Diet Culture: We Are At A (Fat) Crossroads

Everyone knows about the horror of yo-yo dieting and fad diets and most people have been on diets for years, on and off. Even BMI, the holy grail of “health” vs “weight” used by the NHS, was really designed in the 19th century only to measure statistical averages in the population, and people are starting to doubt its usefulness for individuals.  Meanwhile, Weight Watchers still has a turnover of $267.4 million a year, despite being a treadmill that’s almost impossible to stay on…

diet culture
So where are we really at?

Let me paint you a picture of how confused and conflicted our society is becoming about the F-Word (…fat!), diets and beauty.
Research suggests that up to 50% of the population (US) take part in disordered eating, whilst only 1-3% are diagnosed with eating disorders. Not surprisingly, as being fat is rated as more horrifying than cancer by school aged girls in the US. In response, Barbie becomes fat, tall, and short to try and move with the times and promote positive body image.

 

barbie release
From www.app.com

Meanwhile, in the “adult” world, models are shamed for their stick figure looks, or for being plus-sized, in the name of their health. Size 12 women are hired as plus-sized models, and supermodels are told both that they are too fat and too thin in the same day. Misogynists become the most honest people in the game, using PhotoShop to shrink down plus-sized models and undermine their body positive messages.

A size 14 Meghan Trainor insults thin women and uplifts everyone else with her rallying body positive anthem “All About That Bass”...or does she?

all-about-bass thin

An advert for protein powder promoting weight-loss sparks feminist backlash, then adverts for junk food become the enemy of the state, as London’s mayor proposes a ban on tube “junkfood” advertising.

beach-body-fuck-off.png

People are terrified of looking bad whilst exercising, so campaigns are launched specifically to break down that fear. The nation’s favourite meal is the classic roast dinner (nearly 700 calories), in a world that is increasingly designed for (sedentary) work and sitting down. Yet in the midst of it all, health advice about different food “baddies” and food solutions remains as stable as a drunken giraffe, and starts to look like a joke…

So where do we go from here?

Do we go with the body positive, lazy and weak turncoats who have rejected all hope of finally becoming thin? Do we instead side with the Instagram gurus and fitness advisors and hope that this time, we will finally be strong enough and informed enough to get the body and the health that we deserve?

It’s not an easy question to answer. Which is why I am splitting my answer into more parts! Come back next week, when I’m going to explore the mechanisms of the diet and beauty industry from both angles, covering both a history and where we are today with our opposing clans.

diet-starts-monday-leftover-cookies-for-breakfast-diet-starts-tuesday-af54c

 

In the meantime, thank you for reading, and consider subscribing to my email list or following me here on WordPress or on Facebook. Thank you!


Reading List aka The Links That You Should Actually Read Though:

On BMI: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/bmi-stop-measuring-weight-height-health-measure-fitness-fat-a7894951.html

Barbie’s New Look: http://time.com/barbie-new-body-cover-story/

Size 12 Women used as Plus Sized Models: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2835253/How-plus-size-models-really-skinny-girls-padding-size-12-size-16-three-easy-steps.html

The Protein World Ad: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/are-you-beach-body-ready-protein-world-backlash-grows-as-thousands-sign-petition-calling-for-removal-10204601.html

Living in a sit-down world: http://www.raptitude.com/2015/01/why-we-spend-our-lives-sitting/

 

 

 

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I didn’t know I had OCD. Here’s why the stereotypes are so harmful.

Psychiatric disorders aren’t always simple or easily diagnosed…

Let's Queer Things Up!

Eight years ago, I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I didn’t completely fill those shoes, but after spending so many years struggling, I was just relieved to have a label — any label — to help me make sense of things. And when none of the medications seemed to work, they told me I was borderline. While I had a nagging feeling that wasn’t exactly right, either, I didn’t know what else it could be.

I was passed around the mental health system, with clinicians throwing their hands up, unsure of why I wasn’t responsive to any of the therapy or medication they offered me.

At one time, I was on seven different psychiatric medications, and yet I was still reporting that I felt deeply hopeless and anxious.

When I was hospitalized a second time, included among my discharge papers was a handout about personality disorders, emphasizing that…

View original post 1,946 more words

I Was One of the Scary Kids

The stigma we attach to people who are mentally ill or neurodivergent has human consequences and we need to listen.

Cracked Mirror in Shalott

Content note: ableism, stigmatization of Autistics and other PWDs, the Sandy Hook shooting

I didn’t want to write about the shootings at all. I knew a number of people (who I’ll link to throughout this post) and organizationswould be posting and writing, working to counter the inevitable stigma fail that would happen. I even was keeping to commenting on the links of people I care about, people who I know and who I want to have these sorts of discussions with. Then, it happened. I’ll leave the critiques of the post gawker promoted toothers, but I feel obligated to make a comment about some of the assumptions it is based on and promotes.

