Eating Disorder Recovery Fueled by Feminism

francesbradshawFrances Bradshaw, 20Pawleys Island, South Carolina

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] have a recurring dream in which I am taken seriously as an artist, a creative mind, a citizen of this world, and as a woman. This is not a dream I have when I am asleep, more so one I have when I am in class, playing music, drawing a picture, taking a photograph, blogging, coming up with ideas for entrepreneurial endeavors, or debating a topic I am passionate about.

This dream has turned into something I now demand. I demand to be taken seriously. My mind, my body, and my endeavors. You could call me a “newborn” feminist. While I have always believed women should have equal pay, bodily autonomy, and the same opportunities as men, I was never brave enough to call myself a feminist because of the negative connotation I thought the word carried. Boy was I wrong. Negative connotation? Not in my book anymore.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

[pullquote align="right" background="on"]While I believe that eating disorders are inherently chemical imbalanced illnesses in the brain, I know that the male-run advertising world and media plays a role in fueling them and it needs to end. Now.[/pullquote][dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]S[/dropcap]omething that is near and dear to my heart is the recovery process from eating disorders that has consumed my mind and body for far too long, and as a young woman in recovery, I believe that it is necessary to tie feminism into the recovery process. You may be thinking, what does an eating disorder and feminism have to do with each other? In my opinion, a lot.

Growing up I was fortunate enough to have parents that accepted me for who I was, no matter how different I was from my sisters or the kids in my community. I was not fortunate however, as many of us aren’t, to be shielded from the media and society’s distorted view of how I should look, think, and act. Now, I completely realize that these illnesses have chemical stems as well as hereditary and scientific back ups and that is that. An eating disorder IS chemical and it is no one’s fault for having one. While eating disorders have a great deal to do with control it is a common misconception that they only deal with wanting to be thin,beautiful, and perfect. Now, there are exceptions for everything so some might have to do with that but no matter what, it isn't your fault. I recently heard the saying, “You are not responsible for your eating disorder, but you are responsible for your recovery.”

That brings me to how feminism and recovery from an eating disorder tie into each other. For me, if I didn't think that I was worthy of equality, bodily autonomy, supporting myself financially, and refusing to put up with gender stereotypes, I probably would not be motivated to recover. In fact, I know I would not be motivated to recover because I would feel as if I was not worthy of recovery which is utter bullshit.

I am worthy of recovery and removing the shackles that is an eating disorder.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he patriarchal society that we unfortunately live in used to fuel my eating disorder because I felt that I had to be a perfect person in the way I looked, thought, and acted. Perfection is absolutely impossible so striving for it can be extremely taxing and dangerous. I am six feet tall and have been tall since I was in my early teens. When I looked at the male-controlled advertisements and media I saw that all of the tall girls portrayed were models and I was told to be a model you had to be a certain weight and size. This stuck with me and affected the way I viewed food and my own body image. I know that the media played a role in my eating disorder and it does in many others as well.

While I believe that eating disorders are inherently chemical imbalanced illnesses in the brain, I know that the male-run advertising world and media plays a role in fueling them and it needs to end. Now.

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