Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership
TEACHING THE COMPASSIONATE USE OF POWER

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Radical Love

Posted by stephanie at 21st April, 2009

by Leeat Granek (Woodhull Alumna)

“My mom is going to disown me. I’ve gained so much weight and when she sees me over Christmas she is going to FREAK OUT! I try not to eat after seven but still I have become so flabby.”

thin-girlThese words were uttered — I should say shouted — into a cell phone, by a young women sitting behind me in the coffee shop.  It went on like this for fifteen minutes.

I am annoyed. Annoyed that she was distracting me from what I should have been doing — which was marking papers — but even more annoyed that these conversations are still going on. I can’t believe that twenty years after the publication of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, after decades of women’s magazines religiously publishing monthly stories about eating disorders, and almost obsessive TV coverage of celebrities with anorexia, that women are still monitoring everything that goes into their mouths and obsessing over it on the phone for hours.

This is not only a coffee shop issue. A few days ago I was having lunch with some girlfriends from high school. We are now in our thirties. Some of us have children. Some of us are doctors. Some of us run complex companies and manage hundreds of people. And yet, the conversation was about counting calories and workout regimes. I am so bored, I want to vomit. (No pun intended.)

We had this conversation when we were 10. We had this conversation when we were 20. We are having this conversation now that we are 30. Are we doomed to talk about this for the rest of our lives?

It’s not that I don’t have compassion for the issue. I am not thin. And I never will be. I spent my entire adolescence fighting my curvaceous, size 12 body and it always ended up in failure and heartache. I know what it feels like to want to lose weight and be unable to ever get to that elusive point where you are finally thin enough.

But it’s time, people… it’s time for all of us to get over it. The latest health research has proven that we all have a set point that we are born with, and that no matter how hard we work at it, we are pretty much going to end up within the same ten-pound radius anyways. We also now know that it’s not about how much you weigh, but about how small your waist is in comparison to your hips. Finally, there seems to be very little correlation between weight and health once you take out the outliers on the super-skinny or super-obese ends of the spectrum.

It’s time to move on. There are more important issues out there. The economy. Politics. Education. Poverty. Violence against women. There is a whole revolution to be run out there. We are wasting our time, our energy, our resources, and our abilities on pointless obsessions with our bodies. It’s so wasteful. It’s so shameful! Enough is enough.

I call on Woodhull women to become radical comrades and join my one-woman campaign to love our bodies unconditionally. And I mean really unconditionally. No more diets. No more negative self-talk. No more insane “I can’t stand myself. I can’t go home looking like this. I can’t stand this flab. I can’t look at myself” statements EVER again.  Let’s replace them instead with “I love” statements. “I love that I am a good friend. I love that I am making money. I love that I have great family around me. I love who I am and who I am becoming.” You get the point.

It’s my new years resolution for 2009. I hope it will be yours to!

About stephanie

Stephanie Kirby has written 38 articles on this blog.

Category : News

2 Responses to “Radical Love”

  1. Lisa Hix says:

    Thanks so much for writing this! :)

  2. Rose says:

    Great article. Just think of all we could accomplish if we used all of our weight/food/body image energy for positive things.

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