The concept of body positivity isn’t new, but it sure is gaining more and more popularity. With the fashion and entertainment industry pushing for more realistic portrayals of women in media, it’s hard to miss the ever growing body positive movement. Models like Iskra Lawrence and Ashley Graham, actresses like Shannon Purser and Chrissy Metz, and many more real life women are calling upon all of their sisters to to try and practice more self love, care and acceptance.
This is where SHAPE comes in. SHAPE is a UConn “peer education group that strives to promote accepting attitudes towards all body shapes and sizes while helping to encourage self esteem and positive body image.” Their annual Fat Talk Free Week reinforces this mission. We sat down with Giuliana David, a SHAPE member of four years, to talk a little bit more about this event.
“Fat talk free week is a week dedicated to being conscious of your language and stopping yourself from putting yourself and others down,” David explains. “It isn’t necessarily just about calling yourself fat, but putting yourself down in any area… During this week we promise ourselves we will try our hardest to not put ourselves down and if we hear someone else participating in fat talk, we have to call it out and end it right then and there. It’s working towards a more positive view of yourself.”
While body positivity can seem like a female-centric movement, the group aims this event towards everyone, not just young women. “It definitely can come off as directed toward women, but we want to refute that because men and other identities have their own types of ‘fat talk’ as well,” David says.
The idea of encouraging and fostering a more positive attitude towards oneself is extremely important for college aged adults. At 18, 19, 20, and so on, many young adults have grown up in a society that places extreme emphasis on the idea of attaining perfection, and that it is standard or acceptable to be hypercritical or set impossible standards. “I think it’s also extremely normalized in college,” David explains. “I feel like we often do it in the presence of others and it becomes a back and forth within friend groups where the conversation goes something like: ‘I hate this about myself’ and someone responds ‘Are you kidding me? At least you aren’t like me, I hate this about myself’ and that’s extremely detrimental when wide spread. It becomes so casual that students often don’t realize the harm they’re causing to themselves and one another. There is plenty of media that targets college age students and their insecurities, and fat talk only encourages those forces.”
The SHAPE team here at UConn hopes that, with the help of their event, more and more students realize that “fat talk” is a serious mentality that affects all of us negatively. “It contributes to low self-esteem and overall unhappiness… Actively practice self-love in your everyday life, because you deserve to be happy and you deserve to have the best understanding of how valuable you are.”
Join the movement by showing up in support of SHAPE by attending their Catwak to End Fat Talk this Sunday, October 22nd. Spread the body positivity, collegiettes!
*all images courtesy of Giuliana David