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'Fat Talk' Makes Skinny Girls Feel Overweight

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I’m not proud of it, but I can definitely say I’m a part of the statistic.

The statistic that says 93 percent of college women admit to engaging in what’s referred to as “Fat Talk.”

This kind of talk occurs when women of normal weight or those who are even underweight, engage in a back and forth conversation about how fat they are. One friend complains to the other, while the second friend reassures the first friend she is not fat, but then complains of how her own body is fat and ugly.

A conversation goes something like this:

Friend 1: "Look at this fat." (pointing to an area by her tank top strap)

Friend 2: "Oh my God. There's no fat there. Look at mine."

Friend 1: "That's nothing. Mine is bulging."

Friend 2: "It is NOT. But I must have gained 10 pounds."

Friend 1: "Don't be ridiculous. You're a size 2."

Friend 2: "Yeah, well, maybe I should hit the gym."

This study – published in Psychology of Women Quarterly – provides that while women engage in this type of behavior as a way to receive support from their friends and affirmation that they are, in fact, skinny, the opposite is actually occurring.

The more college women talked about how fat they were, the more likely they were to be dissatisfied with their bodies, researchers say.

For this study, scientists interviewed 186 female undergraduates ages 18 to 23 at a Midwestern college. Only 9 percent of this group was overweight.

The women took an online survey asking them to write the next seven lines of dialogue between two friends after one complains about feeling fat. In addition, the students also answered questions about the frequency and meaning of fat talk, their level of satisfaction with their bodies and the factors influencing their body ideals.

Psychologists say "fat talk" is less about females actually being fat but rather, this type of self-criticism is indicative of a larger cultural problem.

American culture is all about dissatisfaction, psychologists said. A young woman is "not supposed to be" satisfied with herself, but rather, be in the ongoing process of perfecting oneself.

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