Damlanur: Hi, it’s the first time

Damlanur submitted:

Hi, it’s the first time I’m posting something to your blog. And it’s not an escher girl but I felt the need to share my opinion on this photo. Well, it’s actually a video. here’s the link: http://youtu.be/8VoAj_6iKTo

In the video, we see the girl in the mirror pinches her so called fatty areas, and her nonexistent double chin and cries. But I don’t suppose I am the only one who thinks that girl looks healthy and attractive. I’m not an expert but the main problem in this health issue is mostly described as “the person seeing themselves overweight in the mirror”. And it’s really ironic that people who are trying to fight anorexia chose to classify someone normal as overweight. Yes, she can afford to lose weight and I’m not saying that people who are thinner are unacceptable, but something like this would depress a lot of girls who looks like that.

My response and a still from the video below the cut:

I’m cutting the picture because it’s personally upsetting me because I’ve been there, and I’m STILL there, and I don’t know how many other people might be similar to me and feel that way. :\

I don’t have any definite opinion I’m going to say here, because the thing is that eating disorders are complicated, and it is a psychological issue and as somebody who suffers from an eating disorder, it’s incredibly unhelpful for me when people treat it as if it reflects my politics while it’s an internal thing, that I think this ONLY OF MYSELF, that I CAN’T STOP THINKING IT, that I can’t stop SEEING different things in the mirror from what my friends tell me is there, and that honestly, I can’t tell somebody without an eating disorder just exactly how I feel.

Eating disorders aren’t always, at their core, about being thin either, the want to control food, to control your body, to be thin can be a manifestation of other things: depression, PTSD, abuse.   Because society feeds us ideas that (especially for women), eating is bad, that dieting is good, that losing weight is good, that being thin is good, that restricting food and exercising proves determination and willpower (there’s a weight watchers commercial where hunger is literally a monster that must be defeated), a need for control, to feel “good”, to feel “successful” can manifest itself in an eating disorder.  Obviously this isn’t EVERYTHING, I’m speaking a lot about myself and people I know… but I’m trying to give examples about how the reality of eating disorders differs from the simplistic mainstream idea that it’s just a diet gone too far.

That commercial highlights a very big thing I deal with in my life when I’m very upset about my eating disorder and need support from my friends.  I have friends that are fat, and deal with a lot of fatphobia, and so even if they know it’s not just about me, it can be very difficult for them to hear me talk about how fat I am, how much I hate my body, how big I feel.  And while, I know that this might be really about control, that’s not how it feels in the moment.  And I know it’s problematic and screwed up and everything.  And so I try to limit how much I talk about myself being fat.  I try to keep back how bad I feel about myself, or how I really feel because I don’t want my friends to feel as if I’m shaming them.  And it’s hard.  I KNOW I’m not, THEY know I’m not, but it’s visceral to somebody who lives their life being fat shamed as a reality.  And it’s difficult for me living with an eating disorder and a screwed up idea of food, exercise and my body to honestly express myself without implying other things.  And it’s hard to find a balance.

For example, it can be personally frustrating to me the way some people react, because they focus more on telling me “there’s nothing wrong with being fat” (which I KNOW) rather than what I need in the moment in order to keep myself stable and get myself to eat, like “you’re really thin, it’s okay” or “a slice of pizza won’t make you fat”.  And yes, it is problematic because it implies fat is bad, but this is also about me personally, and about the headspace I’m in at the moment and trying to survive the moment.  As I said, it’s really hard to express how I feel and what I need without it appearing as if I’m condoning a bigger worldview.

And that’s why I said I can’t give a definite opinion.  I completely agree that this ad can be taken as saying that there’s something wrong with being fat, and more to the point that the woman in the mirror is fat.  But also… that’s what I see in the mirror.  And… despite EVERYTHING I know, even if I really DID look like that, it shouldn’t be a problem… but it IS, because… it’s about control and me needing to have things exactly as I want them to.  And yes, in my headspace, when I’m upset… it is about me being fat.  And maybe it does say something about me and make me a hypocrite, and despite me knowing and writing that there’s nothing wrong with being fat or other body types, that I can’t stop myself from latching onto that with my eating disorder.

I don’t know. :\  And I can’t say whether that commercial is right or wrong. 

I can only say that when I’m having a really bad ED headspace, that’s what I see in the mirror, or something like that.  And according to my friends, they see something (not quite as extreme) to the other image.  Does that mean I think the girl in the mirror is an ugly fat person?  No.  Not at all.  Does it mean when I think I look like that, I get really really upset?  Yes.  How does that make sense?  I don’t know, but that’s viscerally, painfully, how I feel, and it’s not rational.  So… while I can’t give you a value judgement on that ad, I can tell you that it hits home really hard for me.

I guess I didn’t really give you much of a definitive answer to the advertisement. :(  I’m sorry.  I think it’s really really hard to balance empathy for people with eating disorders and body dysmorphia with other issues, like fatphobia.

For my eating disorder, the personal is not the political, and how I feel about myself is not a statement about how I feel about other people, but I can understand how it might feel that way.