Eating Disorders are a Feminist Issue

May 11, 2010

I am currently reading the book, "Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women can Transform their Relationships with Food through Myths, Metaphors & Storytelling" by Anita Johnston. This book is easy to read and incredibly insightful. Here is a passage that shocked me with its terrible truth:

So we find that, just as ancient societies had special rituals for girls at the onset of menarche to celebrate this rite of passage into womanhood, our modern society also has a ritual for adolescent girls to mark their entrance into womanhood. It is called dieting.

This strikes me as incredibly sad. A friend asked me today why we need feminism and it is because of this truth, if nothing else. There are many other issues, of course-unequal rates of pay for men and womyn, domestic violence, access to birth control, abortion issues, how the media portrays womyn, and the latest news from the American Academy of Pediatrics saying that cutting a girl's genitals, as long as it is small, is okay.

Eating disorders are often overlooked in feminist circles, but it is certainly a feminist issue. Girls are taught to hate their developing womynly body and so they strive to control it through food. They strive to make their curves straight and narrow like a man's. This is wrong. The start of our period should be celebrated and not condemned or ignored. There are some good things about our society, but the female diet culture is not one of them. Start subverting the patriarchy by honoring your own body.

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