The National Eating Disorders Association, which organizes this awareness week, recently posted an insightful status update on its Facebook page:
Day 2 of NEDAwareness Week! Most models are thinner than 98% of Americans. Instead of trying to change our bodies, how about we try to change our culture?
That's exactly right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with full-figured women. But there is something very wrong with a culture that sees them as flawed rather than gorgeous, prevents them from recognizing their natural beauty, and dupes them into thinking that they should diminish themselves rather than love their luscious curves.
Modern media-controlled culture, which has displaced the traditional cultures of most Western countries (and is displacing cultures everywhere else around the globe), is a degenerate creation, and it must be reformed if possible or done away with altogether, and a renewed, traditional culture put in its place.
Incidentally, while the NEDIC site is rather bleak and clinical - hardly the sort of Web page that would capture young imaginations - the organization is affiliated with this, much more visually engaging project:
I particularly like its "Stamp out bodysnarking" campaign. Snark of every kind is a uniquely toxic development of today's media environment, in which what was once the typically catty, sarcastic attitude of a certain kind of fey person has now become mainstreamed, in our Sexy and the City
culture, into commonplace behaviour. It's the plebeian equivalent of the critical cynicism that pervades today's high culture, which has displaced traditional Western idealism and romanticism.
It's nice to see a campaign organized against it.
Also, too many eating-disorders organizations focus exclusively on negativity. As the title of this site, "Proud To Be Me," implies, it welcomes the positive. One page asks readers to dwell on their best moments and celebrate them.
It comes with a delightful graphic.
I can't help but think of how often traditional depictions of Aphrodite/Venus in Western art depict the goddess admiring her beauty in a mirror. As ever, the ancients had it right.
I think I understand why the Judgment of Paris venerates feminine vanity so much. It is a sure antidote to the relentless, destructive negativity fostered by modern culture - a culture that, as NEDIC rightly says, needs to be changed.