Project Heal is a great organization that helps individuals who experience eating disorders and spreads awareness on eating disorder. Project Heal is opening chapters across the USA and Toronto, where I live, even has one. I frequently post their pictures and share their articles but this week I have been struggling with Project Heal.
Now, where I am finding the problem with this campaign is in the people Project Heal have chosen to use to promote the message of ending fat talk; a large majority (if not all from what I can see) are by medical definition, and most likely by societies definition, are physically skinny. While I do not believe this was done on purpose or with malicious intent (Project Heal is not about that) the images in their advertising does need to be more inclusive and representative.
Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia specifically) are already heavily stereotyped as being something that skinny girls/women do. There are in fact many individuals who experience eating disorders who are by medical definition overweight. These individuals are usually not taken seriously because they do not “look” how we imagine someone with an eating disorder should look. Also, there is a difference between fat talk when you are skinny and fat talk when you are actually “fat”.
I recognize that in many ways I cannot speak fully on this topic. I have never experienced an eating disorder and I am a skinny person. I do experience fat talk in my mind but I can push it aside. I do not want to speak for anyone, I just want to point out what I noticed and share what I do know. The face of mental illness and struggle is extremely specific. It tends to be white, middle to upper class and with a society accepted look (even I fit this description). We seem to be a society that empathize with skinny and condemns fat. I believe that in order to #EndFatTalk we need to end #FatShaming.