Recently we’ve been exploring pressures on women and performers for extreme thinness, what I call “The Anorexic Ideal.”
Basically, I’ve had it with doing Skilled Empath Merges and aura readings on celebrities whose chakra databanks scream “Feed me.” For years, I’ve told myself, “When energetic literacy is widespread, social pressure will go the other way. People will be considered ‘attractive’ at a size compatible with comfort and health.”
In December, three women were brought to my attention within one week.
- A friend told me about Kathy Griffin’s comment about starvation being her “diet secret.”
- Then I was sent Marianne Williamson’s photo while promoting her diet book, a research link for the Enlightenment Life List.
- Then Kate Middleton’s engagement portraits came out, showing extreme thinness yet again, and Blog-Buddy Elaine did a fabulous guest post with Skilled Empath Merge.
Nobody was talking about the skinny elephant in the room. So a few blog posts were generated. Now Jordan has written eloquently on this topic.
So take it away, Jordan, one of our Blog-Buddies who can speak for a generation that has grown up with cosmetic surgery as “makeup,” computers as “friends,” and The Anorexic Ideal as an aspiration for ambitious young women. Primrose had discussed the idea, in her Comment #1, that anorexia is like other addictions. And that’s when Jordan began the comments I have transposed here as a Guest Post.
Anorexia, The Addiction that Society Praises
Primrose, I get what you’re saying and agree with you on many points.
But I think mainstream anorexia is a different in that not many people are saying that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s less of an escape and more of a means than other compulsions/addictions.
It can be a bit like overachieving in high school. Pushing yourself to the limits to get ahead. How do you get ahead? What’s valued?
Perfect grades and perfect bodies, supposedly. Many women can “be successful” by making themselves really thin with huge boobs and no wrinkles. At least it’s a way to get SOME attention.
In high school I actually wished I was anorexic… i.e., had that enviable ability to starve myself, to totally ignore the screams of my body. I know I said it aloud a few times and my girlfriends just agreed. They said the same thing to me when they were feeling bad about themselves. It was a normal desire, at least among the girls I hung out with.
But it was never socially desirable to be addicted to porn or alcohol or gambling. Those other addictions and compulsions were, and are, framed in a completely different way from extreme thinness. Worry about another girl who’s “not eating enough” or “might be anorexic” was usually more jealousy than worry. It’s a competition.
How sexy is The Anorexic Ideal?
There’s also the really sad feeling that you are completely unacceptable and a total disappointment to a man if you do not fit the ideal. Like he’s being really nice to actually be with you the way you are.
For how many you see every day in the media, you would think the world is absolutely flooded with beautifully bland bimbos and you are the only sadly human looking one in the world.
It’s having an enormous impact on the impact women have on society.
- The most prominent women are the ones who can starve themselves.
- The rich and famous and admired are that way for being desirable to men.
- And if they’re not, they must have totally neglected that part of their lives in order to achieve anything else.
Pressured by The Anorexic Ideal
Why would little girls rather be like Kim Kardashian than Hilary Clinton? Is it because Kim Kardashian looks like she just has fun all the time, and Hilary’s “all serious”?
(And everyone “knows” that men just want women who are 100% fun, down for anything, and would never give anyone a hard time).
Plus, growing up, that’s scary. “Let’s just stay young forever!”
I don’t mean to say all girls around my age (I’m 22) have felt the pressures as acutely as I did/do, or that my feelings can be generalized…
But, really, most girls my age don’t have enough insight to realize that a string of crash diets and an extreme gym regimen might not be the most holistic solution to their weight obsession.
So, Rose, I’m really glad you’re bringing some awareness to this yuckiness. It’s obviously an issue that has emotional resonance for me!!
And my admiration goes out to anyone trying to raise a healthy teenage these days, as it cannot be easy! And even more admiration to the teenagers, as I am so-so-so glad that’s over!
When human bodies aren’t “good enough”
Primrose offered Comment 4 with a link to a cover from Girlpower Magazine: “Thought you might like this link about retouching. Lots of pressure to be perfect.”
Here’s an awesome article about the insane reply of “Self” magazine editor to criticisms of an airbrushed Kelly Clarkson cover photo. The comments are pretty entertaining too. [Photo here supplied by Rose and Google. This shows the singer in the flesh, all her flesh.]
“Self Editors Explain Covers Aren’t Supposed To Look Realistic”
and my favorite bit on The Daily Show in a long time, from feminist comedian Kristen Schaal.