Fat Talk Free Week: The fight to eliminate negative body image

The Women’s Center hopes to get students in a positive mindset about their bodies and spread positivity around body image. (Maggie Chafouleas/The Daily Campus)

The Women’s Center is raising awareness for Fat Talk Free Week this week by tabling on Union Street. They will be there every day 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Oct. 15 to Oct. 19.

The event is part of a national campaign to promote positive body image and to eliminate negativity surrounding the topic. The culture of fat-shaming and the “thin ideal” of beauty is damaging to everyone involved, and the campaign seeks to bring awareness to this issue.

We all have a tendency of comparing ourselves to others and critiquing every aspect of our bodies. Hearing or saying things like “I need to lose weight” or “Does this sweater make me look fat?” are ingrained within us now. The media makes this even worse with the never-ending onslaught of magazines targeted to profit off young girls’ body image issues. Headlines like “How to get the perfect summer beach bod!” or “How I lost 10 pounds in a week” are endless.

This is the culture that the campaign is targeting, and the one it wants to change.

“Eight out of 10 women are dissatisfied with their image,” said Holly Labrecque, a seventh-semester psychology student who was running the table. “We want to change that.”

The table was full of flyers and free things for students, including PopSockets, lanyards, stickers, bookmarks and pens.

This year, the table has a mirror and encourages students to get involved by writing body-positive comments on sticky notes and putting them on the mirror.

“You can write affirmations on it about what you love about your body or yourself,” Labrecque said.

The Women’s Center hopes to get students in a positive mindset about their bodies and spread positivity around body image. By looking in the mirror, the viewer sees both him or herself and all the uplifting messages encouraging them to love themselves. It helps boost the viewer’s confidence and gives them the support of a dozen strangers.

“I love my legs because they help me run,” one of the sticky notes read. Another declared, “I am thick and beautiful!”

A similar thing is happening at the UConn Rec Center this week. The girls’ locker room mirror has a box of Aerie sticky notes for the same purpose, and the student-written messages have practically covered the mirror.

“Keep going, even and most especially when you feel you can’t,” one reads.

“You are here. You are trying. That is what’s important,” says another.

Both displays are reminders that UConn is home to a positive, supporting environment. The messages are heartwarming and show that strangers face the same issues as we do; we’re all in this together, and we can help boost each other’s confidence instead of putting each other down with comments on weight or appearances. We are in charge of the environment we create, and it doesn’t have to be a negative one.


Courtney Gavitt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.