We're putting on our serious faces again today, people. I know. But we have some important things to discuss.
I'm referring to the Marie Claire article, The Hunger Diaries.
Marie Claire caused some serious OMIGOD ITSTHEENDOFTHEWORLD issues in a certain blogging community lately. Just as there are mommy bloggers, there are 'healthy living' bloggers. The bloggers aren't people who write about food because of food itself - they are instead people who write about what they eat and how much they exercise, how they take care of their nutritional needs and manage their weight, and sometimes, how you can do it too. The article Marie Claire published suggested that maybe, these bloggers weren't promoting a healthy lifestyle as much as you might hope.
The article focused on the 'big six' of this community. (You can find them here, here, here, here, here and here, if you're interested.) They're all women, as are the majority of the readers and writers of these types of blogs, and they're open with things like their height, their weight, and their struggles to exercise and eat healthy.
Marie Claire suggested that these women are, at best, occasionally practicing disordered eating, and that at worst they are encouraging other women to do the same.
I have intentionally never listed my height and weight on this blog, even though I blog about body image regularly. If you're a regular reader, you know I'm a shorty, and hopefully that's about it.
I have also recovered from an eating disorder.
I think this makes me the perfect person to review these websites. I am, in fact, fairly easily triggered. When I was in the thick of it, I would check out armloads of cookbooks from the library, reading them, looking at pictures, and even transcribing the recipes. I did this in lieu of actually eating intelligently, and there was absolutely nothing sensible about that. I can read about food, now. I regularly do so, if for no other reason than exposure - if I see pictures of and read about deliciousness every day, I'm less likely to be surprised by something that makes me feel like I used to. I even have a blog of pictures of things that I eat, although I'm quite the slacker about keeping it updated.
The last thing I want is to do or say or write something that would ever in the history of ever contribute to an unbalanced view of food and eating and health that someone else might have. Most of these women, since the publication of the article, have expressed a similar opinion.
Maybe they just don't know, though. If they never had a full blown disorder, maybe they're not familiar with the disordered eating that can follow a woman through her whole life without ever being diagnosed. Or, maybe they're actually teaching healthy food and healthy living and the Marie Claire article picked a few bad examples. Or? Maybe they are in fact touting an unhealthy lifestyle with the main goal being thinness.
Without reading them, I can't say for sure.
I'm devoting this week to reviewing each of these sites. I'll go into their archives, since they're likely being more attentive to this issue since the publication of the article. I'll take into account any statement they may have made in their own defense.
Will this end up meaning anything to anyone? Perhaps not. Maybe by the end of the week I'll be a convert, and Mangled Baby Duck will be the newest of the 'healthy living' blogs. Either way, I want to know. I want to know if our societal obsession with weight has led to an entire corner of our internets being quite publicly turned into a community for those with borderline eating disorders. Because? It means something to me.