"Body image concerns are widespread. When women overestimate their size, they feel bad about their bodies and their well-being plummets. They tend to either curtail or override their appetites in an attempt to control the feeling of real or imagined fatness and this is leading many women to have to disturbed eating.1 When women underestimate their size, they also lose contact with basic physiological prompts signalling hunger and satisfaction.
The conjunctions of body image distress and disturbances in eating have tended to be seen as either trivial and vain, or as medical psychiatric issues. This has meant that they have rarely been in focus in considering health policies for expectant mothers. Understanding these disturbances explains why sound nutritional advice is often poorly taken up despite women wishing to do so.
Women’s concerns are anything but trivial. They are making women feel deeply uneasy in their bodies. They are disturbing women’s eating patterns. They are impacting on how women relate to their physical needs in pregnancy and post-partum, interrupting the focus on bonding with baby in the crucial early months when attachment behaviours are being established (Treasure 2013, Fairburn 1993, Orbach 2003)."
They elaborate on issues including feeding and nurturing babies, the experience of pregnancy, the transition from pregnancy to becoming a mother, bonding and attachment, mothers with body image and eating problems, building baby's secure body image, the case for early intervention, in addition to key information and actions for midwives and health visitors. The report's Executive Summary reads as follows:
Susie Orbach, convenor of Endangered Bodies UK, is a keynote speaker at the fourth bi-annual National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) conference in Toronto, Canada on May 9-10, 2013. Other speakers include Dr. Joanne Dolhanty, Adèle Lafrance Robinson, Anita Sarkeesian and Jenni Schaefer.
Susie Orbach has been working towards achieving approval of a pilot program within the NHS, which would address the transmission of intergenerational eating and body problems, highlighting the importance of mother - baby bonding through feeding.
Mothers’ difficulties and concerns about weight and shape directly effect well-being and the relationship to early feeding and feeding in general. An awareness of one’s body and how one feels in it is tied in to how one feeds and nurtures ones baby. Feeding a newborn child is complicated (and exciting) on several levels- the technical as well as the emotional. Mother and baby have to learn this together.
The Shape Your Culture project, run by EB London, ran a market stall at the Southbank Centre’s World of Women Festival for International Women’s day. The young women working on this project spent the day informing and inviting festival guests to be part of their creative activism. You can see beautiful images of the interactive installation they created here: http://www.shapeyourculture.org.uk/gallery/
At the same time the SYC team from Basildon toured their ‘Anti-Essexism’ artwork around London, inviting onlookers to question and re-think the Essex-girl stereotype.
The AnyBody UK team ran a workshop at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival for International Women’s day. The workshop was titled ‘She Said What!? Women’s Bodies Shaped By Words’ and invited participants to discuss and challenge the damaging ways in which we talk about our own and each others’ bodies.
A book that contains the contributions of 50 amazing women, and describes just 50 out of many more shades of feminism, was launched on March 9th at the Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. The book was conceived and edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach and Rachel Holmes, and it was a treat for EB UK to celebrate with them. The launch was filled with vibrant wonderful voices, as many of the contributors read extracts from the book to a buzzing audience.
Endangered Bodies London has contributed to the evidence gathered as part of a review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions.
The call for evidence was initiated by the Department of Health after the Poly Implant Prothese PIP scandal, in which faulty implants continued to be used despite knowledge of the risks, thereby endangering patients health.