Eating Disorder Therapist in Rockville, Maryland. Serving Montgomery County, Maryland. Specializing in the treatment of anorexia, binge eating, orthorexia, bulimia, compulsive exercise.
The other day, a client and I were talking about how she struggles with the belief that she “doesn’t deserve to take up space.”
I pointed out that even the way in which she had positioned herself on my couch, demonstrated her attempts to try to take up “as little space as possible.”
Unfortunately, the belief that we need to try to “take up less space,” is a common one in our culture-particularly for women.
While body image issues impact people of all genders, for the purpose of this post-I have chosen to highlight the idea of “taking up space” as it relates to women.
The Ways Women Are Taught to Take Up Less Space
From the time that many of us were small, we have been culturally conditioned to try to “take up less space.” The following are some examples:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says,
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”
Diet Culture and Shrinking Women
There is a $60 billion diet industry, which makes profit off our belief that we aren’t “good enough.” Body-dissatisfaction is what helps diet companies continue to sell their products.
Additionally, body image issues impact people of all genders. However, I think that particularly as women it’s important to note that a focus on these issues often keeps us from “playing big” in other areas of our lives. When women are fixed on dieting and attempting to change their bodies, they are not using their energy to change the world.
It’s also interesting to note that diet culture and a fixation on thinness rose in prominence around the time that women began to gain more political rights in our society.
You Are Not More Valuable If You Take Up Less Space
For all of the women who have been taught that you need to try to take up less space.
No matter what size your body is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your body.
There is something wrong with a society where we are taught that our value lies in shrinking.
You deserve to:
You deserve to take up all of the space that you need in this world.
Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C: is an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland. Jennifer specializes in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia, and body image issues. Jennifer provides eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Germantown, and Washington D.C. Jennifer offers eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide.
Check out Jennifer's on-demand eating disorder and body image trainings here!
I'm an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, MD.