Saturday, February 11, 2006

disciplining the body; or, anorexia as a feminist protest?

I recently discovered the hidden gem that is the Mind the Gap blog. And after my continuous struggles to put eating disorders/disordered eating into feminist terms, this blog is basically the answer that I've been trying to articulate.

The most recent post that I absolutely fell in love with is here.

An excerpt:
Feminist theorists such as Susie Orbach and Susan Bordo have both argued that anorexia is a kind of unconscious rebellion, a female protest. Wrong headed and hideously self-destructive, “counterproductive” and “tragically self-defeating,” of course, but a protest nonetheless. Little wonder that we use the only we’ve thing got – our bodies – to mount protests; if our bodies are being surveyed anyway, this is the obvious place to demonstrate. In a sense, the anorexic body throws body surveillance back in the face of culture: “Go on look at me, I am in pain. Do you like what you see? Is this what you wanted?” For women, it is not surprising that the adult female body becomes the object of such intense hatred, because it seems to be the source of our suffering. Many anorexics will tell you that it’s as much about being in “control” as it is about being thin. This is certainly not the whole story, but it is an important part of it. I know that I don’t have any great desire to be thin simply for the sake of it, but I do want to control my body, because for years it seemed to have been taken out of my control, owned, surveyed and grabbed at by other people. Eating disorders are also a way of saying “this body is mine, I will do what I want with it and not one of you can stop me.” I guess death is the ultimate escape from the pressures of womanhood. Anorexics feel this to be true. What we have to realise is that, if we are to survive, there are better ways to resist than destroying our bodies.
I wish I knew what else to add to this, but I don't.
If I were some crazy hippie back in the 70s, this would definitely merit a "Right on, sister!" But I'm not. So I'm just going to extend that sentiment, and sit here and brood for a while.

1 comment:

Winter said...

Hey Jen,

I'm glad you found the post helpful and "Right on sister" will do nicely as a response! I keep meaning to add you to our blogroll.

That post took me weeks to write and was very painful, but I do feel better for having written it.