1 March 2010, 10:13
This is a subject I am very, very passionate about. If you were expecting to be coddled on the subject, you’re out of luck. This is tough love, because we need it.
As women, we feel so much pressure to look a particular way. This isn’t news. But what IS news is that I think the wave has broken. People are starting to push back. From Coco Rocha & Doutzen Kroes speaking out publicly about the size of models to Jessica Simpson’s upcoming series The Price Of Beauty (coming to VH1 on March 15th), women in positions of power or influence — & women who are often looked up to as body or beauty ideals — are finding a voice. A voice which says, “ENOUGH!”
As Kathleen Hanna would say, “We’re not gonna prove nothing, nothing, sitting around, watching each other starve”.
What does it mean to starve yourself? What does it mean to go hungry by choice? Does it make you strong? (‘Look how much willpower I have!’) Does it make you different? Does it make you special?
A hungry girl is an ineffectual girl. A hungry girl is a girl sapped of energy, strength, life-force. A hungry girl can’t achieve anything, fix anything, come up with a bold, brave solution. Choosing to go hungry is a way of subjugating your own strength, your own power. It is a way of making yourself small & useless. It is asking someone else to take care of you. It is about giving up, giving in.
You know what, though? No one actually wants you to be like this. Any man worth his salt wants a woman who is a worthy adversary, someone who is his equal, strong & proud, someone who will tell him to pipe down when he needs it, & someone who can support him with unwavering personal strength & unconditional love. Women don’t want you to be like this. We want you to love yourself, feel beautiful, achieve AMAZING things & rock the world. We want you to inspire us & show us what you’re made of. We want you to be a rad role model, a beacon of light, a shocking wake-up call.
Anyone who encourages you to go hungry, to buy a size down because “you’ll fit into them one day”, who tells you “you would be beautiful if…”, IS YOUR ENEMY. NO EXCEPTIONS.
I was thinking the other day that the women I know & love are so much more motivated, goal-driven & focused than the majority of men I know, & I am so proud of them. They are so frigging brave & determined. They are not all divinely in love with their bodies 100% of the time, but they know their strengths & they do their best. They can see their own beauty & they celebrate it. When we go out together, we taste each others’ meals. We laugh & drink & we don’t talk about diets. & guess what? That food they’re putting into their body is what fuels them to be so creative, brilliant & fabulous.
Empty bellies do not beget genius.
Something horrible like 60% of six year old girls feel “overweight”. THIS IS CRAZY. Where do they get this from? Magazines, television, mothers who talk about how “fat” they feel, who complain about not fitting into their jeans, who serve themselves much smaller portions than the rest of the family. Okay, time to get over it. Time to move on. Scary secret: no one cares what you look like! NO ONE CARES! IT DOESN’T MATTER! Stop wasting your brainpower on something so trivial & stupid. Because it IS stupid, no matter which way you slice it! Do something meaningful with your life! Do something which surprises people, empowers other women, shakes belief systems! Nothing could be less important than worrying about what size clothing you wear!
Being hungry & sad is not sexy. It’s not cool. It’s not dramatic or mysterious. It’s a way of putting your life on hold. It’s procrastination. It’s you not wanting to prove yourself in any real way. It’s you being afraid of growing up & taking risks. It’s you putting off the important stuff.
“I always felt that anorexia was the form of breakdown most readily available to adolescent girls.” — Kate Beckinsale
Eating disorders are not a choice but HOW YOU DEAL WITH THEM IS. You can choose for it to dominate & completely ruin your life, or you can decide to take control, LOVE YOURSELF & live the amazing life which is waiting for you.
I know that’s scary. Trust me, I do. Especially when you feel like your entire life, personality & all your behaviour has been constructed around this ugly thing. If you remove that rotten core, what’s left? Who are you?
You are you, but amplified. You are you, pure & distilled. You are you, but happy. You are you, confident & brave & strong & risk-taking & amazing. You are you, beautiful & incredible with a will of iron. With beliefs you’d die for & integrity & quirks & brilliant insights. You are you, but BETTER. You’re not losing anything — only getting back to who you REALLY are. It’s a re-ignition of your childlike wonder, your fascination, curiousity, acceptance & flawless love.
God, you have no idea how much better life is when your head isn’t full of numbers & a fixation with toothpick thighs. I swear, you can’t even begin to fathom it. The world, & all of us in it, are waiting for you to join us! This is such an incredible, beautiful, wonderful place & you can’t see it when you’re hidden behind a veil of fear & insecurity & nervousness.
You REALLY CAN do ANYTHING YOU WANT, but having an eating disorder is like taking a crowbar to your own kneecaps. It’s debilitating & it shatters your world view. I want you to get on the roller coaster! I want your brain to fire on all cylinders! I want you to do something that makes me feel so proud to say you are someone I know! We all do!
You’ve heard it before, but it’s how you feel on the inside which counts. That is what will really dictate your luck, success & happiness, & I promise you that the way you look on the outside has absolutely nothing to do with the way you feel. How you treat yourself, the amount of exercise you get, what you put into your body — that determines how you feel, definitely. But if you think that starving or vomiting your way to being skinny is actually going to make you happier, you couldn’t be more wrong. All an eating disorder indicates is massive self-disgust & self-hatred on a catastrophic level. Feeling that way can manifest itself a variety of ways, from self-mutilation to drug abuse to bulimia, but regardless of the method, the madness stays the same.
& how do you improve the way you feel inside? ...You guessed it.
I’m going to be writing more about how to love your body all week. Ready to take a little trip down TRULY Radical Self Love Lane? I am… Take my hand. Let’s do it.