March 10, 2015

"Love Your Body" Two campaigns, two completely different meanings, one problem

Today in my email I received an unsolicited junk message promising I will "Love My Body Again" with a scheme for weight loss. I deleted it.

I also received an invitation to join a "Love Your Body" campaign by some lovely folks who think that if we encourage women to love their bodies they will:

1. Love their bodies
2. Not get an eating disorder

The second email was not junk mail -- but it troubled me, too.

1. Body image is really complicated
2. I don't believe loving your body prevents eating disorders

Actually, I believe both of these emails are bad for people with eating disorders. Not equally, but yes, I do.

The first email assumes that I want to lose weight, that doing so will make me happier, and that weight loss is a magic that exists out there even with all the evidence (including these ads) that show there isn't. This message is bad for everyone.

The second email does something worrying, too, though, and sadder still as it comes from those who care about and seek to help eating disorder patients. It implies that those with eating disorders failed to adequately love their bodies and this is why this illness happened. That they could, if they tried, just feel better. That if we all try try try hard enough we will feel great and accept who and what we are and how we look...

There we go: it's still about looks. The spam promised a new look that I could love, the other email promises I can love however I look. It's still a matter of image and appearance.

I deleted the second email, too.

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