Fat Talk

by Hannah Klomp

“As people spend more time thinking about what’s wrong with their bodies, less time is spent on the positive realm and engaging in life in meaningful and fulfilling ways.”

As this quote suggests by the associate director of the Centre for Eating Disorders in Baltimore, people are spending way too much time thinking negatively about their body image, instead of engaging in their lives in a more fulfilling, positive way. Nowadays, both men and women are a part of the society who cares more about their body than their health and wellbeing, being clearly enforced by the horrific ideas of ‘thinspo’ and ‘pro-ana’ which is being forced down our throats whenever we interact with social media.

Every day I am either of witness of other people or myself saying the negative phrases such as “I am so fat” or “I shouldn’t eat that’ and have been left feeling quite negative about myself. Although these words and phrases are in constant use, I have never really thought about what these phrases may be doing to my mental health or even my own perception of my body. Whilst I was watching television, a story on the news captured my eye where the idea that these statements were having a serious impact on a person’s body image and mental state were being researched.

“These results suggest that expressing weight-related concerns, which is common especially among women, has negative effects”

This statement was  said by a study researcher, Analisa Arroyo. While reading this article, I began to question if the impact on people’s body image was stronger if one was presented negative images in the media of the body or if engaging in the negative ‘fat talk’ was more significant. As I kept reading, these questions of mine began to be answered and I was quite surprised, but strongly supported Arroyo’s opinion being that:

“It is the act of engaging in fat talk, rather than passively being exposed to it, that has these negative effects.”

Overall, the media presented this story in a way that emphasised the message quite strongly to me, and really persuaded me to find out more about the way in which personal comments could be impacting on my own body image. When I was presented this issue on Fox News, I felt quite persuaded to try and avoid saying these negative words about myself as I did not want to them to have a detrimental impact on my body image or health. I also felt quite encouraged to share this article with other people so that they too, would be able to experience the benefits that were being conveyed through this media source.

What do you think about the influence of ‘fat talk?’ Are you more influenced by the presentation of the body in the media or your own engagement in the media?

Image Source: cravingideas.blogs.com

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