I think it will be redundant to say that I’m currently a masters student in the Psychology Department (if you haven’t figured that out at this point, well, that’s sad, so just nod and say you have). The reason I bring this up is because last semester I took a Human Development class (which is about, Lord behold, how humans develop throughout their lifespan) and even though I learned a lot, there is one lesson that really stuck with me. The professor played this track on repeat throughout the whole semester. She stated that there are three types of development: physical development (this encompasses everything from a fetus development in the mother’s womb to erectile disfunction from old age), cognitive development (this encompasses everything that has to do with reasoning and thinking, so basically from the time you thought Santa from the Mall was a magical being to the time when you realize that he was just a man in a fat suit that liked kids just a little bit too much), and psychosocial development (which basically is a fancy term for being social and satisfying that social need while coexisting with others; this is how we develop empathy, among other things). Now, here is the funny thing: humans can only develop one of these areas at a time (successfully at least), and before you roll your eyes and say this is blasphemy, what my professor is saying is that you can only focus on growing one of these areas at a time. Just like multitasking to a full degree is a myth, so is being perfect.
Which brings me to this…
I’m sick of it. It’s repulsive, nauseating, exhausting even. I’m living in a society where physical development is praised eleven times more than its counterparts. I’m living in a society where diet culture is shoved down our throats because of physical appearances. I can hear it now:
“No Glow, I’m trying to be healthy.” “No Glow, I’m doing this for me.” If that’s true, good for you; a healthy life is a good life and all that great stuff. However, I want to talk to those who are doing it for extrinsic validation. To those who want to lose weight for the male gaze and fat-shame other people. To those who feel the need to say “que lechona” (which loosely translates to “what a pig”) every time a young woman ingests any type of food. To those who are conditioning younger generations to have an unhealthy relationship with food. To those who feel the need to comment on people’s bodies. And to those who think exercise is the solution to everyone’s problems. To them I say…
What the fuck.
Do you understand how much of a simplistic dimwit you’re being. If you haven’t figured out at this point that one of our most basic necessities is food, you deserve the insult (and don’t lie to yourself, you know who you are). And the fact that I’ve noticed many women trying to satisfy the delusional expectation that society has towards the female form at this day and age reflects poorly on our education system. So here is a lesson.
Lesson # 1 It’s a real problem
A study conducted among freshmen in nine campuses of the Universidad de Puerto Rico found that 3.24% of the students reported anorexia nervosa symptoms and 9.59% reported symptoms of distorted eating behaviors. Meanwhile, a different study that also took place in the UPR in 2010 reported that 14.71% of the students suffered from some sort of eating disorder. This % was based on a sample of 2163 students. However, the researchers believe that many of the participants didn’t answer truthfully because of the stigma of having said disorder, therefore the percentage should’ve been higher. I’m not bitching for bitching sake. Based on the premise that the sample of the study was pretty small compared to that of a non-existent island-wide study, these results are quite alarming.
Lesson # 2 Different bodies have different needs
It’s really not that hard of a concept. Even Dr. Oz gets it. There is not one diet that’s better than the other. Vegans are not better than vegetarians. Vegetarians are not better than omnivores. I will say that I find the Keto diet to be insane, but if that’s what your body needs, so be it. I found this weird story about the Dali Lama and how he had to change his diet because his body was not responding well to being vegan and, welp, the same thing happened to me. However, I don’t go around saying that veganism is a scam or that eating meat is sinful, mainly because I have better things to do with my time. The point is, I don’t condone commenting on people’s eating habits. Once again, I don’t see the fucking point on doing so. However, I see this reoccurring theme of projecting ones self-negating desires onto others as a shaming passive-aggressive comment. For example, let’s say someone’s on a diet and they see you eating a chocolate glazed donut. Instead of admitting to you that they are craving that donut, they instead decide to say: “Ugh, I could never eat that fatty donut, I would be bloated for a month.” Why did they just ruin your indulgently ethereal donut experience? Yeah, that’s my question too. One could say that this approach is a very narrowminded coping mechanism, ignorant even, because a lot of disabled people have to eat that “fatty, chocolate donut” to reach their survival calorie count. Believe it or not, a lot of us have a really hard time just eating. And believe it or not a lot of us feel guilty for eating. Which brings us to…
Lesson # 3 Diet culture and disability
What kind of disabled blogger would I be if I don’t talk about the disabled community? If you haven’t noticed, I’m not talking about health here. When people change their eating habits for health purposes, you can tell because it feels genuine. I’m talking about the bombarding media pressure to work out every day, eat whatever is on trend, and just look a certain way in order to look good in low rise jeans (how did we get there again?). I’ve been very open about my unhealthy relationship with food growing up. When I was 15 I would get nauseous every time I ate, to the point of technically throwing up. I say technically because at that point I couldn’t physically throw up, so my dad, not knowing why I was nauseous, would extract “it” with a syringe through my gastric tube (I wasn’t even swallowing food at the time.) I was a chubby kid growing up and I had just lost all of that weight after a surgery and I didn’t want to gain it back. Therefore, not having control over what I ate because of the gastric tube really stressed me out, to say the least. To this day, I still struggle with whatever the fuck that was, even though I look much healthier. I, as do many people with physical disabilities, have this constant fear of being too heavy to be helped and handled by our caretakers. So when the people close to us decide to comment on our inherited, healthy, Puerto Rican ass, let’s just say it doesn’t sit well. Or when people close to us feel the need to say the following statement: “Are you sure you’re still a medium?”, it makes us want to shoot lasers out of our eyes because WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO ANYONE? Because comments like that not just affect people with disabilities in a practical sense but also in our deep and rooted insecurity of never being accepted in society. People with physical disabilities already feel disconnected with their bodies, so presenting us with an unreachable goal feels like some sort of Greek tragedy punishment. Like we’re pushing a boulder up a never ending mountain. And before someone says “but Glow, this doesn’t apply to you”, no shit Chad (it’s just a dislikeable name), it doesn’t, that’s the point. Diet culture and the ideal body expectancy prevents us from FUCKING PARTICIPATING OR BEING SEEN AS EQUALS in a social context. Which brings me to…
Lesson # 4 So you’re hot? What else ya got?
I’m a fashion person. I’ve dedicated a huge part of my life making people look good. I understand that even though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the cover needs to be appealing. Now, here is the funny thing: there has to be pages between both covers to make it a book. If not it’s a fucking pamphlet. I’ve encountered so many people who have an amazing outside, I’m talking hard cover type shit , but when you read the pages they sound like an Andrew Tate minion… they are dumb AF. This applies to men, women, and nonbinary. All I’m trying to say is, we can tell when you’re sole purpose is to get validated by others because of your physical appearance. However, what I don’t think the world seems to understand is that this idealistic physical traits mean nothing without depth. Don’t get me wrong, I like me a 6 ft., Greek god of a man as much as the next thirsty bitch (I say that playfully). However, if he can’t recite the Muppets theme song with me while roaming through the candy isle, I don’t want it. A book cover fades with age but the words that lay between them last a lifetime.
P.S. To the man who wrote the ignorant paragraph of a response in my friends Facebook page about my last blog post (I think your name is Larry) I just have one thing to say: Ew.