Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rant


Would someone please give this woman a sandwich?

Jeez. Is this really supposed to be what an attractive woman looks like? Dont get me wrong. She has a beautiful face, but she looks like she needs to be in a hospital!

I'm the first to admit that I don't get high fashion, even if I am addicted to Project Runway, but does anyone else think that dress is nowhere close to fitting? Again, is this attractive? I don't know anymore. I know that clothing is more dramatic for the runway than it is in the stores, but still.

I just find this all so sad. Somewhere a girl is looking at that picture and thinking that's what I need to look like. If I can look like that, my life will be alright. I can handle things if I can just look like that. In the meantime, her skin is drying up, and she's growing extra body hair. Her muscles are cramping. Her memory and ability to focus are getting getting sketchy. Her heart is working harder and harder, and her liver and kidneys are struggling. Her menstrual cycle has probably put itself on pause.

This year, in Madrid, for Spain's fashion week, there were laws mandating that runway models have a minimum body mass index. It's about freaking time.

Every day I get up, see myself in the mirror and part of me thinks, "You're a grotesque freak, and you're not quite good enough because you're fat." Then I dip into the sanity reserves and repeat, "I do weigh too much. I am doing something about it, and my value as a person is not defined by my appearances."

My daughter spent years trying to make herself fit into a tiny, little mold before giving herself the freedom to be the vibrant, dynamic, healthy package of sass, spirit, brains and heart that she is. Still, I know that everyday she looks at herself and worries. Her weight is about four pounds over her safety zone now, the place where she feels thin enough to be attractive but still within health guidelines. She's soundly in the middle of a healthy weight range for her height, but her emotional safety zone is still smaller. The other day she told me she wanted to lose down to a specific number that I knew was below the bottom of her zone. I had to remind her that her eating disorder was speaking again, but she has to listen to that small, nagging voice every day and find the strength to know how full of crap it is. Her body is designed to have a small roundness in the abdomen. Most women's bodies are. She had it even when she weighed 88 pounds, and that tiny curve of tummy eclipsed the visible ribs and vertebrae and convinced her she was fat. Our lives were measured in the scant spoonfuls of food that kept her alive.

When I see pictures like that one, I can't not care. I can't dismiss it as just a kid who's ridiculously overpaid to fit into ridiculously expensive clothing meant for ridiculously spoiled rich brats. This is an image from hell, and our culture celebrates it.

15 Comments:

Blogger kate said...

AMEN. I agree totally. Eating disorders are sooo bad- thanks for writing this

October 11, 2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous postmodernpetah said...

That picture scares me. It's disgusting and I don't find it at all attractive. What designer would hire a model who looks like that? It's waifier than waif.

October 11, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Wow, those pictures are REALLY scary. That's beyond skinny. Almost unbelievable. But I do believe it.

October 12, 2006 12:05 AM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Oh, Oh, I can't help it. The next word verification I have to type in is engoo. I had to claim it. :-)

(have you ever thought about writing a book about eating disorders?)

October 12, 2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Once again, the pictures are little red x's to me.

The funny (or not so funny) part about the current "body image" thing is that you're supposed to be skinny as a rail...but have big boobs and a nice butt--a body style that nature rarely provides. I'm pretty sure I object to planting the idea of cosmetic surgery in the minds of thirteen-year-olds...

October 12, 2006 1:10 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Can't see the pictures but I know whereof you speak. Increasingly I think that celebrities and models look like space aliens, with huge heads bobbing on toothpick bodies.

October 12, 2006 5:17 AM  
Blogger Jod{i} said...

Oh this so angers me!
As a woman who has battled MY perception of weight, vanity and has been placed in a doctors care, due to my lack(non existent) eating habits and then thinking I would fool them all...

this just irks me.
(not you ;) )

I know of what you speak with C., and the safe zone, the downward spiral just that number can release..Having fought those battles myself and continue to do so today.

I know that the picture is gross and 'unreal', yet somewhere there is that little girl, young woman who will look at it, and warp it in her head to be where she wants to be. I know this, as having been that girl.

