TO THE EDITOR:
In response to Catherine Mitchell’s Sept. 24 letter — first and foremost, I want to commend Catherine for her immense courage in addressing weight discrimination on campus. Her honest words were powerful, bringing to light a vicious and pervasive issue. Weight discrimination is not only hurtful, but it is dangerous, and exacerbates both false definitions of worth and destructive behaviors.
The question is, “What do we do about it?” While there is no simple solution, students can focus on noticing thoughts and statements that might put themselves or others down based on appearance. “Fat talk” and “muscle talk” are far too common in our conversations and perpetuate the idea that our worth is inherently linked to our weight. Don’t engage in or encourage fat talk — you never know who will be affected by your courage.
Get educated on disordered thoughts, behaviors and practices. Understanding the damaging effects of weight discrimination is the first step in resolving the issue. Embody Carolina provides trainings that not only discuss societal constructions of “beauty,” but provide participants with the tools and information to serve as compassionate and effective allies to those struggling with eating disorders. Getting trained helps students create a safer and more supportive campus community.
Finally, smash some scales. Southern Smash is an organization dedicated to obliterating our obsession with the scale and with numbers by symbolically smashing them to bits. On Oct. 28, Southern Smash is coming to UNC to smash and hold a panel discussion on eating disorders and body image.
Ultimately, remember that no number can define you.