I apologize for my absence, but as mentioned on Instagram, I needed some time. Time for what you may ask? Time to simply survive. And while I would love to share more on this topic, I recently posted this past Sunday on Messy Mindfulness about the past few weeks in greater detail and how I worked (or am working, I should say) through it. So, I will not bore you with the same story.
Instead, I thought I would discuss why the Body Image Blueprint is designed to be a tool for anti-racism and dismantling the patriarchy. Now, I am sure you are thinking, “Um, I thought it is to support those with disordered eating or poor body image? So, I think I am all set on whatever bullshit you are trying to sell.” And, to some extent, you are correct (well, about fostering a better relationship with your body. You are entirely incorrect to assume it is something you do not want to be a part of.). However, what many fail to recognize is that these unattainable standards are actually rooted in racism.
Although the “ideal body” is constantly changing as time progresses, it almost always is in favor of thin, white, or light-skinned, women. While I am well aware these standards do not serve anyone, even white women, above a specific dress size, thin ideals were designed to further outcast and shame Black people, specifically, Black women. Over the years, being thin became a sign of being virtuous due to its alignment with the concepts of whiteness.
It is no secret that Black women tend to have curvier physiques. In past years, this body type became synonymous with being Black. And during the 19th and 20th centuries, any proximity to Black culture or being was not something any “self-respecting” white person desired. So, instead of looking within to discredit this racist and hateful narrative, those in power encouraged people to look beyond. And, by beyond I mean their physical appearance.
What is the opposite of curves? Thin. Soon, in hopes of distancing white people even further from Blackness and all that it was perceived to stand for, thin became synonymous with whiteness. You can only imagine how quickly ideologies like this catch on in times like that. Actually, you do not have to imagine, because we all face the consequences and burden of these unrealistic and racist standards now.
I am well aware of how bad this is, but, somehow, it manages to get worse. You see, we can not have racism without the patriarchy, or a system that values men above women and presents them with the majority, if not all of, the power. This is a very basic definition, and the patriarchy is just as harmful to men as it is to women… but that is a post for another day.
Right now, we will discuss how the patriarchy designed and benefits from self-hatred and body-ideals. But, first, let me ask you this, are you able to focus on anything other than food when you are hungry? Are you able to show up and give your all when your body is depleted? Have you compromised on your quality of life to lose a few pounds?
I have a feeling I already know your answers to those questions. The reason being, because diets are all designed to do the same thing: distract us from achieving something greater. If you are a woman who is dieting, I highly doubt you have the energy, focus, or drive to challenge your male counterpart for that new promotion or that raise. In fact, I highly doubt you have the capacity to focus on anything besides food and your body. Which is great in the eyes of patriarchy, because how do we disrupt a system when we do not even have the fuel necessary to notice its impact? Yeah, it is all one big, perfectly designed mind fuck.
And if you have fallen for it, or have been hurt by it, you are not weak or ignorant. We have all been conditioned to believe that losing weight is simply for “health or aesthetics,” when the reality is much more sinister. Now, the reason I add all of this in my book is because it is time we learn to get angry at the systems, not our bodies. Education is our greatest weapon, and they know that. So, let’s stop getting defensive and start getting educated. We may just change the world.
If you are ready to channel your body concerns elsewhere, please consider purchasing the Body Image Blueprint today.
Asare, J. G. (2020, September 14). The unplug collective explores how diet culture is rooted in anti-blackness. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicegassam/2020/09/13/the-unplug-collective-explores-how-diet-culture-is-rooted-in-anti-blackness/?sh=66514eb74283.
Conason, A. (n.d.). Why do we say “diet culture” instead of “the patriarchy?”. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/eating-mindfully/202007/why-do-we-say-diet-culture-instead-the-patriarchy.
King, C. (2021). How anti-racism helps to dismantle diet culture. Shape. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/racism-diet-culture.