I debated writing this post. It's a lot to let the Internet know, but I think it's important enough that I want to share it.
When I read Bordo for class the other day, I could hardly believe what I was reading. It was like someone had picked my brain and slapped it down into a Feminist Theory book. Specifically the parts when Bordo discussed the impacts of anorexia.
I have, historically, had a complicated relationship with body image. Sometimes I love how I look. Other times, I find it tragic. Overall, I'm pretty confident though. So, it was surprising to me when a few weeks ago I noticed that my eating habits were getting out of whack. I was eating hardly anything throughout the day, then binge-eating at night. The next day, I would try to make up for the binge by not eating a lot, and the cycle would continue.
It got better for a while, but returned with a vengeance not long after. It was much worse. While it never became full-blown bulimia or anorexia, I realized I was standing on the edge of something quite serious. Being a psychology major, I know the dangers associated with eating disorders. I know that they are not effective or healthy. Then I thought to myself, do I really need to change how I look? And I had to be honest. No! I am actually pretty happy with my body right now. So where were these strange eating habits coming from?
Bordo answered that for me. She said that eating disorders "allow[s] her [women] to feel powerful and worthy of admiration in a world... 'from which at the most profound level [she] feels excluded' and unvalued." Bam. There it is. For me, these funky eating patterns weren't about my body. They were about control.
A little over 2 months ago, I experienced a breakup. It was my choice, but no matter what, breakups always are hard. And as my mother reminded me on the phone the other night, in the past 4 years, between high school boyfriends and college relationships, I have spent very little time as a single woman. So I'm adjusting. I'm trying to find ways to feel good about myself that do not depend on a guy telling me how great I am all the time. I think Bordo hit the nail on the head. Controlling (or thinking you are controlling) your eating habits is a way for people to feel worthy.
This article has been very therapeutic for me. Knowing that I'm not the only one who knows this experience has helped. When I read this article after a whole day of denying myself food, I really realized what I was doing to myself. I don't need to deprive myself (or over-indulge myself) of food to be okay. I'm happy to say that I'm getting back on track.