Okay I will hush, as I could go on and on...

peace

October 12, 2006 6:18 AM  
Blogger Shelina said...

That woman is scary. She is grotesquely starving herself.
I have been watching Indian movies - Hindi - with subtitles, and I am glad to say that the women in those movies are healthily beautiful. And a much more reasonable standard to shoot for.

October 12, 2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

A sandwich? Good gravy, someone needs to take that girl to the Peking Garden all you can eat buffet! And pronto! That heroin chic look...I thought that was no longer in fashion. It's grotesque, in my opinion. And not just because I'm fat. There has to be a happy medium!

October 12, 2006 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want this poor woman modeling, looking as she does. I applaud Spain for taking a step against this insanity.

October 13, 2006 8:21 AM  
Blogger ~Rebecca Anne~ said...

Ha! I found you! Forgive my temporary happy dance, a year later I'm still trying to find everyone (ok and I've been gone for a long time)

That picture is a very sad representation of what beauty is supposed to be perceived as. I worry as my daughters grow older, their bodies become more mature that for one second they could think that is healthy, beautiful and acceptable. It only takes one step in that direction, as you know with your daughter, and we can lose these precious ladies to societies disorder of beauty.

Take care you, your page is marked and saved now and I'll be back!

October 13, 2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger ChasingMoksha said...

From Roberta Said’s “Too ‘Close to the Bone’”:

.....
It is hard to resist the parallel between Victorian attributes toward sex and modern attitudes toward food. In the 19th century, the control fo sexual instincts was the acme of virtue; sexual behavior was the yardstick of goodness. Today, eating habits and body weights have become the yardsticks of virtue, and food rules have become as dour and inhibitory as the sex rules of the 19th century. Perhaps cultures require some kind of instinctual control to feel that they qualify as “civilized.”

Why Women More Than Men?

Given that this belief system pervades our culture, why does it affect women so much more than men? Why do more women than men suffer from eating disorders, obesity, and distorted body image? Why are women, not men, at war with their bodies? There are many reasons, some more obvious than others.
One reason is biological. Standards for males simply are not as extreme or as inimical to normal masculine body builds as are women’s standards. Indeed, our female ideal violates the anthropomorphic reality of the average female body. The ideal female weight, represented by actresses, models and Miss Americas, has progressively decreased to that of the thinnest 5-10% of American women. Consequently, 90-95% of American women feel that they don’t “measure up.” Societies have never been kind to deviants, but in America a statistical deviation has been normalized, leading millions of women to believe that hey are abnormal.
In addition, the taut, lean, muscled body—the “fit” from so many strive to achieve—is more like the body of a male than of a female. The goal is to suppress female secondary sexual characteristics, from dimpled flesh to plumpness in thighs, behinds, hips, and bosom. Women consequently are pitted in a war against their own biologies to meet the standard.
It is not just biology that confounds women. They strive to meet this unreasonable standard because it has become a moral imperative in our society, and because, despite a quarter-century of feminism, the quest for physical beauty remains deeply powerful. On even a practical level, women’s self-image, their social and economic success, and even their survival can still be determined largely by largely on how they act and what they accomplish. Looks simply are of secondary importance for male success.
But the impulse toward beauty runs much deeper than the desire for social acceptance and success. Beauty and fashion are intertwined, and women to meet unreasonable weight standards also because fashion—our system of dress—requires them to do so.

October 13, 2006 2:21 PM  
Blogger Celeste said...

She looks like a holocaust victim not a thing of beauty.

October 14, 2006 8:09 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

When I saw this picture I immediately thought of the pictures of the Holocaust victims. One of my S I L's has battled with anorexia as well. The other is constantly dieting, even now while on chemo. I think this disease needs to addressed in grade schools. Shame on the fashion industry for using people like this.

October 15, 2006 11:29 AM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

That picture is really frightening. She looks like a concentration camp inmate, or someone in Darfur.

My students tell me that there are anorexic men aso - gay ones - at war with their bodies, I guess, for not exactly the same reasons as women are, but for related ones.

October 15, 2006 2:42 PM  

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