Wellness is Not Just About White Women

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Photo Credit: Alain Bachellier via Flickr

A friend posted a fantastic blog post in my facebook news feed today, that catapulted me into my pent-up frustrations in the Wellness movement that has gone viral in the past 10 years or so.

In the post, the author discusses what self-care means in a patriarchal world, or in other words, a world that is run by white, middle upper class men; excluding people of color, women, sexual minorities, people with disabilities, and the elderly:

“In the face of our heteronormative, white supremacist, patriarchal society and the institutions situated therein, who gets to care for the self is largely determined by where they sit on the continuum of acceptability by the mainstream society.  How can one illicit care when their body is deemed illegible and unworthy of recognition by the larger society? It is for this reason that I conceive of self-care as not only a necessity for my own well-being, but an opportunity to help make space – as dr. hooks did in the way she framed our sister circle- for the recognition and care of other people in my community.”

The author brings forth the aspect of community, as vital to self-care and mental health, and more specifically, in making community with groups of people who share parts of your identity. This is vital for self-care, because it is only through making connections with others who share in your everyday struggle, that your everyday pain will ease.

Bringing the conversation back to the Wellness movement, I have become both excited and extremely annoyed in observing certain trends. Excited, because more and more people are embracing healthy lifestyles, but annoyed because the majority still dominates every media outlet, every Wellness website, and every yoga class.

Take a look at the mainstream MindBodyGreen website, and you will see fantastic health advice mixed with images of thin, white, heterosexual women. Green smoothie recipes are mainly given by white women, and relationship advice pertains to a heteronormative relationship model, excluding people who do not fall into those categories.

Wellness should be for everyone, not just those who belong to the most privileged groups.

So, when we think of wellness, think of the things that make you feel valued, loved, accepted, heard, understood, and buzzing with positive energy.

My favorites include:

  • Community, as the author mentions
  • Running or yoga in solitude
  • Eating as healthy as money allows
  • Reading travel memoirs
  • Hiking

What do you do to practice self-care?

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2 thoughts on “Wellness is Not Just About White Women

    • This is really wonderful – thank you for sharing. Despite the somewhat racist undertones of the article I agree healthy living needs to be made more accessible to all groups of people, but the *how* is challenging when we take into account the incredible diversity of different groups of people.

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