Hey everyone! So I thought I might take a step away from writing about Neurofibromatosis this week, and focus on an issue that is wide spread in today's society, and something that has hugely impacted my own life. I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and came across this picture. Take a good look at it, as well as the caption underneath:
So I can pretty much guarantee that at some point in your life, you have envied a mannequin (seriously, don't laugh!). Ever tried an outfit on that looked good on the mannequin, but looked awful on you? Ever thought "Man, mannequins look good in everything!"? Ever wished you were as thin as a mannequin so you could fit into those skinny jeans? I know I have.
I've been struggling with body image issues since I was about 14 years old. At one point in my life I strove to look like that stick thin, sickly looking mannequin. How horrible is that? Looking back on pictures of me from 6 years ago, I finally realize that my 84 pound self looked horrible. I was awfully thin, my face looked sunken and you could see my collarbone from a mile away. Since when did that become "beauty"? And since when did these sickly looking legs on the mannequin become acceptable?
So many girls (and some boys) strive to look like the people they see on TV or in the magazines, and if you ask me, this mannequin gives yet another reason for people to feel inadequate. Many people with eating disorders compare themselves to others, and I know that because I used to do it all the time. I used to say things to myself such as, "Oh, well she's thinner than me so I need to be skinnier." Why are we facilitating self destruction and allowing girls to hate their bodies, and teaching them that beauty is based on the number you see on the scale? Why are we allowing society to teach girls to despise their bodies, which results in them starving themselves to simply look skinny?
I'm sure you all have jammed out to Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass", and for a while I felt enlightened that someone in the music industry was breaking down the walls and trying to implement the idea that girls who aren't a size 00 are beautiful too. However, I was appalled when Meghan Trainor said in an interview that she "... tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that's not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, "Ma, can you make me a sandwich?""... I have a lot to say about this but some of it probably isn't appropriate for the internet but I will say this:
You don't "decide" one day that you want to be anorexic. You don't decide that you are going to stop eating the things you love and essentially starve yourself. You don't decide to turn your life upside down because you fear becoming fat, ugly or unwanted. You don't wake up one morning and say "This is the day I become anorexic". It doesn't happen like that. Eating disorders slowly manifest overtime, it's almost like you become blind to what you are doing to yourself. You don't see what's happening. Before you know it you have something on a plate in front of you that you used to love eating, but now it sits there and mocks you...you want to eat it but can't find the courage to do so. You're afraid of what food might do to you, and you're afraid of the person you might become if you give into the "temptations" of food. Meghan Trainor said that it takes "strength" to have an eating disorder. I'm sorry, but you don't need strength to develop anorexia or bulimia, it takes strength to face your daemons and overcome your eating disorder. Strength is acknowledging that something is wrong and deciding to make changes in your life to guide you to recovery and changing the way you think about food and your body. If we can change the way society portrays beauty, then that's a stepping stone to eradicating eating disorders and self-destructive behaviours.
Thanks for reading everyone. I've had this post sitting here for a while and I've been unsure about posting it, but I feel like this is an issue that needs to be brought to the table to be discussed openly. So please feel free to comment below!