The Skinny on Self-Image

Everyone who knows me knows I’m no Audrey Hepburn, not by a long stretch. But I think I’m cute enough. Okay, so I’m fat. But I am not so fat that I get winded climbing the stairs to my office. I still have girly curves. And I haven’t had to be cut out of my house and taken to the hospital on a flatbed.

The other alternative? A human clothes hanger. And somehow, that’s OKAY with the media. It’s okay to fill the heads of impressionable and sensitive young girls with the notion that fat is bad and thin is good; the thinner, the better. The fact of the matter is that sex and sexy sells. It sells car, beer, bras, panties, pretzels, just about anything you can put a price on can be sold to someone just by parading a scantily clad model in front of it or draping her over it.

It’s one thing to be healthy; it’s quite another to look like you just got off the train from Dachau. Heroin chic is definitely NOT a look I aspire to, nor should it be anything we teach our young women is “okay.” Anorexia and bulimia have been on the rise for decades now. Long gone are the curvy models of the 40s and 50s. Beginning in the 60s with famous model Twiggy, the notion started that thin is in.

The only industry thriving on this notion is the diet industry. And of course, anorexics and bulemics are keeping hospital emergency rooms (and morgues) plenty busy. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. A study by Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control—including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting. The pressure to be thin is also affecting young girls: the Canadian Women’s Health Network warns that weight control measures are now being taken by girls as young as 5 and 6. American statistics are similar. The “Culture of Thin” pervades at the magazine rack, too, where women’s magazines have at least 10 times more articles and ads about weight loss than men’s magazines do.

And as these photos show, there is nothing attractive about a bag of bones wearing a $1200 Armani sheath. If the camera adds ten pounds, these women are starving. To them I say, go have a donut or something. Men: Would you hit that? Be honest.

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