Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how dieting is said to be the greatest, most effective political sedative of our time. Dieting has the almost astonishing ability to silence voices that otherwise would be speaking out. The collective silence adds up to have an impact that, ironically, is deafening. How would our world be different if those voices had never been shut done by the all-consuming trap that is diet culture?I would venture to say that our world might be a better place.
To be completely honest, recently I have been struggling with understanding where my white, extremely privileged voice fits in in the fight against racism, discrimination, and gross inequality. I have chosen to stand in solidarity these past few weeks, to listen and absorb, because I believe that what is needed more than anything right now is the amplification of BIPOC voices.
I have a long road ahead in doing the inward work of combating the white supremacy within me, a system that – whether I like it or not – has benefited me whilst harming others. Of course, I feel guilt and shame about this, but my guilt and shame is not productive. I need to channel those feelings into action. ‘Feeling’ a certain way has never started a revolution, but acting on those feelings and channeling that emotion into something positive – I believe that is where we start to see change happening.
Ever since I developed my eating disorder, I knew that I had to recover. It was like this sneaky attacker that came up behind me with absolutely no warning. Suddenly, I was in a world of apathy. Where I had once been an intense ‘feeler’ I suddenly felt no emotion, the gnaw of hunger was my sustenance. If diet culture is a potent political sedative, just think about the immense power that eating disorders hold to utterly silence. I was a walking shell of a human in my eating disorder. I say that not to evoke sympathy, but to highlight the juxtaposition of the human I am now – and the human I was before my eating disorder. Now, I feel. I feel deeply. And we need to feel something in order to act. In order to make a change.
Right now, our world cannot afford to have any more humans silenced by diet culture and eating disorders, especially BIPOC who are disproportionately affected by eating disorders. And that is why we continue to pursue recovery, even when we might feel guilty focusing on recovery amongst the extreme injustice of our world today. But the fact is, when we continue to pursue recovery, we also pursue our voice. Voices that are a necessity to keep this movement – this revolution – alive.
So I will continue to speak, and write, about eating disorder recovery. Because I believe that it is deeply intertwined with the Black Lives Matter revolution. As more and more people recover and begin to feel again, their voices will continue to add to and sustain a revolution that is already well on its way.