Saturday, November 19, 2005


On the subway yesterday morning, I was standing over two young girls, probably fourteen or fifteen years old. They were reading a fashion-type magazine, and although I couldn't see the headline of the article, it appeared to be about body image. There was a series of pictures of really skinny girls and captions pointing out how sickly thin isn't attractive. Just when I'm wondering what magazine it is, pretty impressed that they are taking a stand, one girl says to the other: "That's bullshit. Nobody is ugly when they're too thin, except for that skank Tina, and that's just because she's a filthy whore."


Anyway, while the article failed to change the perception of those two, I'm still curious as to where it was. It must be impossible to counsel young girls on positive body image and healthy eating/exercise options when rail-thin women like Nicole Ritchie and Brittany Murphy and Mischa Barton are on all of the covers of the magazines. So who was on the cover of the one they were reading? Somebody normal-sized? I doubt it. It seems hopeless to try to change any of this - it's so pervasive in the culture. Will it take another Karen Carpenter tragedy to knock some sense into everyone?

I once stumbled across a blog where two teenage girls discussed their constant drive to lose weight. They freaked out if they ate a fat-free yogurt at lunch ("More time at the gym 2night, I'm afraid") and posted pictures of their flat stomachs. It sounds like a parody, but sickeningly it wasn't. You know, I never was thin (except for when I was a toddler) and I've struggled with weight issues my whole life, but that shouldn't mean I am unqualified to know when too thin is too thin. And yet, if overweight me had said something to those two skinny teenagers yesterday? They probably would have laughed, said something like, "What do you know, fatso?" and gone on their way.


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