WE NEED FAT ACCEPTANCE. HERE'S WHY! #eatingdisorderawarenessweek
It's Eating Disorder Awareness Week and in order to decrease the number of people suffering from eating disorders we must talk about Fat Acceptance.
YES- FAT ACCEPTANCE.
You see, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, the sociocultural idealization of thin bodies [and the hatred and fear of fat bodies also referred to as Fatphobia or Anti-fat Bias] is the best-known environmental contributor to developing an eating disorder.
I can look back at my decade-long battle with bulimia and see that yup, the fear of being fat was the greatest contributor for me.
And I am not alone. Most, if not all women (men, too) in Western culture experience body dissatisfaction to some degree and I grew up believing one of the worst things I could be as a woman was fat.
These messages are rampant and come from our government, media, medical system, authority figures, social acquaintances, friends, and family.
What’s alarming is that girls start to express concerns about their weight and body image by age 3.
AGE FUCKING 3.
Before kindergarten, our little girls already know that our culture idealizes thin bodies and discriminates against fat bodies. While of course, they don't have the ability to fully process this, they do however pick up on the simple notion that our culture sees "fat as bad" which is something a 3-year-old can understand.
So the messages around “good” and “bad” bodies are anything but subtle or subliminal. There are direct and omnipresent.
Why does this matter?
According to NEDA: 1-4 dieters go on to develop disordered eating or an eating disorder.
Dieting is categorized as any attempt at weight loss or weight control through behavior modification like changes to food and exercise. Even if it’s for perceived “health” reasons.
That said, this is not a conversation around anti-health so do not get it twisted.
However, that is not the narrative we hear and as a result, our culture justifies stigma, discrimination, and shame against fat bodies most often under the disguise of health concern… “like I am all for you loving yourself, so long as you’re healthy.”
First, other people’s health isn’t anyone else business, nor is pursuing health a moral obligation. Secondly, I am not sure poor health is justification for shame.
I assume you are familiar with the work of Brene Brown, the most famous shame researcher of all. Her research shows that shame doesn’t lead to improved health outcomes or positive behavior change. It leads to a decrease in health, both mental and physical.
I want everyone, but especially those of us with thin bodies to take a stand against weight discrimination because of the persistent mental, emotional and physical harm it causes.
Not just for people in larger bodies, but for all people, including men and members of the LGTBQ community as we all suffer at the hands of fat discrimination and weight stigma.
Even though I have been thin my whole life, I have feared being seen in a swimsuit, I've refused to have sex naked with the lights on, I've hated going into dressing rooms to try on clothes and I struggled with my relationship with food. And I know I am not alone.