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#PrettyGirlsDOEat

By Amanda Connerton--Social media: what started out as a way to stay connected is quickly turning into a platform for revolution.

Last week I received an anonymous message on my blog which said: “Start tagging your food pics and selfies with food with #prettygirlseat and spread the word!!!!”

To be honest, I didn’t give the message much thought. I believe my exact words to myself were “Hm, maybe.” Fast forward to this Monday and I saw a post on Tumblr titled “Pretty Girls DO Eat.”  It’s a social media movement rapidly making its way through the fitness and recovery communities- communities with a mission to make a difference.

The inspiration behind the movement is the notorious quote “Pretty girls don’t eat” - a quote that can easily lodge itself into your mind and unintentionally become your new mantra. Girls and boys in a fragile or easily triggered state see the quote and think “I can’t be pretty if I eat.” It’s a landmine waiting to be stepped on. I know, because it happened to me during the height of my eating disorder. As if the saying itself isn’t bad enough, it is usually accompanied by pictures of scales, sickly thin models, or nothing but words on a dismal, black background leaving you with a wave of hopelessness.

Now people are trying to combat that. In an attempt to gain back self-confidence and promote a positive relationship with food and our bodies, individuals are taking to social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr) on June 27th. The forerunners of the cyber world are being asked to take “selfies” with their food and use the hashtag #PrettyGirlsEat or #PrettyBoysEat (also #PrettyGirlsDOeat and #PrettyBoysDOeat) depending on how they identify.

Though there is no option for agender or gendernonconforming people, I was happy to see male-identified people included. The goal of the campaign is simple: break the fallacy the pro-eating disorder community has been spreading: that in order to be pretty, you can’t eat and starvation is the answer to your problems. After years of seeing the self-deprecating original, I can say with confidence and excitement that it’s “about damn time.”

There’s just one concern I have: the wording: “PRETTY People Eat.” Perhaps we can attribute it to the decision to match the backbone of the original post. Or perhaps it’s a window into a deeper issue: our never-ending focus on aesthetics. Maybe it’s just me but I’d like to see a shift in what our society deems important. For a long time I thought my worth came from my looks and that thinking broke down my self-esteem and self-concept.

Unfortunately, I think that is how we are setting the stage for everyone to feel. Instead of “Pretty People Eat” why not “Healthy People Eat” or “Happy People Eat”? We could nitpick all we want but at the end of the day I think right now we can tip our hats, take selfies with our food, and celebrate the fact that a change is going to come because remember: “Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” - Khalil Gibrin.

About the blogger: Amanda is a recent psychology graduate soon going for her doctorate in Clinical Psychology with concentrations in Forensic and Neuropsychology. Her spare time is an impromptu mix of singing, running, and cracking every joke under the sun in an attempt to make people laugh. 

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fabello

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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