Health for Sale

If you’ve been a reader for awhile you know about the film American the Beautiful by Darryl Roberts.  It’s a film that looks at America’s obsession with beauty and “how these increasingly unattainable images contribute greatly to the rise in low self-esteem, body dismorphia, and eating disorders for young women and girls who also happen to be the beauty industry’s largest consumers.”

Last year we raised funds to bring Darryl and this film to the University of Texas at Austin.  It is an incredible film and I highly recommend it (you can even get it on Netflix).

His newest project is America the Beautiful:  Health for Sale, which “deals with our unhealthy health standards and the ensuing fallout from expecting an entire nation to fit into a ‘certain BMI.'”

That film has its red carpet premiere tomorrow today (March 5th) at the IAEDP symposium (the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals).  I will be at the red carpet premiere, and the reason that I will be at that premiere is that I am in the film.  I was interviewed a few weeks ago to provide a response to some of the not-very-health-at-every-size interviews that he had done.

I can’t even tell you how pumped I am.  When I started this blog what I was hoping for, and what I continue to desire, is the biggest possible platform from which to give people the option of Health at Every Size, and let them decide what they want to do.

I never, ever try to tell anyone how to live (and oh how I wish that people would give me the same courtesty!) but it breaks my heart to think that there are people who hate their bodies and feel that they can never be healthy until they are thin: they are yo-yo dieting, feeling helpless and they don’t even know that there is another option.

I can’t stand that there are people who have never considered exercised for any reason other than to try to change the size and shape of their body.  There are people who think of every meal as a battle and every trip to the gym as punishment.

There are people who are treated really badly by friends, family, personal trainers, doctors, and perfect strangers, and they believe that they deserve it – that their body size determines their worth or lack thereof and that they deserve to be abused and ashamed until they are thin.

That’s fine if it’s how someone chooses to live but I think that choice means that they’ve been given all of their options and picked one.  I think that people should know that there is an option that allows them to love their body now, pursue health without also pursuing intentional weight loss, be at peace with their eating, and enjoy moving their body for the sheer joy of it.

The pressure’s mostly off me because I don’t feel the need to convince anyone else that they should live like I do.  Once they know about the option, they can choose whatever they want.

So keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow I’ll have another chance to give people an option.

My mantra:

  • Don’t swear
  • Don’t be an idiot
  • Say what you came here to say

IAEDP here I come!

Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 6:20 am  Comments (13)  

13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. OMG! Ragen, as pumped as you must be, I am (as I am sure many of your other loyal readers, family, friends and whatnot) incredibly pumped to hear this. I’ll have to check out the first movie, and of course when at all possible, check out the new one.

    I’m still working on the whole not pushing others towards my choice, thing. Some days I just find it so hard to not want to throw a tantrum when people go all batshit crazy about weight. I think what bugs me even more than when people say something about my weight (which has become more rare as time goes by because I simply won’t listen to it) is when someone I care about says something about their own. It takes every ounce of my will power some days to not try to knock their head (usually virtually) against something hard and say, “Cut that out!” They have to make their own choice, and I just hope that through my own acceptance of myself, I am showing them that there is another way to look at themselves. That’s really the best I can hope for.

    I adore you, Ragen. I truly do. Keep up the awesome work, and keep up helping others with their awesome work as well. I really look up to you and one day I hope to drive to Austin and meet up with you. *HUGS!*

    • Karen,

      You are too sweet, thank you so much!!!! I will take all of your well wishes with me and you must tell me the minute you are coming to Austin.

      Big hugs!!

      ~Ragen

  2. I loved America the Beautiful. I was really impressed by Roberts’ approach, especially the fact that he often discussed “women’s issues” – from the perspective of a man – without making us out to be some sort of alien species.

    Hope the premiere goes well. Can’t wait to see it! :)

  3. Go Ragen go!

    You will be so amazing!! I’m really excited that the awesomeness that is you will be broadcast to a wider audience. :)

    (Almost done with that post I emailed you about, btdubs!)

  4. Hi Ragen! I just found your site through Jezebel — I’m also an Austin blogger, AND a UT student who happened to see America the Beautiful at UT! It was a wonderful experience — very eye-opening. Thanks for all you do and what you stand for–I’m so proud that you’re part of my hometown!

    • Hi! I’m so glad that you got a chance to see America the Beautiful. I can tell you, having just watched the new film, I think it’s even better and I’m going to try to bring it to UT. Thanks for so much for your kind words as well. I checked out your blog and it’s great – I think you’ve inspired me to try to make hummus!

      ~Ragen

  5. I wish I could be there! That sounds like an awesome opportunity. I agree with every word you just said. Everyone deserves to feel good about their bodies and we need to help get the message across that you can learn to feel good about yourself and your body without changing it. Good luck!

  6. MOVIE STAR!!

    Thanks for the reminder that it is more powerful to live our own choices than to try to force others to want to take our path.

    So excited for you! Congratulations on getting that really big platform!

  7. Ragen–I know that you were as eloquent and powerful on the red carpet as you are in writing. I’m so excited that your voice is out there representing all of us!

  8. Well, to quote this post, “I am totally pumped” to have found your blog. I love to dance and one of my recurring fantasies is to join an amateur troupe of fat dancers … or just to take modern or jazz classes oriented toward people of size. Sadly, I live in Kansas where options for adult dance classes are limited to begin with.

    I’m off-topic and rambling, sorry!

    • I’m glad that you like the blog. You could always try to start a dance troupe in Kansas. Happy dancing :)

      ~Ragen

  9. Hi Ragen,

    I’m leaving a comment here because my new nutrition attended the IAEDP symposium, saw this film and you, and when I went to my first meeting with her this week, she brought you as a positive model of how my goal of being fat and fit was healthy, realistic and completely possible. I was so excited because I’d read your blog before and knew exactly who she was talking about! So the message of this film is already making its way into the world through your work and Darryl’s. :)

    ~ Regann

    • Regann,

      Sorry I’m so behind in replying. This comment completely made my day! I’m so glad that Darryl’s work (and my small part of it) are making their way into the world. Yay!

      ~Ragen


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