Welcome to Femminique!
This being my first post, and your first taste of this blog, I thought it appropriate to put a bit more expose in this piece.
It being July, we are well into one of my least favorite things in life: diet season. Every advertisement seems to scream “EAT THIS, BE HAWT, LOSE WEIGHT. BE HEALTHY.”
Well you know what? This is total rubbish. There is nothing healthy about the diet industry. Most diets preach low calorie, low fat, or low-something-or-other. But the simple truth is that each of these diets prey on the pervasive emotional need of Americans to lose weight, never mind that the majority of diets are nutrient deficient. Diets focus on weight loss for the aim of thinness, which in our society is associated with beauty, goodness, happiness, and satisfaction. The diet industry preys on our basic need for love and acceptance by pretending to provide these things instantaneously.
Cloaked in the guise of health, fad diets promise to get you weight loss so that you can finally be at a “healthy weight.” What exactly does this mean? The American obsession with weight, and by proxy the propagation of fat stigma, uses the language of the BMI scale.
BMI, or body mass index, is a proportional measure of height and weight. That’s it. It cannot tell actual body composition, although this too can be problematic (but this is another conversation entirely). See, BMI really tells you nothing about the actual measures of health, like lipids, blood pressure, or genetic risk. Although the pervasive idea is that fat people = unhealthy people, this is simply false. At my medical industry job, I see people of every size that have chronic health conditions every single day. Sadly, fatphobia has invaded the health care industry too.
The issue with fat phobia and the proverbial “obesity epidemic” consists in social pressure, in beauty. The ideal body shape and ideal appearance has varied through the course of time. The obsession with being thin, or being strong, or being lean, is just that: an obsession. And what’s more, is that it is fueled by an industry that knows a large majority of people will fail to lose weight. Diets set you up for failure, because every time you fail is an opportunity to sell you something new, be it a “fat busting” shake or an fad exercise program, “ONLY $3.00 per day!”
I have come to understand, both through research and through my own struggles with self-acceptance, that health is being mindful with your body. Eating for both pleasure and nutrition. Loving both the curves of fleshiness and loving the stark silhouette. Health is moving your body in ways that suit you, whether that is picking up heavy things or doing tai chi.
There is good science (HAES) that says individual’s healthy weight (and therefore shape) is dependent not on a national standardized scale, but on the individual genetic and environmental make up of a person.
So I encourage you, with“bikini season” diet flood in full swing, to be bold: love your body as is.
For more information on HAES, visit http://www.haescommunity.org/
And for some great encouraging art check out this lady http://carolrossettidesign.tumblr.com/post/89000688919/ok-i-also-found-some-little-grammar-mistakes-on
And for more musings on my life, health care, self love, and even some thoughts on feminist marriage, stay tuned!
Also, watch out for intros from your other lovely mods, Bobby Wren and Roy Glib!
Welcome to femminique. Open your mind, challenge your own standards, and love yourself fiercely.
5 thoughts on ““Your Best Body NOW!”… or yesterday.”
Love this whole thing! (of course)
Do you have any links to articles about more the therapy side of things? I’m interested in becoming more aware of the way that certain groups define their own language… like, what are trigger words to avoid? How does it affect us to demonize the word fat? What does the word “chubby” really mean? (I personally, hate that word. So. Much.)
Or you can just write a post about that ALL FOR ME!
I’d love to do a follow up post on trigger words, and fat shaming language!
Yeeees. That would be really great.
I think the concept of the BMI is the biggest offender here. Everyone always throws around what is and is not a healthy BMI with no concept of how it actually works or what it actually means. I think why it offends me more than the fad diets and “health” magazines is because it was originally created to be helpful, and instead has just continued to propagate a flawed way of viewing human bodies- as something that needs to be “fixed.”
Yeah. I remember having to do the whole BMI test in PE every year of Middle School. It was awful. I dreaded it.