who is influencing you?

Several of my twitter friends have shared a New York Times article over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t had time to read it, but so many people I respect kept commenting on it. So I saved it in my handy Instapaper to read later. Having now read it, I can see why it’s so popular. So today, instead of writing about my ups and downs, I’d like the share the article with YOU and to also make some comments.

First off, it’s an opinion piece by a novelist that I really like, Jessica Knoll. I read her book “Luckiest Girl Alive” a while back. If you like suspense books, give it a go. Anyway, her piece in the Times is called “Smash the Wellness Industry.” I’m going to put several excerpts here, but I’d really encourage you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

In sum, the entire piece is about the fallacy we are all being fed about “wellness” in our society. I like how she said it in this paragraph:

The wellness industry is the diet industry, and the diet industry is a function of the patriarchal beauty standard under which women either punish themselves to become smaller or are punished for failing to comply, and the stress of this hurts our health too. I am a thin white woman, and the shame and derision I have experienced for failing to be even thinner is nothing compared with what women in less compliant bodies bear. Wellness is a largely white, privileged enterprise catering to largely white, privileged, already thin and able-bodied women, promoting exercise only they have the time to do and Tuscan kale only they have the resources to buy.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

All day long we see “influencers” on Instagram. Thin, barely-clothed, tan women pawning us shakes, or waist-trainers, supplements, or workout programming. They are telling us what we need to do to inherently be happy and feel good. Or trying anyway. Because, as she says in another part of the article, wellness equal thin and thin equals wellness.

I liked this quote as well:

I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value. Neither should my weight, though I’m still trying to separate my worth from my appearance. They are two necklaces that have gotten tangled over the course of my 35 years, their thin metal chains tied up in thin metal knots. Eventually, I will pry them apart.

Most days, I feel good in my skin. That said, I am probably never going to love my body, and that’s O.K. I think loving our bodies is not only an unrealistic goal in our appearance-obsessed society but also a limiting one. No one is telling men that they need to love their bodies to live full and meaningful lives. We don’t need to love our bodies to respect them.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

I don’t love my body right now. I’m not comfortable in it. But I’ll be honest, this has given me pause to ask myself if I’m uncomfortable for the right reasons. Am I healthy? Yep, I just had a whole bunch of blood tests that tell me so. I can run and strength train. So is it all about being thin?

Anyway, go read the piece and give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. I think we all need to strive to be healthy and WELL, but are we really doing in society today? And how do you define it now that our measuring stick is so very skewed?

TODAY I LOVE: thought-provoking discussion
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing You, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival