On July 4th, our Nation celebrated its Day of Independence from oppressive rulers. Three days ago I received a link to another very important Declaration of Independence, this one from the oppression of dieting. I encourage you to read it. Like the author, I was surprised at "how much of the original text was appropriate for explaining why women everywhere should break their ties with dieting."
The learning came via the insightful 2011 documentary, "Miss Representation" which "examines how women are portrayed by the mainstream media, and how the focus on beauty and sexuality instead of intellect and talent contributes to disenfranchisement."
In tracking this disenfranchisement, the film reveals how at the end of World War II many women who had entered the workforce for the war effort wanted to remain employed. These women had discovered not only previously unknown personal talents and skills, but the independence that a self-earned paycheck can provide.
The film claims that our Government wanted to be sure there were enough jobs for returning male Veterans. Thus, they fired the women and in an attempt to assuage resistance or rebellion began an intense media campaign to convince women that their place was NOT in the work-world but back in the home. The barrage of brainwashing engulfed every available form of media: print, radio, and eventually television with scores of ads and commercials featuring happy, well-organized, well dressed and perfectly coiffed women extolling the virtues of newly acquired appliances and the "ideal" families that resulted from their ownership. This led eventually to numerous television shows, again with happy, well-organized, well dressed and perfectly coiffed housewives/mothers (think, "Father Knows Best," "Leave It To Beaver," "The Donna Reed Show").
Watching this portion of the movie really shocked me. It had never occurred to me that the effort to keep women in the home was not only such a deliberate one but as prolific as the propaganda created during the war by the Germans and Japanese!
These two Declarations of Independence--one from the tyranny of British rule, the other from the tyranny of dieting, makes me wonder ... had there been television back in 1776, could Britain have convinced our Founding Fathers not to revolt? And in what ways is the act of dieting very like the post-WWII campaign to keep women "in their place?"
Something to ponder before beginning yet another ill-fated diet...
With blessings until next time,