It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and just the way my mind works, I need to spill some ink about it, not only to put forth some ideas, but to organize my thoughts on it…I did a rant of sorts on the subject about it two years ago, so I think it’s time for a renewal. Just my observations…
Don’t you think by now the expression, “Somebody get her a sandwich!” should be an archaic one? To be so cliché as to bewilder the mind that anybody currently would use it?
Lo and behold, I can attest to hearing this phrase all too often. I don’t understand how anyone with any common sense or decency would think that is an acceptable thing to say to somebody, much less how it is often conveyed, as if it is supposed to be funny.
There is still an incredible amount of pressure put on women to look a certain way, never mind act a certain way in response to how people view and objectify their bodies. Don’t be too skinny, don’t be too fat, don’t be too this or that.
I could go on a tangential rant about the National Institute of Health’s allocation of funds, but I wanted to plop down this information below as “worth knowing and seeing” and leave it at that for now.
I do think sometimes those in the feminist movement get too puritan about this, to be fair. There is nothing wrong with finding the opposite sex, the same sex, or what have you, attractive. We’re as much sexual beings, as we are social beings. But, undoubtedly, there is a point where objectification carries the day in our culture.
Objectification within this context manifest in thinking someone ought to eat a sandwich. Objectification in the sense of wanting to control another person’s body, direct it, shape it, mold it and present it in your own image.
I find one of the more disheartening versions of this to be when those in the act of pushing back against so-called fat shaming, they will shame skinny people. Skinny people are a more acceptable punching bag because I guess they don’t have anything wrong going on? They just wake up singing, “I’m so skinny, oh so skinny, ha-ha-ha!” and skip through life carefree?
It seems particularly corrosive in celebrity culture. Oh, she only looks that way because she’s rich and has trainers and bah blah blah. Jeez, in trying to elevate yourself, you have to diminish her autonomy? Her hard work? “If I had what she had, I’d look like her!” Isn’t that kind of the point?
And not to make this seem like an aside, but I do think perhaps not enough credence is given to the pressure on men to look a certain way as well, although I think the body image double standard still weighs (no pun intended) more heavily on women (lose that pregnancy weight! look good as you get older! etc.).
It’s a good week to reflect on the power of language, especially as applied to our judgments of other people’s bodies, to build up and to tear down.