WomCam believes that negative body image and unhealthy body habits and disorders are major problems for women and non-binary people throughout their lives.
These problems are often perpetuated by things that many of us never consider to be unhealthy: a constant barrage of adverts featuring models who are not representative of average, healthy people, ubiquitous marketing of products which are meant to address “shortcomings” and “imperfections”, a society which disparages diversity in shape/size/looks and is disproportionately focused on appearance.
Because the problems are so vast, it is not enough to simply remind women to love their bodies, one day a year. The Women’s Union’s support of campaigns like No Diet Day and Love Your Body Day is part of a longer push towards encouraging women to have healthier relationships with their bodies. This includes reminding friends that they are beautiful, asserting that disparaging comments (often coming from loved ones, such as family or partners) about appearance are unacceptable, living a healthy lifestyle (being active and eating enough and healthily) and speaking out against negative/unreal representations of women.
Encouraging women to have healthy relationships with their bodies can only ever go part of the way in redressing the body-negativity endemic in, and perpetuated by, our society. Many individuals will experience an eating disorder, and the Women’s Union is committed to ensuring that the proper support is available to them.
Eating disorders stem from many sources; for some individuals, body image is a major factor. For others, eating disorders have less to do with body image, and come from feelings of stress or lack of control. A common myth is that eating disorders are about superficial concerns with appearance. This is not the case: eating disorders are a serious mental illness with many causes and a difficult recovery process.
If you or someone you know might have an eating disorder, the first thing to do is seek help. There is a wealth of resources to support you.
beat, the primary eating disorders support organisation in the UK, runs a helpline:
Monday to Friday 10:30am – 8:30pm
Saturdays 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Sunday ~ Closed
Bank Holidays 11:30am – 2:30pm
Love Your Body Day with the Now Foundation
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance