Do you “fat talk” or have friends that “fat talk”?
We tend to engage in fat talk (or ANY body shame talkin) to voice dissatisfaction, connect with other women, receive praise (which we tend not to believe anyways) and many other reasons. It’s so normal, that many women feel pressured to engage in this back and forth body shame dance whether or not they are ACTUALLY dissatisfied with their bodies. It can also normalize distorted thoughts, making body hate seem much more acceptable (and pronounced) than it should be. The shame game also becomes a sort of social currency: women who are confident and love their bodies often experience shunning from women who don’t. (generalizations, does NOT apply to everyone). It becomes a weird sort of social “advantage” to hate SOMETHING about your body. Weird.
Of course, the DISADVANTAGES are more numerous and dangerous. From physical health to mental health, hating our bodies does more harm than good.
I’ve been the girl who engaged in fat talk AND the girl who refuses. From my own experience, I’ve found more acceptance from other women when I’m dissatisfied with my body than when I’m proud of it. Despite claims that we love confident women, confidence isn’t always appreciated and/or comes off as arrogance. While I certainly won’t dull my own shine to make others feel better, it’s something I pay attention to and am more careful with. That said, when I hated my body, I made poor decisions, experienced more stress, had lower confidence and had a more negative attitude towards my place in the world.
The way we talk about our bodies (our own bodies and each other’s bodies) has a powerful impact on our self-esteem. Check out this interesting study showing the connection between fat talk and self-image. http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/1/18.full
We already know that bullying at a young age can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression and even self-harm. But a new study has just confirmed that on top of the psychological problems associated with being bullied, physiological and health related disadvantages are also a cause for concern.
A Swedish study followed almost 900 students in the country from age 16 until they were 43. They found overall that those who had a harder time socially in school—being bullied, left out, or even choosing to be isolated—had the highest risk of suffering from poor health by the time they were in their early 40s.
Girls who’d been bullied, regardless of socioeconomic status, and other factors, were more likely to develop…
Kinda scary! While researchers are still looking for a direct link/cause, stress and anxiety MAY play a role. (Yet more evidence that stress can literally kill someone).
You might think it would require severe bullying or trauma to have that kind of long-lasting impact on someone, but, in fact, it did not. They found that it wasn’t only the kids who were mercilessly bullied or victimized that suffered the health effects in middle age. Even those who experienced social isolation to a lesser degree saw health effects later, although the stronger their suffering as a teen, generally the worse their health was as an adult.
The study also showed that the health risks were slightly higher in girls than in boys, though it’s unclear why. It was safe to say that regardless of gender, bullying seemed to have long lasting mental AND physical effects on children and adults.