How to Decolonize the Way You Think About Your Body

How to Decolonize the Way You Think About Your Body
When it comes to eating disorder awareness, communities of color are too often left out of the conversation. Ayu Sutriasa

When you hear the phrase “eating disorder,” what do you picture? Perhaps a young white woman, about 5’10”, blonde, with a face you would expect to see in a Hollister advertisement, size 00 (yes, Hollister carries size double zero). Contrary to cultural assumptions, eating disorders do not just plague white cis hetero women. They affect everyone, regardless of race, size, gender, class, or sexuality. However, they don’t affect everyone the same way.

Eating disorder research has historically left out women of color, and treatment plans are often expensive and lacking in cultural sensitivity. According to the American Psychological Association, less than 13 percent of adolescents receive treatment for their eating disorders, leaving thousands of others to suffer alone, in silence. But not if Gloria Lucas can help it.

Lucas is the founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride, a xicana/brown/indigenous body positive organization based in Compton, California, that takes an intersectional approach to eating disorder education. NPP provides community-based support for people of color who struggle with eating disorders and body image issues, emphasizing the need for decolonization within the body positive movement.

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