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“Say No To Fat Talk”: a worthy message or a double standard?

By March 25, 2011 6 Comments
Does Australian Cosmo encourage the same "fat talk" it denounces?

Does Australian Cosmo encourage the same "fat talk" it denounces?

“I shouldn’t have eaten that burger. I can feel it already on my stomach.”

“She looks great in those jeans. Why can’t I be as thin as her?”

“I’d be happier if I could only be skinnier.”

Sound familiar?

Last week, Australia’s Cosmopolitan Magazine joined forces with the Butterfly Foundation (a charity dedicated to issues surrounding eating disorders and body image) to launch a month-long “Fat Talk Free” campaign.

The campaign is meant to encourage readers to “denounce Fat Talk as destructive, unhealthy and a complete waste of energy.”

The “Fat Talk Free” campaign was inspired by Tri Delta’s “Fat Talk Free Week” and the body image program Reflections.

According to them, “Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies.”

I think this is a great idea, and a very worthy campaign. I have long been frustrated by my friends or family members engaging in Fat Talk almost as a natural reflex, a destructive defense against the feelings of low self-worth they feel from society’s portrayal of the ideal body.


Australia's Cosmo wants readers to "just say no" to fat talk, but do the magazine's articles and ads encourage something different?

However, I’m unable to reconcile this worthy cause with Cosmo’s own perpetration of Fat Talk-inducing images and ideas.

Through airbrushing photos of thin women in skimpy clothing, and featuring vacuous articles about beauty products and clothes, Cosmo contributes to Fat Talk at the same time it speaks out against it.

Cosmo says that Fat Talkreinforces the false idea that our value as a human being is based on how we look.”

But Cosmo, doesn’t your magazine reinforce this false idea?

I want to believe that Cosmo will take this issue to heart, and really think about their role in the instigation of Fat Talk. But will they?

What do you think? Will Cosmo change their portrayal of women’s bodies to make saying no to Fat Talk easier?