Shaina Feinberg feels horrible about how she looks. This anguish has consumed an incalculable amount of her life. She classifies her self-loathing as body dysmorphic disorder, a condition in which people fixate on perceived flaws in their appearance, causing significant emotional distress.
It’s an odd admission, she confesses, because she’s a filmmaker who, for two decades, has been making films featuring herself.
In the Opinion video above, Ms. Feinberg makes her condition public and examines it with remarkable honesty and a wry touch.
“Having B.D.D. has really defined my time on this planet, but I don’t like talking about it,” she says in the film. “So when I do, I keep it light. I tell people, ‘Basically, I think I look like Robert De Niro.’”
Ms. Feinberg, of course, is not alone. Some studies estimate that the disorder affects 2 to 3 percent of people in the United States. Among them is Ms. Feinberg’s friend Nafé, who is also featured in the film.
It can be a complicated condition, and in the case of these two women, it involves cultural and ethnic identity, gender, family and the pressure of social expectations.
“But just knowing Nafé and I share this condition,” Ms. Feinberg says, “gave me the confidence to make this film.”
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