Friday, December 22, 2006

L'Italia, oscillate!

Italy, you rock!

I was so proud to see this. It's easy to treat fashion as trivial, superficial and silly, but it's serious business in Italy. It's also serious stuff to many, many girls and women. We live in a culture that judges everyone on their appearance but women particularly so. It's neither right nor fair, but it is a real element of our lives. Treating our desire as silly to make ourselves attractive and respectable within our culture is just another way of demeaning women. You're damned as incompetent, rebellious or just plain unacceptable if you fall too far to one side of that ever changing line of beauty standards or immature, frivolous, lacking depth or substance if you're on the other. Finding the mark can drive a woman nuts, or if it goes too far, to the grave.

I know that eating disorders affect men as well as women, but these are for the most part, women's diseases. They also tend to affect women of high achievement. If you've got the guts to strike up conversations in the waiting room of an eating disorder clinic, you'll find an exceptionally high percentage of honor roll and Dean's List students, community, civic and student body leaders, athletes (yes, athletes), cheerleaders and professionals. Issues of perfectionism, discipline and control are as inseparable from eating disorders as blood is from the circulatory system. These are all attributes that contribute to excellence, but when twisted, darkened and perverted by an eating disorder, they can be deadly.

This is one of the reasons why I get so upset by eating disorders, and so excited when I see them taken seriously by governments, businesses and industry regulatory bodies. If we saw the highest achieving young men of a generation destroying themselves through a controllable illness, there would be a huge outcry for change. We must do the same for our young women. Eating disorders have been a detriment to the contributions from women to the world at large. You cannot give energy to art, science, business, religion, education et al when all of your energy is literally going to keeping your body alive. If we do not take the starvation or destruction by obesity of our sisters seriously, we will starve the future of their gifts.

So, Italy does rock for its government and fashion industry taking this illness seriously. I hope Paris, Madrid, and New York follow the footsteps leading from the cradle of western civilization.

eating disorders, Italy, fashion,


Blogger DigitalRich said...

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December 22, 2006 1:33 PM  

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