By now you all know how important body confidence and a healthy self-image are to me. This post hit me square in the face this morning, and instead of writing about it, I’ve simply copied my favorite parts and you can read the rest should you choose. I can’t say this better or with more experience than Vanessa has below.
Starved and Stifled: Women are counting calories instead of changing the world
By Vanessa Garcia
Beauty Redefined blog 9/17/14
Originally published in the Washington Post 9/5/14
Vanessa is a writer, playwright and journalist. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of California Irvine
“College-educated women are leaning closer to the toilet bowl than to Sheryl Sandberg’s boardroom table. In the past several years, women have been speaking louder about gender discrepancies in the workplace, unfair pay and the paradoxes that arise out of trying to “have it all.” On the surface, 21st-century feminism seems to be booming. But even as writer Hanna Rosin proclaimed “The End of Men” in 2010, women were really the ones disappearing. Quite literally. According to a 2009 article in the American Journal of Psychiatry, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.
Women are starving themselves. They’re spending more time thinking about their calorie intake than how to change the world. It’s not just the severe disorders that we have to be wary of. In a 2008 survey by SELF magazine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 percent of women reported disordered eating patterns, 37 percent regularly skipped meals to lose weight, and 26 percent cut out entire food groups.”
“Even now, when songs like “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor hit the pop charts, I have to wonder if they are the solution or the problem. The song, touted as a healthy-sized woman’s anthem, is actually pretty demeaning considering that the only reason Trainor gives for being happy with her curves is that guys like them: “Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size/She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
Women have to take their bodies back. We can’t close gender gaps when we spend endless hours counting calories instead of cracking glass ceilings. We can’t gain self-assurance when body dysmorphia is so abundant. It takes a whole lot of strength, fuel and energy to push all of inequity’s baggage off of us.”
“I realized that I was alone and that I could very likely die that way. I could waste away, along with my brain, my thoughts and everything I could possibly become…. Back then, I was 5 feet 5 inches tall and 100 pounds with a winter coat, sweaters, long underwear and boots on. (I only weighed myself fully dressed in winter, so if I weighed too much, I could blame it on the extra clothes.) It took five years from that moment — two of those in weekly therapy — for me to truly gain normalcy in my eating patterns.
If I could talk to my 25-year-old self, I’d tell her,
“Your time is precious. Get help. Do it now. You have too many important things to do.”