That comment starts with a declaration: I was one of those scary kids.

It’s not some great proud thing to say. It’s a truth, a truth that when I reveal it makes people…

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No Winners? It’s Not About Winning

Read Part 1 and Part 2 here!


Abandoning the idea of winning people over? On the internet? What is this heresy!

One of the heralded values of the internet is the freedom of speech and thought and self expression on it, but what is the point of self-expression if no one is going to be convinced?

We need, as individuals and “content creators” (however small scale that is; your Facebook status is miniature “content”) to adjust our goals.

Continue reading “No Winners? It’s Not About Winning”

It ain’t what you say…

I wanted to be able to find this again more easily. Men said, women *adjectived*; it matters.

language: a feminist guide

Women/ Rabbit rabbit rabbit women/ Tattle and titter/ Women prattle/ Women waffle and witter/ Men talk. Men talk.

These are the opening lines of ‘Men Talk’, a rap poem by the incomparable Liz Lochhead (you can watch her performing the whole thing here). It’s built around the familiar lexicon of disparaging terms for women’s speech: words like ‘rabbit’, ‘prattle’ and ‘witter’, which represent women’s talk as excessive, trivial and inane; and words like ‘gossip’ and ‘nag’, which represent it as malign and spiteful.

But those words are only the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the way the act of speaking is described in everything from news reports to Great Literature, you’ll soon discover that it’s persistently represented in stereotypically gendered and sexist ways.

The most neutral way to describe the act of speaking is by using the generic verb ‘say’. ‘X said’ is the reported speech…

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You Won’t Do Your Research

You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you

Initially, I started this blog because I wanted to start a discussion, or create a resource.

I was sick of the insular Tumblr politics, and sick of the prevailing dismissive attitude found everywhere else on basic concepts like body positivity, racism, and capitalism.

Every day I find a new pet peeve that I wish people would just give the time of day.

Continue reading “You Won’t Do Your Research”

This Debate is EMBARRASSING: Jordan vs Cathy

As of 12 February over 6.8 million people have watched a “debate” about gender politics between clinical psychologist (and YouTuber) Jordan B Peterson, and Cathy Newman, a Channel 4 news presenter. Jordan is a clinical psychologist in Canada who 4 years ago started putting his lectures on YouTube, whereas Channel 4 News is a mainstream broadcaster, known for having more “lefty” beliefs. Together, Cathy and Jordan cover the gender pay gap, Jordan’s recently released book, and the politics of campus protestors.

Yet this was no debate, and it does not deserve the views or the acclaim that it has been getting. It is an embarrassment.

 

First; Oxford Dictionary Online says a debate is:

debate defintion

So this formal structured discussion, featuring arguments from only one side, Jordan’s, and questions only from the other side, wouldn’t count. Not only this, but in the description itself the segment is described as a “fiery interview”, despite Cathy confusingly calling it a “spat” and a “joust” on twitter.

Continue reading “This Debate is EMBARRASSING: Jordan vs Cathy”

2018 Blog Maintenance Post and Update: Thank you

Just a little post to say I am currently writing again, and taking it more seriously this time around. I’m keeping track of the time I take, and working on posts regularly, and I’ve found a structure that I believe is going to help me get more interesting and relevant posts out more often.

I’d also like to take this chance to thank everyone who has helped with my blog this past year in 2017, it was my biggest year so far and even though we are still small, every view and comment and like is very meaningful to me and helps me to keep going, and to believe in the vision that this blog stands for, for interesting, topical and relatable content about social justice issues, from someone who has been there, done that, and still wants to keep going.

T-shirt saying "If it involves feminism, social justice, or equality, count me in""
You could say I have seen it, done it, and bought the T-shirt. But I didn’t, so this T shirt is just pulled from Google Images; sorry Zazzle.

Hope everyone is having a great 2018 so far, and look forward to seeing what is coming in the other 11 months of the year!

Thank you

Thinking Your Way Into Feelings; And Out of Confusion

Today I wanted to write about what I do when I get overwhelmed with emotions that feel completely disproportionate; essentially exploring my coping mechanisms for understanding and learning from strong emotions bought about by strangers and other people.

Most information I initially found talked about getting therapy or about simply calming yourself down, deep breathing etc. But I wanted something more direct and effective, something accessible and personal. After lots of research, I’ve found a self-help method that really works well for me, and I wanted to share this and see if this could help other people.

Continue reading “Thinking Your Way Into Feelings; And Out of Confusion”