Friend 1: ‘I’m so fat and ugly’.
Friend 2: ’No you’re not! I’m the one who needs to lose some pounds’.
Friend 1: ‘Yeah right. If I looked like you, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. I need to lose at least six kilograms.’
Repeat back and forth ad infinitum.
By my estimation, I’ve had and heard this conversation 68 bazillion times in my life. Sometimes I play the role of the fat and ugly one forcing my friend to be kindly and self-abasing. Other times I’m the one trying to talk some sense into my friend /colleague/neighbour/hairdresser/mother/stranger on the bus.
Having been schooled from girlhood in self-criticism, particularly when it comes to our bodies, Fat Chat becomes our default language in adulthood. It’s an icebreaker, a means of ingratiating ourselves with a group of strangers or a way to bond with our gal pals.
While we may talk about how much we hate our body parts to gain social acceptance, research suggests that Fat Chat is counterproductive. It turns out that women who engage in Fat Chat are liked less by their peers.