Meet Matt Wetsel, the Newest WATRD Contributor
Hello, Real Deal readers! My name is Matt Wetsel and I wanted to introduce myself as one of the newest contributors to ‘We Are the Real Deal.’ I’m excited by the premises and guidelines of the Real Deal pledge, and I’m looking forward to adding my own experience and voice to the already excellent body of work that the Real Deal has created.
So, what’s my Deal? I myself suffered from anorexia for roughly two years as an undergraduate in the early 2000’s, and remained “in recovery” for about another five. Back in 2007, a friend who followed a journal I kept about my recovery asked if I was interested in participating in some activism and lobby work. Even though I was hesitant, I somehow said yes, and before I knew it I was writing a speech.
That one speech turned into multiple essays, and I became a regular volunteer lobbyist with the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC). After participating in Lobby Days regularly for a few years, I eventually had the honor to discuss my struggles with anorexia at the Spring 2011 EDC Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill. Currently, I’m also an EDC Junior Board Member.
Most of the time, though, you can find me on my own personal site, …Until Eating Disorders Are No More. The title is inspired by the legislation the EDC has put forth, The Federal Response to the Elimination of Eating Disorders (FREED) Act. The idea is that, through a comprehensive approach of education, preventative work, further research, and increased access to treatment, we can work to make eating disorders less of an epidemic and more of a thing of the past. This may be an ambitious goal, but I believe it is an achievable one.
I’m also interested in gender constructs as they relate to eating disorders and body image, or what I sometimes refer to as ‘body culture.’ As a male-bodied person, my recovery from anorexia was hampered by a recovery and body culture which caters to the statistical majority (IE women) to the extent that males are often an afterthought if they are included at all. I believe that to truly advance the cause of eating disorders, we must be gender-inclusive, lest we leave a segment of the affected population unaccounted for. After all, eating disorders are serious and often life-threatening, regardless of your sex or gender.
I’ll be trying to contribute about a post a month. In the meantime, leave a comment and say hi or just follow me on Twitter.