Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I support Fat Talk Free Week

Last winter, while spending time with family in Colorado, my visit happened to correspond with that of a family friend. She was 14-years-old at the time, very petite and sadly completely visually impaired as a result of an adverse drug reaction known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

She had lost her sight around the age of 3. My cousin also experienced the same reaction, resulting in her partial vision loss which is what brought these two young women together as the best of friends.

I spent a lot of time with them over the trip, taking the teenagers sledding and to the mall.

What stood out to me the most was that despite her lack of sight she was just as concerned about her appearance as any other teenage girl.

One evening when dressing up in cocktail dresses she asked if the dress made her look fat.

At the end of meals she would suggest not accepting dessert, because she did not want to gain weight.

I was floored. This was a 14-year-old, 90-pound girl, who had no concept of what being ‘fat’ would look like.

Obviously these conceptions of weight and social standards must be coming from somewhere, beyond magazines, fashion designers and movie stars. Fat Talk is the only reason a visually impaired child would have this perception of body image.

After this experience, I found new realization in why we need to work to remove Fat Talk from our conversations. Not only are unrealistic images of beauty being portrayed in the media, they are also portrayed in our homes, with our family and friends. This has to change.

We have to present ourselves as strong, empowered women not only to ourselves, but to those around us. We need to challenge those stereotypes in our own conversations and we need to have meaningful conversations with those we care about who struggle with this issue themselves.

I’m going to share the message of Fat Talk Free Week with the girl I mentioned as well as the rest of my friends and I hope that you will decide to join me.

Fat Talk Free Week is October 18 - 22. Visit to learn more about this years events and how you can get involved in the movement to End Fat Talk.