On Vision

Content note: This shit is aaalllll about anorexia.

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It’s funny — you always see those cartoons or whatever depicting anorexia, where a really skinny person looks in a mirror and sees a really fat person. My brain always flagged that as a metaphor: “yeah, but she doesn’t literally see something different than everyone else, she just interprets the same evidence differently”. I comforted myself by pointing to evidence that I was really fat: I was bigger than everyone around me, I could “pinch more than an inch”, I couldn’t see my toes, I had to shop in plus-sized stores. I was huge, a whale. I have always been fat.

Which is why pictures of myself at 18 shock me so much:

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I’m like, who is that skinny bitch, and where did my fat body go? I literally don’t remember being that small. I remember being much larger. I looked at my body and saw something different than I see now that I’m weight-restored.

But it didn’t start with the eating disorder. “I have always been fat” has always been a statement I felt to be true about myself. Even now, I feel like I’ve always been fat. But when I see pictures of when I was small, I just look like a kid:

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Here’s a secret about the BMI that you might not know: It was created in 1832 by a Belgian man, and he measured a few hundred Belgians in order to create a bell curve of human body sizes. Belgians are ethnically mostly French and German — and very, very white. White bodies tend to come in a particular shape. Black bodies tend to come in a different shape. There were no black bodies measured in the BMI.

(By the way, they’ve lowered the BMI number that indicates overweight vs obese since that study. In the mid-90s, many people who were fine now became fat overnight).

My body is a black body. My body is “thick”: wide hips, large butt, big breasts. My frame is built larger than a lot of the white children I grew up with. But nobody ever taught me that bodies can come in more than one size, that I was meant to look like Beyonce rather than Cameron Diaz. So I saw myself as a failure, as too big, and I fell into anorexia.

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3 Responses to On Vision

  1. Firedrake says:

    Ayup. People stop believing in the (largely non-existent) “obesity epidemic”? Redefine obesity, and suddenly its a huge problem let’s start BANNING things yay.

    Also the BMI rates most athletes as overweight.

    • yamikuronue says:

      Yeah, the BMI is 100% bullshit. But not a lot of people seem to be talking about how it’s racist bullshit in addition to the other ways it’s bullshit. Like, I know I’m not an athlete, and I’m not very tall, so I had no reason to think the BMI was ill-suited for me personally.

      • Firedrake says:

        Fair point. I know that the UK has lowered the thresholds recently for men of Indian extraction, on the basis that… they are more likely to develop diabetes (true), and so mumble mumble mumble no actual research but obviously this will help them not do it.

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