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Old 4th April 2010   #1
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 352
Default Anorexic-celeb pics should carry warnings (article)

The Daily Mail just ran a frightening story written by a mother whose daughter died of anorexia directly caused by the media's promotion of emaciation. It's a damning indictment of the underweight standard, and another call to arms for the media to stop promoting malnourishment, and to begin showcasing natural, plus-size female beauty.

The article begins with the mother taking aim at yet another celebrity magazine talking about skinny actresses:

There they all are in the celebrity magazine Heat this week: a parade of stick-thin stars so emaciated they look as if the slightest pressure would snap them in two.

'The Rise Of The Celebrity Twiglets!' screams the headline, beneath a procession of skeletal young women. The analogy is entirely appropriate.

These women have no more substance than a cocktail snack. Indeed, their limbs are so denuded of flesh that they resemble the knobbly appendages of famine victims.

Perceptively, the writer indicates that although such stories are disguised as criticisms, they are actually triggering to the girls who read them:

Ostensibly, we are urged to be shocked by these images of women who seem to have whittled themselves away.

However, while the celebrity magazine headline says 'This is appalling', I believe an unwritten sub-text shrieks: 'Isn't it amazing that these women are so thin?'

Small wonder that growing numbers of teenagers are falling prey to eating disorders, when role models in magazines exhibit their jutting bones and attenuated limbs

She points out how pathetic the efforts on the part of the media have been, so far, in presenting healthier, fuller female figures. Discussing the few curvy women who have appeared in the public eye, she says:

I fear it is merely tokenism: for every size 12 woman on the catwalk or in the magazines read by millions of young women - and Heaven help us, even this is below the average British dress size - we see a dozen skeletal ones.

So the 'real' women are the exception to a rule, which demands more and more freakish levels of slenderness.

A "dozen"? If only. The ratio is more like a couple thousand walking corpses to even one curvy starlet. And she's so right when she observes that the media disguises the "freakish" as normal, and makes natural, full-figured bodies look marginal by their relative absence.

She states, point blank, that these images of malnourished celebrities are causing eating disorders in young women:

Every time I pick up a magazine, only to be assailed by the emaciated form of another 'twiglet' celebrity, I feel not only profoundly sad, but also overwhelmingly disturbed.

The fact is, these super- skinny celebrities have inordinate influence over our teenage children.

And the toxic nonsense they spout about 'forgetting' to shop for food, or the fact that they've put on weight when they are so palpably emaciated, is frightening.

They are teaching adolescent girls that it is normal to obsess over their size and dissemble about their eating habits. More vitally, they are bound to convince huge numbers of them that it is laudable and desirable to starve oneself.

And she knows whereof she speaks, because her own daughter died of anorexia. This is heartbreaking to read:

In two short, devastating years I watched my healthy, happy girl diminish in front of me until she was reduced to skin and bone.

Shortly before she died of heart failure and internal bleeding, brought on by her eating disorder, she was so frail she could not raise her arm unaided.

Actually, she could not even lift her head from the pillow of her hospital bed. Her vision was impaired and her mind was so addled by lack of nutrition that she could no longer think cogently nor express a coherent thought.

She shivered constantly and no amount of heat could warm her.

Not a glamorous image, is it? Yet I strongly believe that celebrity magazines played a role in precipitating Sophie's death. And they did so because they disseminate - and continue to perpetuate - the hazardous myth that thinness equates to beauty.

Exactly. And this isn't just speculation on the mother's part. She witnessed it first-hand, as a cause-and-effect scenario:

she was an avid reader of the kind of glossy magazines that obsess about body image. She would leaf through a pile of them every month, mulling over photos of dangerously thin women.

And she soaked up their 'advice' about diet and weight loss. She bought into the fiction that slimness equals success.

Would she have coveted the emaciated look of the celebrities we see today?

Undoubtedly she would. Teenagers are like sponges, aren't they? All around them are images of improbably slender bodies. It is a drip, drip effect. And their young brains soak it all up.

Her counsel is that magazines be forced to run warning labels alongside images of emaciated models and celebrities; which would pretty much mean alongside every picture in every fashion magazine. Her proposed wording is very clear and unambiguous:

'Being this thin could lead to death,' it might say. Then it could list the symptoms - shrivelled ovaries, brittle bones, wasted muscles and foul breath - of starving oneself. Not remotely alluring or sexy, are they?

But actually, it should go further. Instead of warning labels, such images should be banned outright.

Why not? They have been proven to ruin the body image of the majority of women. Literally millions of lives could be improved if such images were eliminated. And they have directly contributed to eating disorders in countless thousands of girls, even leading to the death - and a horrible death at that, all the more horrible because it is so senseless - of many of these victims.

Ban them. Ban them all, the way in which equally toxic substances like hard drugs are banned, the way asbestos is banned. All of the fashion/media requirements of selling clothing and makeup and perfume could be perfectly well accommodated by using plus-size models. There is no need for even one more young girl to die such a pointless, and tragic, and horrifying death.
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Old 25th May 2010   #2
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Default Re: Anorexic-celeb pics should carry warnings (article)

A powerful article, and a powerful theme. It's the sort of thing that one wishes the media would cover more often -- a real health story, talking about the actual consequences of being underweight, instead of spouting the latest anti-curve propaganda paid for by the starvation industry.

