Bitch Article Redux.

Wow.

So I want to say thanks to Meowser and Fat Fu for the blog that responds to the recent article in Bitch Magazine about people with eating disorders not being welcome in the FA/SA movement. It’s a must-read for anyone who was thoroughly confused by that commentary. As someone who has struggled with a variety of eating disorders her entire life, Bitch sure threw me for a loop: If the premise is that dieting causes fatness, and eating disorders are a type of extraordinarily fucked up diet (although they aren’t actually about “dieting,”per se), and FA/SA is anti-diet because of the fatness it causes, shouldn’t it accept the people who have lived the ED life? It was a conundrum I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around.

Truthfully, people who have chosen recovery, which is difficult, aren’t going to lose a lot of weight (or gain a lot, in the case of people who have truly become very light in terms of anorexia). The Bitch article claimed that people who suffer from Binge-Eating Disorder, which is not yet classified as an actual disorderin the DSM-IV-TR would simply lose weight if they stopped binging. I don’t know, people. I started off as a binger. The only way I lost weight was to become a purger. I don’t binge or purge anymore, and I am not really dropping a lot of weight by attempting to eat normally, or as normally as possible, since I have issues with vegetables. So it seems that the premise that the fatties would reject people who stopped binging because they would magically become thin is rather ridiculous, because once fat, you’re probably going to stay fat,despite any attempt otherwise.

If nothing else, the Bitch article brought publicity to the FA/SA philosophies, and helped clarify talking points. That much is good. I’d be curious to know what alternative the author of the article suggests for people in FA/SA movement; if it really is that insidious, where should people with EDs go? I personally have been to Overeaters Anonymous, and I don’t jive with the notion of giving up control to god. Any of the groups that focus on EDs are also going to be couched in the philosophies of dieting and exercising for someone who looks like me — which is particularly dangerous when my mind could slip so easily into disordered thinking if I am not vigilant. Forget the damage I already did with the extreme “dieting”: ED groups will want to make sure that I lose some weight so that I am not fat, because fat is unhealthy — forgetting that that’s how I came to bulimia in the first place. And frankly, much of the therapeutic community fails to see how someone like me can even be bulimic: I recently read an article from a psychological journal, the abstract stating something along the lines that eating disorders and obesity are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Read: People who have issues with food could never be fat.

Within any movement, there will be a variety of perspectives and experiences that color and shape the group as a whole. Feminism experienced and is experiencing the same challenges. Rather than being seen as a weakness, diversity should be considered a strength, because it adds to the numbers of people who could possibly be included in our ranks.

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