“Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”- Naomi Wolfe
Something I try to constantly conceptualize with my clients is that rejecting diet-culture is more than just beneficial to their mental and physiological health; It is a courageous and rebellious act against a system that oppresses women and girls. Women have been told too often, since they were very young, that they need to look, dress, behave a certain way in order to live within a male-centric culture. To be good, but not too good. To have opinions, but not too loudly. To work hard, but never over-shadow the male. To accept the male hierarchy in the family home. Rejecting dieting is fighting for autonomy, equality, and freedom in a way that stems from the deep roots planted by women rights activists over 150 years ago.
– 36 women have held a US governorship since the first woman elected in 1925, while over 2300 male have been governors.
– Women hold only 23% of the total available seats in the US Congress AND in the national parliaments worldwide.
When you consider that women represent approximately half the global population, it becomes unavoidably evident that this disparity is the manifestation of gender inequality. And when women do brave the vitriolic political world, they put up with excruciating discriminatory abuse, infused with outdated, disparaging tropes about female intelligence and ability coated with a thick layer of physical objectification (negative or positive).
Body-shaming social messaging is used as a means of controlling and centralizing political power. When we are so transfixed by changing our bodies and overcome by our perceived imperfections, it leaves little space for us to do internal work, intellectual development, or political advocacy. On this International Women’s Day, I implore you to continue to widen the scope of your value beyond your appearance and even beyond your body by rejecting diet-culture.
Lindsay Midura, RDN, LD, RYT
*Disclaimer: I am not anti-person who diets. I am just anti-diet. I respect all people who choose to diet, for whatever reason. It is out of my deep respect for humans that I am going to keep sharing with you all the extensive research that shows that dieting is ineffective for most and harmful for many.*