Fat Talk Free Week is an international activism campaign founded by sorority Tri Delta’s body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections. The event is designed to draw attention to body image issues and the impact of the ‘thin ideal’ and ‘fat talk’ on women in society. Fat talk is self-deprecating remarks that reinforce the thin ideal and increase people’s dissatisfaction with their bodies. Examples include “I’m so fat” and “I need to lose five pounds before I wear that.”
The program is based on the findings of Eric Stice, psychologist at Oregon Research Institute. According to Stice, eating disorders can be prevented by using the theory of cognitive dissonance. Because we tend to align our beliefs with our actions, if people speak and act against the thin ideal, this will lead to a change in beliefs.
Senior Gaia Liotta, co-founder of Body Art, decided to host Fat Talk Free Week at Sarah Lawrence as its first non-sorority participator. In Sarah Lawrence tradition, we are doing things a little differently. “We are very artsy and creative,” Liotta laughs. “So we are going to approach this as trying to challenge these ideals through artistry.” Liotta also hopes not only to incorporate art into FTFW but also the male perspective which is absent in Tri Delta’s version.
The events run from the 19th to the 24th, beginning with a screening of TED Talks dealing with the promotion of body positivity. This is followed by a screening of Killing Us Softly, a documentary on the negative impact of the media’s promotion of this virtually impossible thin ideal. On Monday events include an information session during the day and a Body Positive Cabaret in the evening. Tuesday features kung fu fighting hosted by the College’s new Karate Club. On Wednesday there is a photo session where participants can get their photo taken. A positive statement they say about their body is then combined with their image. There is the Burlesque Scandal Review on Thursday and the Fat Talk Free Week Body Positivity Dance on Friday concludes the week. Here, participants can write something body positive on their arm while having a good time at the dance.
Body Art’s motto is “Every body is beautiful”, emphasizing the use of every body rather than everybody. Liotta hopes that this event will promote this idea on campus as well as encourage self-reflection and self-love. In light of the recent assaults, Liotta believes this event is much needed. “I thought just being more conscious of how people are doing and checking in with each other as a community is something that I really want to see happen more and is already happening,” she states.
Liotta looks to make Fat Talk Free Week an annual event, with co-chair replacements already set up for next year. “There’s a lot of support we can give to each other if we’re a little more self reflective,” she says. “I think there can be a huge effect of this program on the school.”
TEDx on Body Dissatisfaction
BodyArt Fat Talk Free Week Schedule