[TW: Disordered eating] I am not alone in this. I am one of a mul­ti­tude. I have met women of my age who eat what they want and couldn’t care less if they gained two pounds over Christ­mas, but I am firmly con­vinced that they are the excep­tion, not the rule. The rule is that if you are a woman in Amer­ica you want noth­ing quite so much as you want to be a lit­tle smaller. The rule is you are always try­ing to lose. It’s no coin­ci­dence that this is pri­mar­ily a women’s issue (although I don’t want to dis­count the grow­ing num­ber of men who fall vic­tim to dis­or­dered eat­ing as well). Even in today’s soci­ety women’s bod­ies are not entirely our own, and we are not always able to avoid oth­ers’ attempts to pass judg­ment on or make demands of or pos­sess them. We are oblig­ated to be attrac­tive in a way men are not. We have been made respon­si­ble for the cul­ti­va­tion of other people’s desire. We are con­stantly under the scrutiny of a hege­monic male gaze that demands beauty and accepts no sub­sti­tutes, and we are left to pla­cate that watch­ful ideal by tithing gym trips and skipped din­ners. And so whole nations of women spend their hours not read­ing books or lov­ing bands or mak­ing the god­damn rev­o­lu­tion but instead ago­niz­ing over the inches of a waist, strength­en­ing the bounds that tether us to a sink­ing anchor.

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