Dear Dr. Kim & Other Spiritual Leaders:
Oh my - where to begin. I watched your video on epigenetics and body shape this morning with horror and fascination. There is about 95% of your message that is helpful and true and yet - the entire message is also harmful and fat phobic.
For those who do not know, epigenetics is the emerging science that says that we are not predisposed to disease simply because we have it in our genes. Certain behavioral and environmental factors can turn genes on or off so that diseases or characteristics you think you inherited will never actually get expressed.
Inevitably, people are eager to apply the theory of epigenetics to weight and talk about how we can turn on and off the genes that we blame for gaining weight. Now on the one hand, I find this interesting and valuable to explore. And yet - I have a few concerns as stated below.
The video I watched was saying that when women hate their bodies, they create a negative energy around them that causing the weight gain. And when they love themselves and release that energy, they will be thin.
If these aren't the words specifically used, then they were definitely what was implied.
Unfortunately, it was never once said that it was ok to have any body that a person happens to have. Instead, the video continued to support the notion that all bodies should be thin.
Do these spiritual healers actually think that everyone can be thin if they love themselves?
I believe in energy. I believe in the concept of epigenetics. I believe there is so much we don't know about bodies and healing and the mind body connection. But I also believe that there has always been fat people and there will always be fat people - it's a body type and it should not be pathologized or demonized. It doesn't need healing.
I find it interesting that the leaders agree that part of loving yourself is letting go of the scale and measurements, which I agree with wholeheartedly as well. But somehow, the gurus find a way at some point to state their weight or the fact that they have lost weight (and this is always stated with pride).
In the video I watched this morning, body fat percentages and before and after pictures were also included. Why are those measures important if it's loving yourself is the most important thing?
I work with women who are healing from years of hating their bodies. Part of that hate comes from videos and messages that support the idea that thinner is better. How does this help people heal? It is a damaging carrot on a stick, just like every other part of diet culture.
If everyone can lose weight by loving themselves, are you saying that all fat people out there hate themselves or have an energetic block? I bet I could find many fat people who would disagree with you and say that is a crock of shit. (no offense)
And if there are people in larger bodies who would agree with you, it's only because our culture has taught them to hate themselves, and that is the crux of the real problem.
We are in agreement that diets don't work because they set up a resistance and an environment where we are fighting ourselves.
However, to celebrate a thin woman, who hates her thighs getting thinner after learning to love herself and to not call out the weight stigma and bias in our culture as the elephant in the room causing all the problems - will keep women in the cycle of self blame and hatred that gurus are hoping to free them from.
I absolutely agree that we should love our bodies and love our lives and say no to things we don't want to do and take back our power.
But this doesn't mean that we will all be thin or that we even want to be.