I get the best advice from the rebel in my head.
She's pretty badass. To paint a picture, this lady thinks dieting is ridiculous. She actually had the ovaries to shave her whole head instead of just a patch. She has no fear of looking ugly and she is FEMINIST AS F****.
Recovering from a more "disordered" mindset has really been about tuning into the woman in my head who thinks that dieting is a mass conspiracy to make women complacent. She is the cool punk rock angel sitting on my shoulders when the perfectionist and polite diet devil is looming over my food choices.
Most women have this voice in their head. We've grown up with the Spice Girls, No Doubt and riot grrrrl music. We've heard TLC's "Unpretty." We know intellectually and intuitively that the beauty ideals we're holding ourselves to are BOLOGNA.
But, somehow, we're still being held to this beauty standard. This blog post is designed to make you ANGRY enough that you have the COURAGE to stop caring about how we SHOULD look:
Here are some feminist reasons to get angry about dieting:
1. Diets don't really work and they cost a lot of money.
If you read the blog regularly, you know that 95% of diets do not work.
This BAFFLES me. How do we live in a world where something that doesn't work at all grosses $20 billion?!!! And that report is from 2012. A report from 2015 suggests that number is up to $60 billion. This likely doesn't include the inordinate amount of money we spend on green juice, shopping at Whole Foods, sessions at SoulCycle, or beauty products.
According to that 2012 ABC News report, 108 million people diet each year and 82 percent of weight-loss product consumers are women. Last I checked, women didn't make up 82 percent of the population so why are we spending billions of dollars on a product that doesn't even work? #fixthewagegap #fixthespendinggap
2. It's not about health. It's about how you look.
Every other blog post that I write is about dispelling the myth that being healthy involves being skinny* because I want to get the heart of the matter:we are doing all this to our bodies because we want to look a certain way.
Oooof! Looking a certain way is complicated, right? The way we look transmits our status to the world in a lot of ways. Presenting as white, straight, cis, and thin affords you all sorts of institutional privileges not afforded to people who don't present that way. I mean, c'mon, this is basically the whole gist of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech. It's about the content of our character, not the color or elasticity of our skin.
3. Our body projects are preventing us from doing our work, loving our families, loving ourselves, and changing the world.
As Naomi Wolf said in her brilliant book, A Beauty Myth:
"A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women's history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one."
If we are spending all of our time and money counting calories, then what time and money goes toward closing the gender wage gap, advocating for reproductive rights, or just generally changing the world for the better in whatever way that means to you?
Even if we like our gender roles, we can't even be good mothers or good wives spending our time and money on products that don't work. Eating gluten-free pizza is not going to fix your marriage or make your kids feel more loved (unless celiac disease is source of tension in your family unit).
Here's the deal: They're not going to give us permission to quit dieting and stop caring about our bodies. Status quo will not change. As I've said before, we have to start feeling good about ourselves first.
And, that my friends, is feminist as f***. That's the whole point. We need equality and we're the only ones who can give it to ourselves.
*If you still don't believe me, I strongly encourage you to read this book.