You are now required by law to promote anorexia
Or: People who hate me are not that different from me
Let’s say that you are personally prohibited by your religious beliefs from practicing anorexia. You also happen to believe that it is a rational thing to not practice anorexia, since it’s so obviously counter to how a healthy body works and so obviously a sign of something being seriously wrong, psychologically. In your religious tradition, many millennia ago people thought that prohibiting anorexia was a direct commandment from God and obeyed that commandment like the awe-inspiring mystery that it was and passed that commandment down through the generations in a holy text which you read every day. Whether or not it’s historically, literally true to call it a revelation is somewhat beside the point, since communities who prohibited anorexia didn’t immediately collapse and indeed weathered the ages quite well, so be it a holy revelation or just a good idea it’s still a worthy rule to observe as far as you can see. Plus anorexia is just visibly, obviously disturbing to you to behold.
So, “don’t be anorexic” is a part of something that connects you with countless previous generations of humans and with community and connection in the present and which gives you hope for eternity. It also makes rational sense to you to say “don’t be anorexic” since it obviously destroys the human body and would cause all kinds of broader problems if we promoted it as a way of life. It also is just horrible and sad to think about, emotionally. Your entire being is oriented along the axis of “don’t be anorexic”, which has somehow managed to put you at odds with society.
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Let’s say that you live in a world profoundly reshaped by the anorexia liberation movement. There’s a whole month devoted to anorexic pride, parades celebrating anorexia rattle through the streets of every major city, flags honoring anorexia fly outside government buildings and on the sides of some police cars, most movies and tv shows are just kind of expected to have at least one anorexic character now, active anorexics read stories to children in public libraries, “how to be anorexic” books are written for kids featuring happy pictures of near-skeletal humans. Your children are required by law to participate in the public education system where anorexic teachers share their anorexic tales with impressionable young minds. Your kids, your life, your love, your future, are told that if they are sad it might be because they are anorexic and that they need to have their stomach stapled as soon as possible, and if they are anorexic then their secret is safe at school and they never have to tell their evil parents. Trying to help anorexic people have a healthier relationship with their bodies is spat upon as ‘conversion therapy’. Anorexics need to have their stomachs stapled as soon as possible, since many of them commit suicide to escape feeling too fat to live, and if you fail to personally pay for their permanent surgeries then you might as well be killing them yourself. And this is just the beginning - the anorexia pride flag recently added a stripe to support opiate addicts, or “heroin heroes” as they’re calling themselves these days, people who have declared themselves to be victims of society and victims of a terrible condition in which they need near-lethal levels of heroin in their blood at all times, and if you live life without heroin addiction then you need to check your privilege and work to keep people high at all times as a form of justice and charity.
Anorexia is a protected legal category, meaning you cannot say “do your weird thing, just not here” in any kind of professional setting. You can’t say “go live somewhere else, go work somewhere else, we don’t do that here”. Some portion of your resources - either through taxation or economic transactions in general - are going to go to support anorexia. You can not say no to facilitating it in other people. Maybe you would like to - maybe you would love to take your family and run away somewhere, abandoning society to its obvious self-destruction, but there’s nowhere in this world where you can escape.
None of the above is true for me, not in a factual or emotional sense. But it helps me illuminate and understand people who are very different than me, people who are so different from me that they experience my way of life as a failure of theirs, people who wake up early and stay up late trying to relieve their urgent disgust by passing laws that make it as hard as possible to be like me. I hope that they fail, but more importantly I want to relieve the suffering and disgust that motivates them. Failing that, I at least hope to understand them as compassionately as I can - being human means finding some way to live alongside people who baffle and disgust me and who indeed oppose me, and if my thinking can’t bring them peace than I at least hope to bring some peace to me.