Diet Culture Tames Us

SummerBody Image, Self-Love

Last week I was bullied – I’ll spare you the details. I signed up for this kind of thing when I decided to do this work in an online setting – pushing back against the status quo and speaking up for what you believe in comes with an emotional cost sometimes. But, the benefits of helping people like you far outweigh the eye roll and middle finger muscle exhaustion that happens when someone trolls me (Note to self: do more middle finger curls).

What happened was a reminder of the ways in which people are bullied into silence in our culture, especially those who are more marginalized.

I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this and the way diet culture and the idea of the “female ideal” silence and disrespect us in an insidious way – like one giant mansplaining monster in our closet.

They suppress us by cutting off the access to ourselves – we lose touch with our body, our convictions, our desires and consequently, our life when we’re fixated on our bodies and food.

They subtly deplete our time and energy by convincing us that it’s normal to obsess over whether we ate too much, finding the right super-food to solve our life’s problems and how our waist looks in an outfit.

With or without our consent, it’s being programmed in us from a young age that we need to follow these rules in order to gain acceptance and currency in this world. To live our “best life.”

Conform or pay the price.

Measure up or be judged.

But when we decide to play by their rules, we give away our power.

We become tamed.

They tame us by taking away our power so that what we think and do is prescribed for us – what we eat, how we look, how we live and what we do with our body. It’s too much or too little and never enough.

It slowly chips away at our sense of worth and makes us feel like we’re inferior unless we follow their playbook. Like we’re a problem that needs to be fixed.

It puts us in a cage where we’re not able to live and express ourselves fully.

It’s time to reject that.

It’s time to untame ourselves.

To reclaim our time and energy and reject obedience.

To see that we’re not broken and we are not the problem. ​​​​

To see that the mark we leave on this world is not from how “attractive” we are.

It starts by waking up to the ways in which our autonomy has been stifled and turning the volume up on our voices. To stop playing by the rules.

To stop letting fear hold us back from speaking our minds and living our lives.

Break out of the cage.

Burn the house of unrealistic expectations down.

Be a little more untamed.

Are you with me?