Diet Culture in the Age of Body Positivity

Diet Culture in the Age of Body Positivity
Health unpacks why women struggle with disordered eating and body image, and what role the media and medical community play in helping or hurting wellness.

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we’re sharing the stories of women who have been there, done that—and are still coping. For hundreds of years, a woman’s beauty, namely her thinness, has been equated with her health. The phrase someone’s ‘a picture of health,’ pretty much says it all. But as our series on Invisible Illnesses and Misdiagnoses prove, health is so much more than meets the eye. Still, whenever we post a picture on Instagram of a proud non-straight-sized woman, inevitably

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we get comments about how irresponsible we are for promoting such unhealthy ideals. It’s our obligation as health journalists to explore the potential risks and benefits and expert opinions on anything peddled in the name of good health. And it’s also our obligation to put a spotlight on the people and the issues that often live in the margins of mainstream health media. The women featured in this series are coaches, trainers, therapists, journalists, and activists. Their stories examine the body positivity movement and its predecessor, Health at Every Size, and reveal the economic, racial, and sexual underpinnings of diet culture.

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Each woman has questioned their right to sit at the table, their authority, and their human value because of what they look like. My story is one of them.