Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Is that so "healthy"?

“New Year, New You!” all the ads around us have said for the past month. January is an interesting time, because with the beginning of the New Year, many of us take on a litany of different New Year’s Resolutions. A very popular resolution that never seems to change each year, is the desire that many have to become “healthier” in the coming year. The paradox about this resolution is that often times when people attempt to become healthier physically, their mental health takes a great dive.  The world around projects very few images of a specific and idolized beauty standard that is often the fuel for people attempting to become “healthy”, but I often question are these people really becoming healthier, are their standards for themselves healthy, and are they forgoing happiness in order to achieve some sort of societal archetype?

The influx of fad dieters and gym-goers spending hours upon hours on treadmills and elliptical don’t reflect a change of heart in my eyes, but a weight that weighs heavily on the heart of many that many are trying to lift without really analyzing where the pressure is coming from. It is no secret that America is depicted as having an obesity problem, but I think one of the more well-kept secrets is that dieting industries have been profiting astronomically off of this perilous pandemic that we are all taught to buy in to. The annual revenue of the U.S of weight-loss industries is a whopping 20 billion dollars. There is a clear vest interest in the destruction of the self-esteem of the American public. Like everything else in the US, it's a business, and the money that those in the business of selling different fad diet books, weight-loss pills, and surgeries is doing a lot of talking; as a result, all this talking translates into the perpetuated idea of how awful and scary it is to be overweight, and this also translates into the increased pushing of the ideal body for people. One that has little to no fat, and curves in all the right places. It's simple economics, in order to supply to the public with a product, they need a demand, and by crushing the self-esteem of many with the bombardment of ads that either demonize overweight people or promote the ideal thin or muscular beauty, they create this demand.

This is not to say that there are not some negative health effects that come with obesity, but not everyone who is overweight automatically becomes unhealthy. Somehow, healthy has become synonymous with skinny, and thus all of these New Year's Resolutions are made under a very friendly and approachable terms. "I want to become healthy" sounds a lot better than "I want to become skinny" or "I want to get ripped."

More often than not, being healthy means taking a day for yourself, and enjoying that ice cream. Not feeling ashamed of your body at any stage, and embracing what it does for you. Sometimes, being healthy is not doing 10 more reps even though you feel like you're going to vomit. Sometimes being healthy is realizing one does not go from the average college diet to becoming a raw vegan 2 weeks into January. This is a reminder that health is a lot more than skinny, muscular, or fit. Healthy is a holistic all encompassing term that means taking care of you in the best way possible. This isn't to deter people from their weight loss goals, it is to remind them to not lose them self as they lose the weight. This is a reminder that your body has gotten you this far, and that it is an amazing machine, that only you have. 

So, if your goal is become healthy this year, you can do it! Making the choice to change your lifestyle is challenging, but it can be one of the most fulfilling choices someone can make. Just remember that as a part of any healthy lifestyle should be a  big healthy dosage of self-love!

1 comment:

  1. So much truth! I especially love "are their standards for themselves healthy, and are they forgoing happiness in order to achieve some sort of societal archetype?" and "This isn't to deter people from their weight loss goals, it is to remind them to not lose them self as they lose the weight." :) And of course the last line. Great post!