This New Year #IResolveToGain Rather Than Lose #F

This post originally appeared on December 31, 2013 written by Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer. This was Gretchen’s first post as a contributor to Hashtag Feminism.

My New Year's resolution for 2014 is to become EVEN MORE FEMINIST.

— Kate Durbin (@Kate_Durbin) December 28, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone!

Brace yourself for the onslaught of weight loss guilt trips pushed by marketers playing on our insecurities just to make an easy buck. Whether it’s Special K’s 2011 “What Will You Gain When You Lose?” (a total rip off of feminist artist Marilyn Wann’s “Yay Scale”), or their latest “Shut Down Fat Talk” campaign (another co-optation of feminism), or Weight Watcher’s ads featuring Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson (both of whom deserve to be valued for their badass vocal abilities alone), marketers seem to be using every trick in the book to sell weight loss.

The relationship between the increase of ad sales marketing weight loss plans this time of year and our collective anxiety around losing weight, especially after the holidays is evident. Our culture is fixated on women having “perfect” bodies because of beauty standards set by companies pushing weight loss products like diet pills and meal plans.

It’s time for the madness to stop.

You can’t convince me that corporations actually care about our health, happiness, or self-esteem. They want our money. Too much of our time and energy are wasted on achieving unobtainable weight loss goals. I say unobtainable because the images we see in the media that we’re encouraged to emulate are photoshopped. Your value as a person should not hinge upon how you look in a bikini.

you wonder why the world needs feminism? the world needs feminism cause women are fucking killing themselves to reach an ideal 'beauty'

— 雞塊 (@suicides3as0n) December 16, 2013

I’m a curvy girl and I’m comfortable with my body the way it is. I admit, however, that it takes constant effort to maintain a positive body image because of the unending pressure to be thin. I never see bodies that look like mine in the media even though I’m closer to the average size of the American woman than most models whose body types only reflect 5% of the U.S. population.

It’s super frustrating to hear my friends and colleagues obsess over getting rid of a so-called imperfection or losing just 10 more pounds. OK, but then what? When does the madness end?

#NotYourAsianSidekick b/c the stereotype that Asian women are/should be thin ignores the prevalence of eating disorders among Asian women.

— Ally Ang (@Allyy_Ang) December 16, 2013

When will we be OK with our bodies and pour our energies into ending violence against women, poverty, or world hunger? Rather than handing over our time and resources to the multibillion dollar weight loss industry, why not keep the money for ourselves and use it to change the world?

For this New Year’s, I propose the #IResolveToGain” hashtag conversation on Twitter.

Let’s shift our focus and think about gaining more for ourselves that has nothing to do with losing weight, but gaining happiness, self-esteem, and sense of worth. Because photoshopped models and plastic surgery-addicted celebrities featured in the hottest ads shouldn’t be where we find happiness.

Here are a few of my own resolutions to get you started:

  • This year #IResolveToGain more confidence in my abilities.

  • This year, #IResolveToGain more time for myself to do things that I love.

  • This year, #IResolveToGain more accounts to follow on Twitter to increase my knowledge, empathy and compassion for the experience of others.

  • This year, #IResolveToGain more experience boosting body image in girls and women.

  • This year, #IResolveToGain more laughter in my life.

  • What will you resolve to gain this year?