Young girls are being primed to look at their bodies as a site they have to change from as young as five, warned Susie Orbach, academic, activist, author and one of the editors of Fifty Shades of Feminism.
The author of many books including Fat Is A Feminist Issue and Bodies at Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, Orbach said that so much “work” is being done on children’ that, “by the time kids enter school we are seeing massive body disturbances.”
“The woman’s body becomes a calling, the body becomes the thing you work on.” This extends even to have surgery on the labia because they hate the way it looks, said Orbach.
“It doesn’t matter what age a girl or women is, there are always procedures.”
In the past bulimia arose in late adolescence and now we are seeing at age five, said Orbach.
“The women’s body has become a calling. The body has becomes the thing you work on.”
“It’s starting earlier with baby photos being photo-shopped to add dimples.
“You are supposed to have this brand that all looks the same – long straight hair, manicured and the same clothes.”
Orbach is one of the co-founder of Endangered Bodies, an international local-global initiative, that challenges merchants of body hatred who turn girls and women against their own bodies.
“It is a movement of girls, women and men who reject the horrors of body uniformity and is encouraging girls and women to dare to enjoy their bodies.
The initiative is a way of bringing a bigger change. In her work as a psychotherapist you can only work with one by one. But she still thinks it is the best job in the word.
”People don’t come to therapy because of a trauma, no, it’s more likely to be ‘why aren’t I happy’? But it’s hard to write about small pieces of change,” said Orbach.
Marian Edmunds is a writer, editor and journalist