Healthism: a newly emerging concept whereby those who consistently engage in health-promoting behaviours are viewed as superior to those who do not. Why is this a problem?
Before I continue, it is important to note that yes, if possible everyone should be moving their body as often as possible, nourishing it with nutrient dense foods, and engaging in a plethora of self-care practices.
However, engaging in these behaviours is often presented as a choice that everyone has the same access to if they “have the right mindset” or “work hard enough.” Sorry, but meritocracy is a lie, everyone’s starting lines are different.
One of the biggest problems with healthism is that it lacks any awareness of intersectionality. People of a lower socioeconomic status do not have the privilege to “choose their hard” or spend hundreds of dollars each month on a gym membership.
Not everyone has the same access to education and resources. Not everyone has a car or lives close to a gym. Not everyone can afford to buy organic groceries from expensive stores each week. Saying they are not prioritizing effectively is, in my opinion, tone deaf and ignorant.
We all need to take off our privilege-lensed glasses and realize that sometimes fast food or Kraft dinner is all that person can afford to feed their family for a week. And thanks to us middle-to-upper class folks they now get to feel like an inferior human being.
If we made society more equitable to all, maybe we would see more people engaging in health-promoting behaviours. But let’s continue thinking that those who can’t afford certain types of food and expensive gym memberships each month just “don’t have their priorities right.”