Why are we encouraging body dysmorphia in a pandemic?

Eating disorders are a sincerely cruel form of mental illness. They toy with our thoughts and emotions and often times (speaking from experience) leave a lasting mark on those they happen to take hold of.

Performing somewhat normally on a day-to-day basis while living with an eating disorder is no easy feat, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, I’ve often found myself thinking about individuals who have found themselves trying to grapple with the stress of the pandemic we are living in along with the stress that accompanies eating disorders. More specifically, my thoughts have gravitated towards the notion of fear among people with eating disorders involving them being stuck at home with terribly self-destructive thoughts.

A friend of mine shared an article from Refinery29 via Facebook. Titled “Those Quarantine 15 Jokes Show How Fat Phobic We Really Are,” the article contains a variety of problematic memes that “reinforce the troubling narrative that gaining weight during a pandemic is almost as terrifying as the virus itself,” the article’s subtext states, and I’m going to have to agree.

I highly recommend reading the entirety of the text, but there is one excerpt from the article that really puts things into perspective for me, personally: “Even in the middle of an international health crisis, as the economy teeters on the edge of a recession, and one in eight households across the country can’t afford groceries, diet culture has found a way to remind us that being fat or gaining weight is bad and losing weight is good — and quite frankly, I’m tired of it. For all the growing discussions about body positivity in recent years thanks to women like models Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser, yogi Jessamyn StanleyLizzo, and more, COVID-19 has proven that society still values certain bodies over others.”

It really is quite sickening that despite the intensity of the situation we are facing as a result of COVID-19, we as a society have still managed to collectively acknowledge and further emphasize the fear associated with putting on a few pounds. In a time where unity and support are more important than ever before, it’s about time we stop encouraging body dysmorphia and start encouraging some self-love.

Image from https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1571309815192-4837ea73e4fb?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=eyJhcHBfaWQiOjEyMDd9&auto=format&fit=crop&w=750&q=80

 


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