Body Confessions: Sharing It All

By Katie, 5:55 am

Have you heard of the (relatively) new website called Body Confessions?

It was created by Diana Spechler under the theory that voicing our struggles, our insecurities, and our shame about our bodies can help relieve it. Especially because in doing so, we learn that no matter what challenge we’re facing, chances are high that someone else has “been there.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Diana about Body Confessions. Here’s what she had to say.

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Tell us about the concept behind Body Confessions.

Body Confessions is a safe space for people to anonymously post their thoughts and feelings about their bodies. The posts aren’t open to comments, but other users can click “Been There” under confessions that resonate with them.

What motivated you to start the site?

I’ve always struggled with my body image. Since I was very young, I worried that I was fat, and worried about what kind of message my body was sending to the world. I worried that I ate too much. I worried that I would never be thin enough. Thin enough for what? Who knows? But I worried and worried and worried. By the time I reached adulthood, I realized that I wasn’t the only one. Everyone I knew seemed to have issues with food and with their bodies.

Because I’m a writer, I wanted to write about this phenomenon. But first, I wanted to study it. So in the summer of 2006, I went to work at a weight-loss camp for ten weeks. I wrote a novel largely based on the experience. Writing frankly and sometimes graphically about the agony of body obsession unburdened me. I’d never really been candid about it before, but while I was writing SKINNY, I often felt as if I were writing in my diary. That’s when a light bulb went on: We needed more honesty! But honesty isn’t easy because it leaves us open to criticism. We needed honesty in a safe space. That’s what fiction writing is to me: I can write honestly about my feelings, but apply them to fictional characters and situations. In a way, the act of writing a novel is anonymous honesty. That’s what Body Confessions is, too.

What’s the concept behind the “Been There” button on the site?

Sometimes the Internet depresses me because it feels like a battle field. Comment sections can get particularly nasty. People hurl some pretty impressive insults at one another under pseudonyms like “SunnyGuy38.” Really, Sunny Guy? Are you that mean in person when you’re attached to your real name and your real face? I doubt it. The anonymity of the Internet can make some people unduly caustic. Because I wanted to keep Body Confessions “safe,” I was adamantly opposed to allowing comments on the site. I did, however, want to foster a supportive environment. I’ve read so many confessions on the site that make me think, “I hear ya!” That’s what the “Been There” button is for: commiseration, validation, and support.

What has the response been so far?

I’m blown away by the response. I’ve had thousands of visitors. Yesterday, I had visitors from 26 countries, which tells me that there’s an absolute need for this site. People really want to vent.

I know the site has received some negative feedback. Some people worry that it’s triggering and that it focuses too much on the negative. What is your reaction to that criticism?

While many users come to Body Confessions to vent about their shame and frustration, others post positive, life-affirming, and even funny confessions. The site is for everyone, and it’s not censored, so people can “confess” whatever they wish. I understand the argument that bemoaning our body flaws keeps us down, but in my opinion, what’s worse is to pretend that everything is fine. If we force ourselves to focus solely on what we like about our bodies, we’re lying to ourselves, which compounds our shame. With that said, anyone who finds the site triggering should by all means avoid it. My intent is to help, not to harm.

What are your long-term goals for Body Confessions?

I hope that more and more people will find out about it, and know that they have a safe place to talk about the things they think they shouldn’t talk about.

Tell us more about your upcoming novel Skinny.

In the aftermath of her Orthodox Jewish father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor Sheena, the self-aggrandizing camp director Lewis, his attractive assistant Bennett, and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.

You can watch the trailer for the novel and/or check it out on Amazon.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank you for having me!

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Thank you, Diana, for sharing your thoughts with us!

Have you heard of the Body Confessions site before? What do you think of the concept?

12 Responses to “Body Confessions: Sharing It All”

  1. Joob says:

    I JUST wrote a review of Skinny this morning!!!!!!

    • Katie says:

      We are totally on the same wavelength this morning! Heading over to check it out now. :)

  2. Kelly says:

    I think it sounds like a website and a book I am going to looking into really soon. I think this is a great idea! I especially like the idea that it is anonymus. That is freeing.

  3. PJ says:

    I did go there once, ready to unload, but ended up just reading a for a while and deciding that it wasn’t really for me. So many people had so much sadness. I really felt for them. And I hope it helped them to get it out. It’s a really interesting concept though, and there were some great and positive confessions – but as is human nature the majority were quite thorny.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It really does show just how much sadness is out there. It makes me all the more motivated to continue blogging!

  4. McKella says:

    I’ve never heard of this site, but I’ll take a look, and the novel too.
    I appreciate e intentions of the site, but I worry that it could turn into a body-bashing fest. There needs to be a line between body confessions and complaining about our bodies.

  5. I do not send people to that website in recovery from an eating disorder. I have heard a LOT of people feel it triggers them, and actually gets them to focus on the negative. There is one thing to vent, and another where a lot of the site is focused on “Been there” with regards to negative thoughts, but offers no hope, that even though we have been there, there is hope. Of course, my opinion comes from an ED advocate standpoint where I have to take into considerations of not only intentions of a website, but consequences and concerns as well. When I read a post about someone saying they wanted to kill themselves, I refused to go on that website again, because if I were the head of a website and I read that, I would want to contact them and find a way to reach out, because suicide idealization or suicide thoughts are serious, and not only “venting.” Just my few thoughts.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Kendra. It gave me chills. I definitely see where you’re coming from, especially since I receive e-mails every now and then from people who are struggling in various ways and really do need help. I can’t imagine having someone share their struggles on my site and not be able to reach out. I will admit that the few times I’ve visited the site I never saw anything like that; indeed, I even saw some body-positive comments. But the fact is that you can’t control who sees what on the site at any given time, you know?

  6. Jenn says:

    I have never heard of it before but am on my way to check it out. It sounds like something awesomes!

  7. Cara says:

    I didn’t dig too far into the site, but I visited and shared a few of my own confessions. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve never heard of the site. Her new book sounds awesome! :)

  9. Sarah says:

    I’ve shared a few of my confessions on the site without really reading some of the other posts. I’m trying to avoid the triggers but just writing a confession made me feel liberated. I felt I had released that negative energy instead of carrying it inside me.

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