Oct. 31, 2014

Begin the movement to see fat as a compound, not an identity

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March 10, 2014

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Fats are composed of a vast group of compounds that may be insoluble in water, but are generally soluble in organic solvents. There are a lot of different fats in food — monosaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-3, omega-6, saturated fats, trans fats, etc. However, in its most basic form, fat is a subset of lipids.

Do you know what ‘fat’ isn’t? An identity. People cannot be ‘fat’ because they are not composed of pure oils and omega-3s — they are composed of thoughts, emotions and vibrant spirits. Yet, there are 7,995,328 posts (roughly the total population of West Virginia, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and almost all of Nebraska combined) on Instagram that hashtag the word “fat,” and all the images with the hashtag “fat” are of gorgeous living human bodies.

The first post I clicked on that included the hashtag “fat” was also one that simultaneously featured the hashtags “starve,” “bulimia,” “anorexic,” “binge” and “purge,” indicating that “fat” can also be found attached to words associated with eating disorders.

People need to believe that they are more than their body weight. Let’s start an Instagram hashtag: #WMseesbeauty. This hashtag should be attached to a picture of something written on a mirror. On the mirror, you have to write your favorite thing about yourself — physical or not — in a short phrase.

I’ll start: I love my legs. That is not a vain statement, and here’s why: There is nothing wrong with being proud of the body that houses me and the legs that carry me through my day. The summer before my senior year of high school I got very sick and ended up in the ICU, weighing 104 pounds, and lost so much body fat and muscle mass that I was unable to stand or walk on my own. Years of training my muscles to be strong and dance had all become moot in a matter of months and I was devastated. I had to relearn basic ballet positions to rebuild my muscle.

I used to feel embarrassed because of how bulky my legs are, and I would often catch myself tugging at the hem of my shorts and skirts trying to hide them. I had to remind myself that I have worked so hard to get these thick stubby legs to press 250 pounds; they give me the freedom to leap and turn, and more important than anything, my legs are signs of the strength I developed after recovering from an overwhelming setback.

I vow to not be ashamed anymore —  we are nothing if we are not proud of how strong we have become through this life. So please, go ahead: Show me that #WMseesbeauty and use this hashtag on Instagram.

Email Dani Aron-Schiavone at draronschiavon@email.wm.edu.

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Daniella Aron-Schiavone

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