Fat Talk Free Week: Banning the “F” Word

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By Bonnie Rochman, TIME

Coming soon to a college campus near you: a ban on “fat talk.” O.K., so the ban is voluntary — and temporary — but it’s designed to get students to think about the psychological effect of even seemingly innocuous comments like “Omigosh, you look so good — have you lost weight?”

Starting Oct. 18, thousands of young adults on at least 35 campuses will participate in Fat Talk Free Week, a national campaign to eliminate language that is damaging to students’ body image. The initiative’s motto: “Friends don’t let friends fat-talk.” Participants learn, for example, that when a gal pal asks if those jeans make her butt look big, the best answer may be to persuade her not to ask the question at all. (See 10 myths about dieting.)

The anti-fat-talk campaign is designed first to help people identify the “thin ideal” — essentially a pre-pubescent girl’s body, plus boobs — that is perpetuated by the media and pop culture, and then learn how to reject it in favor of a healthier, more realistic attitude.

Read More: Fat Talk Free Week: Body-Image Campaign Goes to College – TIME.

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  1. I think the point is that many of us bond with each other over the word fat. So removing talk like “Do I look fat in this?” and expecting others to say “no” is not empowering to anyone. Saying you are fat and owning the word as a descriptor is something different. We aren’t saying it’s wrong to say: I’m fat and have a great sense of humor. In fact I really could care less that I have an apple shaped body (fatter on top, skinny legs). Yes the ideal is a pear shape, but heh, that’s not me and I really don’t give a shit about it. It’s taken a lot of work, like being aware of the words I choose. I once said to a 3 years old, “Don’t eat another cookie, you don’t want to get fat”. WTF was I thinking? When I recognized my language and my social programming my whole world shifted. I began validating others for who they are as a person or as their potential. This alone boosted my own self-esteem tremendously.

  2. How is refusing to discuss fat or use the term or mention that something makes us look fat promote tolerance? That’s lunacy. Being fat is not a personal failure. Pretending someone isn’t fat is just stupid. Until we change our perceptions about fat people and stop saying things like, “Oh, you’re not fat! Let’s not use the ‘f-word’!” you’re simply promoting more bigotry and intolerance.

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