engage in "fat talk" — the self-disparaging remarks girls and women
make in relation to eating, exercise or their bodies — are less liked by their
peers, a new study from the University of Notre Dame finds.
Alexandra Corning, research associate professor of psychology and director of
Notre Dame's Body Image and Eating Disorder Lab, the study was presented
recently at the Midwestern Psychological Association annual conference.
study, college-age women were presented with a series of photos of either
noticeably thin or noticeably overweight women engaging in either "fat
talk" or positive body talk; they were then asked to rate the women on
various dimensions, including how likeable they were.
in the photos were rated significantly less likeable when they made "fat
talk" statements about their bodies, whether or not they were overweight.
The women rated most likeable were the overweight women who made positive
statements about their bodies.
it has become a regular part of everyday conversation, 'fat talk' is far from
innocuous," according to Corning.
strongly associated with, and can even cause, body dissatisfaction, which is a
known risk factor for the development of eating disorders."
fat talk has been thought of by psychologists as a way women may attempt to
initiate and strengthen their social bonds, Corning's research finds that
fat-talkers are liked less than women who make positive statements about their
findings are important because they raise awareness about how women actually
are being perceived when they engage in this self-abasing kind of talk,"
knowledge can be used to help national efforts to reduce 'fat talking' on