OK everyone, let’s take a little journey down memory lane and venture back to our childhood years. Yeah, that’s right; you remember. The days of watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, playing hot lava on the playground and having tea parties with your favorite stuffed animals. The days when girls would play dress-up without ever asking the age-old question, “Do I look fat in this?” The days when all the kids would chase after the ice cream truck or eat the chocolate cake at little Joey’s birthday party without ever saying, “I can’t eat that! That will make me fat.” Ah, the good old days, before we all became victims of a little thing called “fat talk.” Fat talk has become so common that it exists as a part of everyday conversation. But the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Why?” What compels someone to say, “I can’t eat that – it will make me fat,” when a TA occasionally brings in Krispy Kreme doughnuts or when someone orders a dessert like the Fudge Fudge Walnut Brownie Sundae at the Elephant Bar? And what good does it do to say it? The people who end up eating that doughnut are feeling slightly annoyed — or even, perhaps, guilty — and don’t enjoy the treat as much. Plus, the person who made the statement hasn’t gained anything positive from the experience either. The comment really is just a waste of breath, or worse — it could be contributing to someone’s negative body image.
No one should walk around feeling uncomfortable or unconfident in his or her body. The human body is gorgeous, but only because it comes in all different shapes and sizes. If everyone looked the same, beauty would cease to exist. People are beautiful because they are unique, and external beauty shouldn’t be what defines someone as a person anyway.
And if you really think about it, is one 180-calorie glazed doughnut really going to impact your weight? It takes 3,500 extra calories to gain one pound. That means a person would need to eat 19 and a half glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts, in addition to their regular daily caloric intake, to gain a pound. So does it really make sense to think that one occasional treat will make a person fat? And more importantly, would someone be a worse person if they were five pounds heavier? Sometimes it seems like we get so caught up in our appearance that we tend to forget that we are complete people, and we often completely disregard our inner beauty.
So let’s get real and stop with the fat talk. Next time a friend says one of those unconstructive superficial comments like, “Today I am totally having a fat day,” try countering it with, “Don’t talk about my friend that way.” Believe me, those little words can make a world of difference.
Jenna Kruger is a sophomore English major.