A young woman from Perth has declared next month to be Weigh Free May. I am so in
” I always end up feeling like shit when I look at Instagram ,” said Selena Gomez, who has 133 million Instagram followers, when she was interviewed by Vogue last year.
Selena. Freakin ‘. Gomez.
Of course, she’s not the only one. In 2017, the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health released a survey of 1,479 young people analysed on their stances to social media and found that Instagram, where personal photos take centre stage, received the worst ratings for body image and nervousnes.
” Instagram easily induces girls and women feel as if their own bodies aren’t good enough ,” acknowledged a respondent.
But blaming social media for women’s poor body image is easy. Harder to face is that Instagram is just the latest platform for the insidious disorder of relentless body-hating our culture fosters in women. On this subject, a Glosswitch piece in the New Statesman exhorted feminists to remember the analysis in older tracts like Susie Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue and Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, that” persecution was structural and bodies were real .”
” Once upon a time, we may have been angry about this ,” she despaired.
Is feminism failing in the fight for the female body? The $160 bn global beauty industry is growing at up to 7 % a year, more than twice the rate of the developed world’s GDP.
My own belief is that it’s hard to escape a cage with a shape that maintains changing. Feminism may have accepted Naomi Wolf’s 1990 dictum that” dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history” but in 2018 #cleaneating” and #fitspo don’t admit to being diet cults, even 37m or 54m Instagram posts later. In her latest book, Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenrich criticises the recent paradigm shift in which” now, health is indistinguishable from virtue “. The last decade has witnessed the emergence of orthorexia– an eating disorder in which a fixation for” healthy eating” is what causes one harm.
However the propaganda message redesigns itself, we can’t- we must not- abandon a feminist imperative to own our bodies as sites of our unconditional love.
It’s an activist mission that’s inspired Grace Ritter to proclaim” Weigh Free May “. The 24 -year-old student from Perth is now in recovery from an eating disorder that dominated her life for 10 years. She’s made a website and Facebook group, fostering others to let go of obsessive, aesthetic self-assessment for simply one month.
Her campaign requires no donation, “there arent” events beyond your own commitment:” I just wanted to start up a style to get people talking and thinking about ways they could be valuable and things they could do ,” she says,” that weren’t about shrinking themselves .”
Grace, I am so in. And in the notion that bodily consolation is a feminist act, I’d gues I’d share my own super scientific recommendations for simple ways to celebrate your body in a weigh-free May.