“Amy Smith believes that anything is possible — her motto is ‘once bitten, twice determined’.”
So says the updated bio for Jenny Craig CEO, Amy Smith, in the speakers’ details section for the AGSA Conference. All reference to Jenny Craig has been deleted.
Amy, and AGSA conference organisers, I’ve a message for you: People who experience an eating disorder have to believe that anything is possible, especially recovery. Once you manage to survive, or help your loved one to survive, (sadly, this is not always possible), you become (many times more than) twice determined to do all you can to raise awareness so that others know the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and seek help quickly. You are driven by a desire that others will not suffer as much as you did, because you felt so alone, lost, misunderstood and hopeless – in a society that has a long way to go in accepting eating disorders are a very serious illness. You also become determined to do all you can to eliminate and minimise triggers in the social environment. This includes the weight cycling industry. It does not cause eating disorders but it can make the recovery process a million times harder to accomplish.
Does Jenny Craig know this? Does Jenny Craig care?
We are told:
“Amy will present on the economic standing of women in the world. She believes that inequality in girls begins in early childhood through stereotyping and that the economic status of women in the world and their representation in leadership and governance is a consequence of this. Amy will challenge educators and leaders in education to make a difference and work to change this image of women in the world.”
This sounds promising – it could be the intro to a keynote speech on eating disorders – but: While the name of Amy Smith’s employer has been deleted from the bio section of the AGSA conference program, the conference program continues to state: Amy Smith from Jenny Craig talking about “images of a girl”.
“Images of a girl” sounds too much like weight-recycling talk to me. “Essence of a girl” sounds much better. Free girls to maximise their potential by ensuring their intrinsic essence is not sabotaged by an eating disorder, or doubts that they don’t project the right ‘body image’, and our world will be in a much healthier economic and social state.
More than 90 per cent of eating disorders start in childhood. Amy, you would make a great spokesperson for the thousands of young girls who are experiencing debilitating eating disorder symptoms right now and are vulnerable to environmental influences which may trigger the symptoms into a full blown illness. Can you speak for them?
More work to do …
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