Saturday, April 16, 2011

A short rant on how we're being pimped out for money and hating ourselves for it.

So, last week I did something I'd never done before. I bought a girl's cut tshirt. Yes, I am a girl, but I've always stuck to guys tshirts. Always. I'd like to say that I bought it in a "PSH YEAH I CAN WHERE WHATEVER i WANT" moment, but really, I just wanted the shirt because I liked what was on the shirt and Hot Topic only sold the girl's cut. And I learned something: It looks awesome on me. 

The shirt supports To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization promoting mental health and advocating treatment for self-injury, depression, eating disorders, and suicidal behavior.

 After I got this shirt, I went into my closet, and started trying on things that I haven't ever really worn because I was too afraid to wear them. And I learned something else: They look good on me too.

That's not right. I thought, You're not supposed to like the way you look. 

I actually felt guilty for enjoying the body that I have.

Anyone else think there is something hideously wrong with that?

But that's what we're taught. I see it all the time. We're told that if we just lose X amount of weight, then we will be happy in life and everything will be rainbows. But once we reach that, we're not happy. We find out we still need to be thinner. And thinner. And thinner. Until what? Until we disappear? Of course, if you just so happen to be one of the people who is naturally the "ideal" thin, you get to listen people constantly telling you to "eat something" and that you're "too skinny." You can't win.

It's no wonder that every 1 in 200 girls in America develop an eating disorder. The mortality rate for eating disorders is 12x higher than the death rate for all causes of death for girls aged 15-24 combined. There are people dying because they hate their bodies. Dying because they have lost the ability to eat from being forever told that food is the enemy and that they're not good enough and that they don't deserve to be happy. There is a 30-40% recovery rate for anorexia and bulimia. The other 60-70% either die from the disease or live the rest of their lives miserable and hating themselves. (Source)

Now, let's take a quick look at the plethora of dieting products that are out there.
Pills! YAY! *sarcasm*

I'm going to save you lots of money and tell you this: They don't work.

They're not supposed to work. Do you know why? Because if they worked, then you wouldn't need the products anymore and they lose their market. In economics, this is known as "planned obsolescence". Basically, they make a product that works up to a point, then stops, so you feel the need to buy it. This is the reason we don't have light bulbs that last 100 years, even though we could easily have achieved such a feat by now. With weight loss products, they help you lose some weight, but do nothing for the long-term, and then, in some freakish turn of marketing genius, you blame yourself for the failure of the product, and buy more.

In short, this is how the system works: We have the fashion/magazine/media industry telling us we need to be a certain size, while the "weight loss" industry sells us pills, books, special foods, and basically everything else you could think of to make us "healthy." Then, when those products fail us, we feel guilt and shame, and possibly eat hoardes of McDonald's french fries or rocky-road ice cream to pacify ourselves, then go buy the gym membership that we will stop using in a month to start another dieting program.

And somebody else is getting rich off this. 

 Now, this isn't to say that we shouldn't be healthy. Or try to be healthy. Yo-yo dieting isn't healthy. But here's the cool part: They give us this cool little colorful guide thing to tell us what our body needs to be healthy.

Obviously, some people might have special dietary needs and that might change this some for them (if so, your doctor should be the one telling you about it.) But.. this is it. This is the food we should be eating to make us healthy*. There is a nice fancy nutrition website that tells us how much of this we should be eating.

*Healthy does not necessarily equal airbrushed model skinny.

We have forgotten how to enjoy the diversity of our bodies, of the fact that everyone is different  and that everyone deserves to be called beautiful because of it.

I'm going to be happy and ignore the everything that says that I shouldn't be happy because I should be happy with who I am and I should enjoy wearing clothes and I don't have to obsess over everything that I wear. I'm also going to enjoy eating, because eating is supposed to be enjoyable and I shouldn't hate everything I put into my mouth for its caloric content.

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