“’Health’ is our new ‘beauty myth.’”
“It’s fascinating how we’ve been fooled into feeling like we’re reclaiming power by saying DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR SIZE, ONLY YOUR HEALTH! But really, what we’re doing is taking the exact same process of body oppression and giving it a new name. Our “diet industry” has become a “lifestyle change industry.”
“Defining worthiness by health and fitness level is not just about size discrimination. It’s also about classism. Racism. Ableism. And much more.”
“It’s not the individual actions, but rather a pattern of obsession and the inability to function that becomes concerning. And understandably, these extreme behaviors are easy to adopt when you fully believe that your value, worth, and right to exist relies on how ‘healthy’ you are.”
“They know that our beauty ideal evolves with every standard we shatter. They realize that a new one arrives just as we find self-love in a new way. They get that the obsession with proving and glorifying health and fitness is just another way to regulate people and hinder self-esteem.”
- Jes Baker, Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls
These quotes from chapter three were really thought provoking! The focusing of our social narrative on health seems like a step in the right direction, but when society or culture puts values on certain bodies over others, we have to look deeper.
A healthy body is good, yes, but not every body is healthy, and not every body can be healthy, and some bodies face institutional,/economic/political barriers to health.
So suggesting that people strive for health the way we were/are supposed to strive for beauty (an unrealistic, often unreal standard) what are we really asking of people? And why?
Discussion Question: Have you noticed our cultural shift to “healthy lifestyles”? What was your first impression, and how do you feel about it now? Do you recognize any similar narrative techniques in how “health” and “beauty” are marketed?
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