now i’m not sure how many feminists are in the house, but for those who aren’t familiar, let me give you a 5 second summation of the movement: the personal is political.
when it came about this was revolutionary and it continues to shape the way we move, fight, conceptualize, write, think. recently there were two articles that brought the importance of personal issues into the public sphere.
the first is from chloe at feministing.com, discussing having an eating disorder and being a feminist writer. the second is a response to the piece, and puts forward the idea of gaining weight as political. they are best read sequentially.
its hard to write about these issues and have a concurrent eating disorder. i started my eating disorder therapy last week, for the first time in years, and i found myself struck dumb when i was asked if i was “restricting.” wait a second, i found myself thinking. i’m not thin, that’s a question for anorexics. and yet, the question remains. am i restricting?
this is a better but a more loaded question than using words that are accepted in our culture, works like “dieting” or “cutting back” or “trying to avoid [eating this].” yes, i am restricting. i don’t know anyone who doesn’t, in the back of her head, think at least a little bit about what is going into her mouth. but maybe that’s part of the problem.
and i, like the woman who was brave enough to write the second piece, don’t want to admit that my eating is still disordered, because i’m now getting more compliments and attention than ever. my mother told me i have “such a cute little body now.” my self-esteem is apparently still tied to my body, even though i know i’m not “supposed” to do that. and to stop restricting – is that to give up on the idea of being thin forever?
it’s a terrifying concept, and one that speaks to addictions of all kinds. picture the alcoholic thinking about giving up going to the bar forever. this is why 12-step groups focus on “just for today”, a concept less terrifying than forever. but can just for today turn into political protest? is being fat, or voluptuous, or thin, or very thin, political? is being fat in a magazine political? is eating how you want without worry political?
i think it is. but getting there personally is a struggle we all fight alone.