part. Just an eyeroll to the constant reminder that we’re only good for certain things in this world, like bearing children and being fuckable.

  48. Apologies for the off-topicness, but I want to share a piece of frustration, and this blog is the only place I can think of to do it. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot, in a policy/issue diagnosis context, about “diabesity” and it makes me want to scream. Can we not recognize a link without doing a strict conflation? Arrgh! And I don’t know how to call people on it without sparking a 20 minute (at least) debate. Help?

  49. 1963: The Equal Pay Act gave women the right to receive equal pay as men.

    Oooh, thanks! The Equal Pay Act “gave” me the “right” to receive as much money as men! I’m so happy. Wow. I never would have been equal if this “right” hadn’t been “given” to me.

    Furthermore, if Speaker of the House is the best we’ve done in 220 years, I’m not impressed. We haven’t “come so far” at all.

    And there’s your answer to why we buy into some stupid physical “ideal” that bears no resemblance to reality.

    We hate ourselves because we’re taught to do so, from birth. No matter what we do, it’s wrong. Fat is just one of the easiest insults to use.

    It’s called “patriarchy.” Having a “fat-talk-free” week is only necessary because we are drowning, suffocating, smothering in patriarchy.

  50. Posted the video (and linked to the FoBT post) on my LJ. And I hope it makes a difference; several women on my flist are so strong and together, it breaks my heart when they post about what they’ll finally be able to do or how perfect life will be when they lose those 10 pounds.

  51. Hey Kate,

    Thanks for the great entry on Fat Free Talk Week. Having a positive self image is a struggle for so many of us. It always nice to learn about ways that can help boost our self esteem. The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt is also celebrating Fat Free Talk Week and Love Your Body Day. They recently added an entry about LYBD and Fat Free Talk Week to their blog that highlights the importance of great events such as these. To read their entry click here:

  52. It’s always a little up lifting to see things like this. Someone out there is still fighting for me!

    I need it. I’m having one of those weeks. I just feel inadequate about my weight. I feel like I am too much. I don’t know why. I am not 100% accepting of my body yet, but usually I am much more okay with myself than I feel right now. I know I’m okay, so why don’t I feel okay? It’s frustrating.

    I will have to show my mom this video. She’s a chronic “Katie, I need to loose weight!” person. It drives me crazy. I weigh a lot more than her, what does she think of me exactly?

    Its so true, though. Fat women do stop engaging in life enriching activities. I’m guilty. I have been avoiding making a doctor’s appointment. I don’t want to be lectured on my weight. I just don’t. I am so afraid of going in and finding out there is something weight related wrong with me. I just feel like I would become so depressed if someone weight related was wrong with me. Because then it would be ALL MY FAULT, you know? It just freaks me out.

  53. I see fat talk as a variant of appearance-talk, generally. It’s something women engage in more often than men because a woman’s worth is supposed to be all about her appearance, no matter what else she does or how else she defines herself. If I’m not mistaken, (cis) (straight) men are more likely to be overweight than women. They are less likely to dye their hair and get cosmetic surgery. They don’t wear makeup for the most part. They don’t “need” to do any of this stuff. Technically, neither do we women, but of course any lapse on our part in grooming is noticed immediately and judged harshly. All this is why I believe it’s far more important for women to target the meta-problem (how they define themselves, usually due to how they are defined) as a means of targeting the “micro” problem (specific references to appearance). Getting a life, with passions, hobbies and interests beyond “being pretty”, and tending to that instead of to the role we think we must fulfil, is a more effective way of eliminating fat-phobia, in my opinion. I believe once women care more about the rest of their lives, they are less likely to obsess about their weight – and the less they think obsessively about any one issue, the less the focus is likely to lead to unhealthy or damaging behaviours, either psychologically or physically.

  54. btw – I wish I could edit my previous comment. When I talk about “getting a life”, of course each woman has one. I suppose I mean “giving yourself absolute permission to lead that life” is what I really mean. And that means flying in the face of conventional attitudes all around us. But it’s ultimately fun, ’cause it’s kick-ass :)

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