When most people hear the phrase the “F word,” they either think of an ambiguous explicative or a derogatory term for homosexuality. Society has deemed both of these terms so demeaning and so profane that we literally mask them in everyday life, referring to them only by their first initial. This week on campus, The SRU Body Reflections Club is seeking to broaden the “F word” euphemism even further to also include the word “fat.”
Monday kicked off the organization’s Fat Talk Free Week, which seeks to spread awareness about body shaming and encourage body positivity.
The organization ran a booth outside of Starbucks which featured tips and exercises that help people see themselves in a positive light. A “beauty bin” let students write down a negative aspect about themselves and throw it away and a beauty scale displayed a compliment instead of a number when you stepped on it.
Along with the booth, the club hosted an array of events throughout the week. Monday was makeup-free Monday, on Tuesday there was a petition for people to sign to stop using the “F word,” Wednesday was the showing of the movie “The Mask You Live In” and Friday the club had an Instagram cutout for students to take pictures with, with the hashtag #BeYOUnique on the frame. All week, the club was also posting positive talk sticky notes on bathroom mirrors around campus.
“We really want people to stop the negative talk and learn to love themselves,” SRU Body Reflections Club President Felicia Stover said. “You don’t have to be a model to be beautiful.”
“Fat talk” occurs both internally and externally as many young men and women consciously or subconsciously seek to fit society’s often unrealistic image of beauty. Some examples include, “I shouldn’t wear this because it makes me look fat,” or “That looks good on you; have you lost weight?” Instead of channeling these negative thoughts and trying to fit society’s beauty mold, the SRU Body Reflections club wants people to focus on the positives and find beauty in their uniqueness and individuality.
While body shaming is generally seen as only unique to females, this often times is not the case. Many argue that modern American culture places a great deal of pressure on young men to “prove their masculinity.” On Wednesday, the club shed light on this issue with the showing of the film “The Mask You Live in,” a 2015 Sundance Film Festival documentary that explores how society’s definition of masculinity is impeding on young men’s ability to be authentic to their true selves. The film digs deep into the societal implications this has as well as what future generations can do to combat the culture.
Students around campus have taken notice to the positive messages.
“The response we’ve been getting about the event has been pretty great,” Body Reflections Club Social Media Manager Laura Hancock said
On the club’s Twitter page, multiple students received retweets for their #NoMakeupMonday hashtag, and various students commended the club for the underlying message it is spreading.