Endangered Species is an international summit set up by Susie Orbach to challenge women’s and girls’ hatred of their bodies. On Friday it hits London, where a wide range of organisations and women determined to “save future generations of girls from the misery that turns women against their own bodies” will meet to “make people understand how and why this is an emergency, to show them how they can do something about it, and to inspire them to embrace change”.
I think the organisers are quite right to term this situation an emergency. When women and girls see our bodies as a deeply flawed obstacle to our participation in society, to our worth as human beings, and spend so much time, energy, money and headspace trying to correct these perceived flaws – flaws which are very purposefully manufactured by industries reliant on women’s self-hatred for their ever-inscreasing profits – we are in no position to continue the fight for full equality and freedom.
Constant individualised conflict with your own body and girlie solidarity over diet tips and cake guilt do not a revolution make. Women and girls need self confidence and a sense of our own inate worth to keep moving forward, not to mention the ability to face the world without having to don feminine disguise first. We need to stop hating, stop buying into the lies, stop playing the game. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like – it’s what you do with/in it that counts.