This might not be a worthy follow-up to such a moving and important piece, but it touches on the same topic. The pop singer Rihanna has just come out with a statement acknowledging that being thin is unhealthy.

The article:

Rihanna: Size 0 is unrealistic


May 24, 2010

Rihanna is urging young girls not to embark on drastic diets in a bid to emulate catwalk models - insisting "size zero" is "not realistic and it's not healthy."

The 22-year-old worried the fashion industry is indoctrinating women with an unhealthy attitude towards body image by only using super-skinny girls on the catwalk.

And the "Umbrella" hitmaker is adamant youngsters should never try to copy their idols because it is not "possible" to maintain such a tiny frame.

She tells Britain's You magazine, "You shouldn't be pressured into trying to be thin by the fashion industry, because they only want models that are like human mannequins...

"You have to remember that it's not practical or possible for an everyday woman to look like that. Being size zero is a career in itself so we shouldn't try and be like them. It's not realistic and it's not healthy."

"Not practical or possible," she says, and she should have added the most important point: "not desirable." It's not just that this is an unhealthy standard, it's also a flat-out ugly standard.

It would be nice if the statement were coming from a curvier celebrity, not one who is underweight herself. But still, better that someone like Rihanna be taking a stance like this than shilling for a starvation-torture company.
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Old 2nd December 2010   #3
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Anorexic-celeb pics should carry warnings (article)

The Daily Mail story that Chad posted is an absolute must-read article, one that is admirably free of mixed messages, and condemns the media's criminal promotion of anorexia in the most unambiguous terms:

1. It makes no concessions that today's skeletal models and actresses are somehow "attractive" (which they are not), but states point black that they look sick, like walking cadavers.

2. It discloses that when the media parades severely malnourished celebrities and tut-tuts about their weight, it has an ulterior motive in doing so: i.e., that the public is secretly meant to covet the gaunt, corpse-like appearance of these "stars."

3. It recognizes that the few purportedly "curvy" models or actresses in the public eye are merely faux-plus at best, and that even these semi-skinny celebrities are paltry in number compared to the deluge of severely underweight media icons.

4. It reaffirms that this non-stop flood of images of emaciated models directly causes anorexia. In this regard, the article's writer speaks from a position of authority, because her own daughter died of anorexia, an illness that was directly triggered by her desire to emulate the starving appearance promoted by the magazines that she read so avidly.

With the latter point in mind, one must observe that while efforts to oppose pro-anorexia Web sites are admirable, such actions constitute mere whistling in wind, because the entire fashion industry is one big pro-anorexia site. Fashion is, without any exaggeration, a pro-anorexia industry. Moreover, the fashion world is even more insidious than any collection of pro-anorexia Web sites, because it has the gloss of mainstream approval.

It is as if an entire industry were devoted to prompting women to drink arsenic, and every magazine cover and runway show promoted women imbibing arsenic. As the case of the writer's daughter shows, the current fashion industry is no less toxic and no less lethal that the rampant promotion of poison would be.

The article's writer insists that at the very least, the fashion industry should be forced to append warning labels to any images that promote anorexia through the use of underweight models. Practically, this would mean that such labels would appear on every single ad or editorial that featured anything other than a plus-size model; i.e., nearly every page of every fashion magazine currently in print.

Such warning labels would be a helpful first step, to be sure, but Chad is absolutely correct in saying that as a solution, it doesn't go far enough:

Originally Posted by Chad
Instead of warning labels, such images should be banned outright. They have been proven to ruin the body image of the majority of women. Literally millions of lives could be improved if such images were eliminated. And they have directly contributed to eating disorders in countless thousands of girls, even leading to the death - and a horrible death at that, all the more horrible because it is so senseless - of many of these victims.

Ban them. Ban them all, the way in which equally toxic substances like hard drugs are banned, the way asbestos is banned.

The banning of underweight imagery would not mean the end of fashion. Quite the contrary--it would result in a far superior fashion industry to the one that exists today, from every conceivable standpoint.

1 .The clothing would look demonstrably better, as it would be showcased on curvy models whose figures would give the garments shape. This would improve the fashions themselves, as they would, of necessity, be tailored to womanly bodies, not androgynous frames. The next crop of designers would grow up in an environment where designing for curves would be standard practice. These designers would "think" in terms of curves, not lines; naturally round bodies, not decrepitly wizened shapes.

2. The models themselves would be far healthier and far more attractive, exhibiting rounder, more feminine facial features and softer, fuller physiques--physiques that they wouldn't need to starve to maintain, but would comfortably inhabit. The rampant drug use that currently pervades the industry would diminish, as most of this abuse derives from models trying to maintain their grotesquely emaciated appearance.

3. The industry would change from being a cultural blight, which is what it is today, to a cultural boon, one that would result in the beautification of society, rather than being a toxic influence.

The following candid photograph of size-16 goddess Kelsey Olson represents what the fashion industry could be, if it stopped being a pusher of anorexia and instead embraced true femininity. With her soft, golden hair, dreamlike expression, and gentle blue eyes, she perfectly embodies the timeless ideal--an ideal that gave the world pure beauty for countless centuries, without any of the deleterious effects of the modern, androgynous standard.

- Click to view larger

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