Women Can’t Win: Rinse and Repeat

I see what they did here, and it’s well-meant…

…but ignorant.

“She thought skinnier people were happier?” No. The anorexic mindset has nothing to do with happiness. It has to do with with the high of self-mortification; the power of control; and the considerable social rewards that come with being the thinnest girl in the room.

So, an anorexic is going to linger over the photo on the left. That woman’s emaciation isn’t scary, it’s THINSPIRATIONAL. It’s the goal. It’s what she uses to muffle hunger pangs; to spur on her Sisyphean stairmaster trudge.

The photo on the right is what the anorexic fears. She doesn’t see strength, just bulk –nonessential flesh that needs to be burned away. These photos aren’t going to help her decide in favor of healthy eating and training; they’re going to trigger her illness further.

Also — and file this under Tiresome Irony — these photos serve as yet another way to judge women’s bodies against one another, without considering how cultural realities affect those bodies. Without sparing a thought to how women’s choices are skewed by race, class, and the ubiquitous Western media monster.

The only sort-of unusual thing is that these photos, currently making the rounds on Facebook weightlifting/CrossFit circles, depict the same woman. Otherwise, this is an old, tired routine in the guise of something edgy. Like burlesque, but with extra protein and judgement.

6 thoughts on “Women Can’t Win: Rinse and Repeat

  1. Seeing food as FUEL hardly seems healthy to me. We are human beings, not cars. This is the reductive approach of vitamins and “shakes”; pseudo-nutritional bullshit to replace real food….industry blathers on, while science is slowly catching up to the fact that food in a can is not healthy (BPA and other unpronouncable evils) and vitamins in a pill are not well absorbed by the body.

  2. The food as fuel thing is another horrifying example of a deadeningly dulled world. Fine food, cooking for others, having a very fine meal and talking to people for hours… but “fuel” — what a male defined male pathetic sports obsessed analogy that is!

  3. I have to say, I’m a fan of the food as fuel analogy to a certain extent (certainly not to the extent of moving it onto the realm of pseudo-nutrition). The problem I have with this sort of stuff is more that it shows one body obsession being swapped for…another body obsession.
    Where’s the third picture, the one that says, Now she sees her body as the very convenient thing that transports her around while she’s busy thinking and doing other fun stuff and being an actual person?

  4. Yeah, I’m OK with “food-as-fuel” simply because it works on a simple level — if I eat cheez kurlz, I don’t have the same energy as if I eat lean protein and greens. But food is more than physical fuel; it’s social fuel. It’s and comfort and memory and sensuality.

    Good point, MisstressofBoogie. I want that third picture too. One body obsession swapped for another isn’t much of an improvement. A lot of competitive weightlifters think of nothing but their bodies — what they eat and when; what they weigh; their muscle-to-fat ratio blah blah. So tiresome.

  5. Athletes will ‘get’ the food-as fuel more easily than sedentary or non athletes.

    More than once have I exclaimed “fuel up” before the finals or before that marathon ride. Now, going out to a leisure dinner with friends or a loved one, I certainly would not use that phrase.

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