Editor's note: The post below comes courtesy of little m (you may recognize the name from her periodic comments). lm has graciously agreed to guest post for me from time to time. Let us know what you think. . .
Lots of you all might have seen in the comments here that I’ve mused that my personal physique is such that whether I’m “too thin” or “too fat” depends on where I am in the country. What that finally told me – after much mulling – is that THIN and FAT are COMPARATIVE CONSTRUCTS, not absolutes, and that they depend a great deal on WHAT people think and WHY they think that.
In our culture, we have been conditioned to believe that, especially for women, THIN IS BETTER NO MATTER WHAT.
Another absolute. And it has potentially deadly consequences when taken to the extremes – as Dr. Stacey is showing us.
So one of the things I started to do when confronted with “THIN IS BETTER NO MATTER WHAT” is to shout back – if only in my head –
Those questions and others like them -- critically deconstructing messages that their creators hope we’ll absorb without thinking about them -- work for me in counteracting that never-ending assault. It’s an assault that sets the concept up based on imagery so manufactured that the people used to manufacture the standard don’t even meet it.
Dr. Stacey thought it would be cool for me to share them, and other related stuff, for readers to create their own files of coping skills – since we all deal with this same issue, but it manifests in different ways in our lives.
This will probably be one of my most serious posts. Principally because I believe so much in what Dr. S is doing and want to show her and her subject material proper respect.
Additionally (and with her approval) because I believe that when a disempowering, unhealthy, tyrannical standard has its grip on your life and lifestyle, that poking relentless fun at it helps put it in its place.
Humor is a power tool.
There may be a lot of things that I say that are not going to help everybody.
For example, these days a lot of eating disorders start when girls are pre-teens and teenagers.
I’m neither one anymore, so even though I remember what it felt like to have being thinner matter more than anything – more than energy to make good grades, more than some adult telling me it wasn’t healthy not to eat all day (what did they know, anyway?), MORE THAN ANYTHING – I’m not actually in that space anymore. So those of you still in that space might feel like I don’t have much to say to you.
On a different level, a lot of the questions I ask (like “WHO SAYS?”) depend on challenging outside norms, on challenging the status quo. And for a lot of reasons, a lot of people don’t feel like they can do that. Or that they’re not ready to do it yet.
All I would say is, if you find something here that you think will help you deal, then use it. And then come back and tell us about it.
So to begin:
The “WHO SAYS?” position in my own head got a big boost when I read an article that helped me crystallize that thought that maybe – just maybe – something OTHER THAN my body size was the REAL problem.
So I love this article very much.