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Awareness weeks that should overlap

September 27, 2012

Trigger warning: Discussion of eating disorders and suicide.

All this week we will be celebrating National Weight Stigma Awareness Week, as discussed by Dr. Deah earlier this month.

We recently saw the end to Suicide Prevention Awareness Week just as we’re coming up on the second annual Weight Stigma Awareness Week. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), “BEDA’s goal is to bring awareness to a common and entrenched social injustice that often results in serious physical and mental health consequences for those affected.” Consequences indeed. I feel the need to point out that suicide and attempted suicide are common results of those mental health consequences that BEDA is talking about.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the two awareness weeks are almost back to back. Considering that teens who even think they’re fat are more likely to attempt suicide and, let’s face it, the fat  hate starts early with children as young as three years old showing weight bias against heavier people, attributing such things as being ugly, lazy, and stupid.

By three years old, people. 

That’s some seriously early weight hate indoctrination. One study shows that children 5-11 prefer underweight friends and react more positively to underweight stimuli than overweight stimuli (which, of course, they react to negatively).

Considering that my son is 6, almost 7, these statistics are a huge concern for me. This Weight Stigma Awareness Week I think will be the first time I’ll talk to him about weight stigma and prejudice. He’s already had a good start having been introduced to ideas such as segregation and racism during the last black history month at his school. I then took the opportunity to introduce the idea of LGBT rights.

So far, I’ve handled weight stigma by simply loving my body, but perhaps it’s time for a more active role. BEDA has a weekly step-by-step plan to get active in body love. What a great way to involve the whole family with suggestions such as, “Think about your REAL values… and what impact you want to have on the your fellow human beings” and ” Host a ‘You’ Day — Celebrate relationships, life experience.” Tuesday would be a great day for fat people art! And Wednesday? How about creating a collage of body positive messages from the whole family?

Whatever you do for Weight Stigma Awareness Week, be sure to share it with friends, family, Facebook, Twitter, and complete strangers. It’s hugely important that we spread the word and get people involved in a discussion and that discussion needs to include, as I started out this post with, the discussion about suicide prevention awareness as well.

It only makes sense that these two should overlap and be talked about as a whole. I’d also like to take a moment to mention another organization very near and dear to my  heart. Two Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an organization that spreads awareness about depression and self-harm, which is natural ally to both awareness discussions that we’re talking about today. So tell me, what are you planning to do for Weight Stigma Awareness Week?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. violetyoshi permalink
    September 28, 2012 2:58 am

    I have heard To Write Love on Her Arms has messages that are slut shaming as part of their campaign.

    • hlkolaya permalink
      September 28, 2012 9:44 am

      I’ve never heard anything like that.. could you elaborate?

  2. October 9, 2012 11:10 am

    I just learned that October is Bullying Awareness Month too, so here’s another one we can add to the list.

    Peace,
    Shannon

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