Gelukkig maar ongezond - Een interdisciplinair onderzoek naar de sociale wortels van de gezondheidscultuur, evenals een uiteenzetting van intuitive eating als alternatief daarvoor
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Although the current obsession with health is defined as Orthorexia Nervosa in a medical perspective, I argue that such a diagnosis places too much responsibility on the individual. Steven Bratman, who coined the term orthorexia in 1997, describes various of its ‘hidden causes’, with which he lays a foundation for my cultural-philosophical delve into the sources of this ‘health culture’, as I call it. I relate the broad phenomenon of the health culture to the ongoing processes in the modernity as defined by Giddens (1991) and Rosa (2013). The various aspects of modernity that contribute to this culture appear to be closely related. It starts with the idea that individuals are responsible for their own diet, body and health. For example diets, sports and technology are widely accepted ways of maintaining control over the body. But the belief that we can control our body with our mind, that the body is merely an "object,", has the ugly implication that all who are sick, fat or disabled have themselves to blame. Fat and unhealthy are equated with ‘bad’, thin and healthy with ‘good’. This moralization of health also builds on the medicalization of society, in which more and more social phenomena are measured on the basis of illness and health. Lastly, feminist scholars have related disordered eating to a diet culture that objectifies the (female) body. As an alternative to this pursuit of health and thinness, I introduce the concept of intuitive eating. This way of eating, which departs from a resonant, responsive relationship between body and mind, is based on research that shows that dieting does not work, health does not equate thinness and the development of eating disorders is determined by cultural discourses. By recognizing and rejecting the health culture, no longer labeling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and listening to your body, intuitive eating is a variant of Rosa’s concept of resonance. It indicates that we should exist in a way that is aimed at ‘being’ a body rather than ‘having’ a body, and trust, rather than control it.