Happy Tuesday, everyone! And thanks, Rachael, for sending me this wonderful essay/rant/empowering declaration! If anyone's interested, you can find more of Rachael's awesome words here: Twisted Barbie Weighs In
And you can always find a link to her blog on the side panel of my site. And without further ado...
By Rachael Stern aka Twisted Barbie
The weight industry is an incredible enterprise isn't it? They're trying to sell us self worth and were so hungry from starving so long we eat it all up. Entrapment in an all encompassing paradigm, where an intellectual double standard is the normative fare, is what womanhood has turned in to. Entrapment in a society that wants to feed and stuff us with the image of starvation as satiety.
What are we to fill up on when double standard is the coach fare of our culture? Certainly not food for that would make us un-hungered for. A cultural analysis of our bodies is hardly necessary when our physical contextually is the primary factor in determining our personal worth, and yet somehow in the attempt to empower our hips and thighs, those of us who are still tormented by the jiggle that our very humanity might conjure are digested as traitors, unconsciously working against the slowly ticking clock, setting it into a counterproductive, counterclockwise spiral.
A convenient way to view this problematic social structure would be through Flocculation tinted lenses. Are we not creating our own neo victorian standards? Do we best feed our movement by continuing to feed it with propaganda, rejecting those who are imprinted by the very mold our non allied communities are trying to cookie cut us out with? Let the sustenance of our community feed those un sustained by themselves. After all, in the end, who would you rather sit down for dinner with? Driving home from a Rally seemed like an everyday act for me, but passing out at the wheel wasn't what I envisioned as empowered. I have always and will always label myself a feminist. It is at the core of my identity, wholly and truly. How is it then, that I ended up being so effected by society that I would sacrifice myself?
I set off on a journey that went against every value I hold. I transformed myself for others into something socially and culturally appropriate. I disabled my own beliefs, my own activism, my own power.
I hereby agree to revel in my humanity and do the very things necessary to support its livelihood. I agree to love with my whole heart unapologetically. I agree to stand at the edge of the cliff and not only to sit amidst, but dance in the fire surrounded by friends. I agree to have no apologies. I agree to embody my own beliefs that I hold so steadfast for others and never sacrifice myself to fit what another might consider good or better or appropriate. I agree to speak my mind when my voice shakes, to cry when I'm hurt, to scream when I'm angry, to sing when speaking cannot express my joy, and to dance when words fail my truest expression.
I have worked myself into an oblivion attempting to prove my right to inhabit this world, when my mere existence should have sufficed. I have always been enough just as I am. I agree from this day forth to feel entitled to my life, my voice, my body and my food. I agree to exist as counter culture within the diet ravaged society that I am forced to contextual myself in. I agree to grapple with the tough questions. How is that I have reconciled an eating disorder with a strong feminist selfhood?
Why is it that the standard I hold for others falls away when I stand in front of the mirror? I agree to keep questioning what the difference is between personal and political activism. What does it mean to effect change from within, and is this in opposition to without? Is personal liberation as important as political liberation? I have come to believe it is.
I agree to work for radical change within something that will be the most prevalent in my life beyond laws and beyond labels. I can return to the very beginning and work from the source. I can be me. I promise to be me.
How is it that when the very gears of the political machine are falling apart, we fail to notice? How is it that activists everywhere have alcohol problems, drug problems, self injury problems, food problems and it is accepted? How are we okay with this? Why is it okay to kill yourself to feed the movement? What are we really fighting for if not our own lives?
Perhaps as activists, we need to start with ourselves. We need to go back to the drawing room and retrace our steps. What are our goals? What do we really want, and why? Can we structure a movement that supports healthy individuals? These are questions that take us back to the consciousness raising group. We have grown too far from the personal. We are people, we are human and no amount of protest, no amount of social movement, no amount of anything can change that. H0w can I tell bush he isn't fit to run the country, much less anything when I cant feed myself? and what right do i have, pretending to be someone that younger people can look up to when I'm sacrificing myself? Perhaps we need to take a step back and acknowledge that by engaging in these self defeating acts we are not only stopping our own gears, but we are allying with the other side, forgetting what the focus is, turning inward and contributing to our own ineffectiveness and erasure.
How is it that we have ended up in a society where the very act of consuming food, sustenance is a political act? If I buy a diet pepsi, it supposedly isn't political, even-though I am supporting bullfighting. If I buy a bag of chips, it breaks an unwritten social code. People form opinions about me. I form opinions about myself and all of a sudden i'm not thinking about how my gay best friends can't get married, or why I care about the current paradigm. Eating without judgment becomes a political act, a stance I am taking. It is noticed and I am choosing to be a part of this world without letting others judgment keep my presence at bay. I refuse to take it
on. I want chips damn it and I am no less of a woman because of it. This is feminism. I am here and I'm not leaving. I want to change the world, I want to dance naked and have sex with the lights on.
The personal is political, and the political is personal.
The time has come to put our food where our mouths are.
Who is with me?***
Awesome, is it not? Rachael, so glad you sent me this. I love the concepts, the words, and the meaning. But most of all I love the spirit and the strength! I'm also kind of partial to the fierce feminist voice speaking out against what's wrong with this society. I know a lot of us are "with you." I know a lot of us appreciate the strong voice of this essay. Thanks again for sharing it. I am with you!