Meet Society, Media and Ed

By Melissa Mark on Fri, 09/14/2012 - 14:13

Girl Blogger Melissa Mark shares her personal story about how society and media influence the way girls feel about and treat their bodies.

Meet Society. She’s bossy and always wants things her way. She’s the opposite of your BFF voice- she’s your total enemy. She wants to make you feel miserable and uses her sidekick, Media, to convey her opinions to you. Society is a perfectionist, she’s never happy with herself or her crew. She’s the queen of the “popular” crowd. No one has the courage to stand up to her and be different. We all saw what happened to those who did try to get out of Society’s grasp and go their own way....they became outcasts. She is responsible for the messages that bombard our magazines and TVs. “Lose 10 pounds in 20 days!” “Flat stomach NOW!” I used to listen to her. I got lucky though, like Harry Potter with Voldemort. I survived, and I have scars to prove my experience. Maybe not ones shaped like lightning bolts, though.

It was these messages on the covers of magazines in the grocery store that made me feel self-conscious in 5th grade. Before that year, I loved my body. Once I started paying attention to Media’s words written in the pages of magazines and commercials, I knew I didn’t fit her standard. Little did I know that I was actually at a healthy weight. I began to eat “healthier,” and eventually Society and Ed (short for Eating Disorder, Society's counterproductive partner) controlled my life. I lost my voice and I wasn’t myself. I couldn’t enjoy what I used to love, and I couldn’t stick up for myself.

In early 2010, I pulled away from Society and Ed. The turning point for me was when I couldn’t eat a bite of pizza, and my parents were screaming at me to eat. I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until I ate the entire slice. It took me over two hours to eat one slice. Later that night, I cried my eyes out. I cried because I didn’t have things in my control. I wanted to eat, but the enemy voices in my head were telling me not to, that I would get fat. I came to a realization- when would this end? When was I going to be skinny enough for Society? When I heard my own answer- “Never”- I knew that this had to end and I was going to have to fight Society and Ed. After a long battle, I claimed victory.

Society’s words and messages have led to eating disorders and self-image issues in so many girls (and even some boys). Sadly, instead of listening to doctors, we listen to Society- if we can fit in with Society we’ll be considered “popular.” Society has caused my friends to ask for reassurance that it’s OK to eat an entire sandwich, and that they won’t get fat. She isn’t happy with B pluses, they have to be A’s. She will yell at you if you don’t excel in sports and aren’t skinny. Society controls you.

If I were describing this in a GLI workshop right now, I know what the teachers and campers would be saying. “It’s an unhealthy relationship, get out of it!” People want friends, and they feel that if they listen to Society, Media, and Ed, they will be popular. Real friends don’t criticize you. They don’t cause your health and self-confidence to deteriorate. They make you feel better and comfort you. Real friends make you laugh and don’t judge you. They let you be yourself around them. It’s time for people to stand up to Society and show her that she can’t control our lives. The next time Society tells you to pass up that slice of chocolate cake or to pluck those eyebrows, ignore her. Find some real friends by being yourself, not what Society wants you to be.

Awesome

Great article--I had a similar experience when I was younger and struggled with ED, except mine was an oreo instead of pizza. So many people struggle with eating disorders and issues, it's great to see someone who isn't afraid to talk about it.

Melissa! This is fantastic. I

Melissa! This is fantastic. I am so proud of you. You're so inspiring. I miss you so much. :( you speak truths, and in them I see a better future. <3

Important article.

This article will help people. Columnist Melissa is off to a great start!

Melissa, this is a beautiful,

Melissa, this is a beautiful, thoughtful, and thought provoking piece. I applaud your use of personification, I think it was absolutely amazing.

:)

MAKING IT THROUGH AN E.D.

THIS STORY HITS WAY TOO CLOSE TO HOME.
I SUFFERED FROM AN EATING DISORDER FOR OVER 15 YEARS. SOCIETY AND SOCIAL MEDIA SENT MESSAGES ABOUT AND PICTURES OF WHAT IT VIEWED AS PERFECTION AND THOSE BECAME MY WORST ENEMY; TELLING ME THAT I WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH.
I WENT FROM BEING A HAPPY YOUNG GIRL WHO HAD A FEW BODY IMAGES BUT WHO LOVED HER LIFE TO...A LONLEY, SCARED, EMPTY, HUNGRY,INVISIBLE AND IMACIATED SHELL OF A YOUNG GIRL WHO HAD NO LIFE.
I PRIDED MYSELF ON BEING AN HONEST AND GOOD HUMAN BEING BUT WHEN THE "ED" TOOK OVER MY LIFE THAT PERSON GOT BURIED. I SPENT MY DAYS COUNTING CALORIES, OVER EXCERSIZING AND PRETENDING I WAS HAPPY. I SPENT HOURS LYING TO MY LOVED ONES AND COVERING UP THAT I WAS NOT EATING. IT WAS A LONLEY HELL OF A LIFE THAT I WAS TRAPPED IN FOR WAY TOO MANY YEARS.
I LOST SO MUCH TIME AND SO MANY YEARS TO THIS DISORDER THAT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET BACK AND IT SIMPLY WAS NOT WORTH IT. UNFORTUNATLEL WHEN YOU ARE IN THE DISORDER YOU ARE SO OUT OF CONTROL THAT IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE THIS. I WAS SO ENGULFED IN THIS DISORDER THAT IT TOOK THERAPY, GROUP THERAPY AND EVENTUALLY 2 INPATIENT TREATMENTS BEFORE I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO SEE BEYOND MY DISORDER AND TO SEE REALITY.
TODAY I AM BETTER BUT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY I AM CURED. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN REALLY BE "CURED" OF AN EATING DISORDER BUT YOU CAN LIVE A HAPPY AND MEANINGFUL LIFE. THERE REALLY IS LIFE AFTER AND EATING DISORDER. ONE OF MY BIGGEST FEARS WAS THAT MY ED WOULD TAKE THE ABILITY TO BEAR A CHILD AWAY FROM ME...I AM LUCKY AND BLESSED BECAUSE MIRACOUSLY TODAY I AM A BRAND NEW MOM, I HAVE A WONDERFUL FIANCE AND MY AMAZING FAMILY IS STILL RIGHT BY MY SIDE(WHERE, THANK GOD, THEY WERE EVEN THROUGH ALL THE LIES AND ALL THE STRUGGLES). I HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR.
EVERYDAY IS A STRUGGLE AND THERE ARE A LOT OF "MOMENTS" THAT I HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND TALK MYSELF THROUGH. IT IS STILL HARD TO GET THROUGH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE "MOMENTS" BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT YOUR LIFE IS WORTH IT.
WHEN I HAVE MY "MOMENTS" I LOOK AT MY NEW BABY BOY AND I LOOK AT MY WONDERFUL FINACE AND I REMEMBER HOW BLESSED I AM AND WHAT I HAVE TO LIVE FOR AND I SOMEHOW GET THROUGH IT. WHEN THE FEELING/"MOMENT" PASSES (AND I PROMISE THAT IT ALWAYS PASSES)I CAN GO TO MY BABY AND PICK HIM UP OR RUN INTO MY FIANCE'S ARMS AND I CAN SEE THAT LIFE IS GOOD. I CHOSE LIFE OVER ED...WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE?
IF YOU GET ANYTHING OUT OF MY COMMENT PLEASE GET THIS...YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH AND LIFE IS WORTH IT! CHOOSE TO LIVE!!!

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