Sorority events combat body image issues

Tara Powers

Delta Delta Delta is bringing Fat Talk Free Week to campus from Oct. 19 to 23 as part of a nationwide effort to highlight issues of body image among young American women.

Tri-Delta partnered with Reflections, the body image education and eating disorders prevention program affiliated with the sorority, to make Fat Talk Free Week a reality.

Through the week’s events, the sorority’s members advocate abandoning the “thin ideal” that has taken hold of women today. They introduced a viral video campaign last year that contained several startling statistics. For instance, according to a 1996 study, most fashion models are thinner than 98 percent of American women.

A study by the National Eating Disorders Association found that 40 percent of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

The five-day body activism campaign encourages students to replace “Fat Talk” statements – “I need to lose five pounds.” or “She’s too fat to wear that.” – with positive statements about their physical and emotional qualities.

“Our chapter got involved with this initiative last spring while we were applying for the Reflections: Body Image Program grant,” senior Membership Development Chair Sarah Labowsky said. “We thought it would be a great way to combat the body image problem that is so prevalent on college campuses. This is our second time hosting the event. We held one last spring and the reaction we got was overwhelmingly positive. We are so excited to be doing it again this year.”

In 2005, Tri-Delta partnered with the Reflections: Body Image program, which was developed to utilize the power sororities have as a group to change the way pop culture has defined beauty. It is the first effective peer-led eating disorder prevention program.

Every year, Reflections and Tri-Delta offer grants to certain chapters to fund all of the costs to implement this program. After Villanova’s chapter was selected to receive this grant, Labowsky and junior Activities Chair Sarah Curran attended Body Image Academy over the summer for training to lead this program.

Members of Delta Delta Delta have been sitting at the Oreo all week, and will be until tomorrow, to ask student passers-by to sign the Fat Talk Free Pledge.

“After signing the pledge we give students stickers indicating and reminding them that they are Fat Talk free,” Labowsky said. “Last year we were so excited when poster boards filled with signatures and the neon ‘Fat Talk Free with Delta Delta Delta’ stickers were all over campus. We are hoping for the same campus support this year.”

Tri-Delta’s goal for Fat Talk Free Week is to help students embrace a healthy ideal by increasing their body satisfaction.

“We want to emphasize that the healthy ideal looks different for every person,” Labowsky said. “Instead of feeling pressured to be a certain size or weight, we want to encourage students to appreciate all their bodies allow them to do.”