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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Day 19- A book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction)

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. She writes about her struggle with eating disorders - anorexia and bulimia. I knew/thought that eating disorders had to do with exercising control over something when there wasn't anything you could do about something else, but I also thought that a large part of it was about receiving attention. Society is very focused on bodies, particularly that of women. Think about how often compliments are about how you look, or how much weight you've lost.

Reading this book didn't dismiss my thoughts on eating disorders out of hand, but it did help me see that although there was a part of it about receiving attention, and exercise control for de Rossi - and others too, I imagine - it seemed to be more about esteem and living up to expectations. It also showed me that any well meaning word/conversation could be turned into an insult. In one of the chapters she mentions that a friend said she looked good, like a normal women in an underwear scene on Ally McBeal, that normal women comment was instantly taken to mean fat.

I don't think that I'll ever really understand being driven to look a certain way that you starve yourself for it, but I do know that I've got to check my language and stop complimenting other women on their looks.

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