Reshaping campus diet culture: how the Wellness Center is tackling eating disorders on campus

Dietculture_sadief

Posters discouraging “disordered eating” were found around campus as a courtesy of the Wellness Center. The infographics focused on the fatphobia, or negative ideas about food, that follow from Thanksgiving meals. The information cited examples of negative affirmations and potentially problematic phrases that may affect one’s self image. These flyers and information given out, specifically pertaining to diet culture and fatphobia, are relatively new territory for the Wellness Center to cover. Isabella Franklin ‘23, an emotional wellbeing peer educator, is enthused to be discussing and covering these new topics, seeing as diet culture is “extremely prevalent and normalized” on college campuses.

Diet culture manifests as a belief that certain body types are deemed more societally worthy than others. The everyday jargon surrounding “health” on college campuses frequently turns to upsetting or problematic ideals. Diet culture has always had a hold on society, particularly on young women, but it can be seen at its height in the early 2000s. Following a plethora of media such fashion trends, models, and TV shows, many craved thinnes to the point of starvation and malnutrition. The scene seemed to be improving when fourth-wave feminism surged in the mid 2010s: modeling was becoming more size-inclusive, a body positivity movement was surging, and songs came out that encouraged self-love and beauty for all outward appearances. 

However, society’s obsession with thinness has come back in full swing. The love-affair with weight loss is due to the resurgence of Y2K fashion, and celebrities detailing their weight loss stories while promoting unrealistic body ideals. Perhaps the most predominant in spreading these ideals is Tik Tok. The app is a breeding ground for Kate Moss quotes and teenagers attempting to transform their already healthy bodies into those that they see on their explore page. Like it or not, society’s worship of the thin body has come back, if it ever left at all. 

The obsession manifests itself, at least on our campus, as the most blithe comments, the drastic calorie deficits, and the negative self-talk after simply eating. Though it may seem strange to see posters about how to go about Thanksgiving, these infographics and the Wellness Center educators prove important in rewiring the ways we think about our bodies and habits. 

 

heinz1@stolaf.edu

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