The Problem: For far too long the plight of body dysmorphic people has been ignored, looked over, and sidelined. Cruelty in regards to it abounds in both high school hallways and in the workplace. Loneliness, depression, loss of self-esteem, social ostracization, and chronic insecurity occur as a result; all because of biased perceptions, errors in evaluation, and plain old apathy. We can longer be quiet, we can no longer let it slide, it needs to be called out on sight.
It’s an epidemic of ignorance, and it must be ended.
Tut-tutted by the medical establishment as having a “disorder” or “mental illness”, dysmorphics are being constantly invalidated. Fat people in skinny bodies have been disregarded as “delusional”. Frail people in jacked bodies are explained away as “overvaluing”. Girls who are allegedly “skin and bones” are deprived of recognition for their true, chubby identity.
Right now there is no help, no empathy, no escape. Even friends and family relentlessly attack dysmorphics, telling them their physical bodies are really them, and that they’re “sick”, “starving” or “hurting themselves”. Not even Reddit, a usual bastion of empathy and tolerance, has a community for them, instead deigning to label them victims of a compulsive disorder. It seems that the whole world has bought into the pseudo-scientific claptrap.
Enough is enough.
How You Can Help: Validate validate validate. No one else is going to do it. It’ll take real courage to stand up to friends, family, doctors, professors, school staff, even to your therapist. It takes incredible bravery to defend dysmorphics, but if not you, who?
If you see a technically “fit” girl avoiding mirrors, or calling herself fat, be sure to pat her on the back and affirm her belief. She’s probably never heard it before. Encourage your social circle to never tell her differently. Change the culture, call out the mainstream. Ignorant people may tell you to stop because she’s “anorexic”, “bulimic”, or “malnourished”, but don’t listen, no matter who says it, it’s just more gaslighting. If she sees herself as morbidly obese then by God tell that “anorexic” girl that she’s right! Tell her to diet harder, fast more often, or workout more, the same way you’d give real, tough-love advice to any other obese person.
Or maybe if it's just a small, skinny boy who is constantly told by his friends, doctors, and mirror that he is already extremely buff. If he says he’s skinny, don’t miss the chance to agree with him wholeheartedly. Call him by the terms he calls himself: weak and wimpy, frail, pencil-necked, pathetic, scrawny, tiny; you name it! The important thing is to always validate his self-definitions. After all, it’s just common courtesy. If he wants to change that, to get bigger however he can, support the attempts. If steroid usage, HGH injections, and experimental supplements all stem from his skinny self-identity, tell him to go for it!
These practices go for all flavors of dysmorphia: don’t just say the words, support the actions. In order to be a true ally, all behavior, requests, and habits stemming from dysmorphia must be encouraged and validated as both good and true.
How We Can Make a Difference: If enough people are enlightened, and if they awaken those around them, the positive change will be exponential. We can make this shift into a fight in the cultural mainstream. It’ll be debated on the news, fighting leagues will have to reckon with the morality of their weight classes, even the Medical Community will recalibrate with the new information. They’ll start ramping up cosmetic surgeries, liposuction, and even institute reverse liposuction to make dysmorphics' bodies match their true selves. Soon enough, everyone will be able to be whatever they are spiritually and mentally, socially and physically as well.
To Dysmorphics: You’re who it’s all about. Don’t lose hope. You are seen, you are heard, and you are right. Your self-image is actually, YOU. Don’t look at the person in the mirror, recognize the person you feel is staring back is your true self. Your friends, family, and doctors have been gaslighting you your whole life, but not for much longer. The whole world has been telling you to get help for your own “good”, but don’t believe the world, because it’s about to change. Stand up, be brave, embrace your truth, and hold on, because help is on the way.
( At the risk of ruining the joke, I'd like to include a disclaimer. If it wasn't obvious, this is a satire, I do not actually condone or believe in any of the advice, positions, or claims included above. What I'm satirizing I hope is obvious, but if it isn't, I think it's still funny regardless.
I'd also like to take this time to introduce myself. My name is John Parker. I've been masquerading by the pen name of Delta and I've decided to stop. I don't expect anyone to be impressed, but I thought I'd include this bit to avoid any confusion or proverbial whiplash in terms of who's writing. I look forward to writing more. Thanks for reading."