“I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive. I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that because even though it’s not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well. So it’s really fucked up. And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be compeltely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look? … I’m just a bit sick of it. I just think that whole culture of hatred, and also feeling like it’s your right to judge people when you don’t know them is really fucked up.”
– This is Alexa Chung talking to Fashionista about the controversy that erupted awhile back when she posted a picture of herself looking quite thin on Instagram. Chung was derided by commenters on the site for being “thinspiration” for women with eating disorders. The whole interview is quite good and I recommend you read the entire thing. She says some very smart things about how naturally thin and skinny women are not immune to body scrutiny and, while it doesn’t compare equally to larger-sized women, it’s still body-policing. As a naturally skinny person, Chung is on the receiving end of insinuations and comments that she must have an eating disorder. Larger women can’t win and skinnier women can’t win, either. Alexa is right: it’s time we stopped judging all women on their appearance. [Fashionista]
“I’m sorry to say that it’s a subject I consider ridiculous for several reasons; the story with the anorexic girls — nobody works with anorexic girls, that’s nothing to do with fashion. People who have that [anorexia] have problems to do with family and things like that. … There are less than 1 per cent of anorexic girls, but there more than 30 percent of girls in France — I don’t know about England — that are much, much overweight. And it is much more dangerous and very bad for the health … So I think today with the junk food in front of the TV it’s something dangerous for the health of the girl.”
Here’s the thing with Karl Lagerfeld‘s denial-is-not-just-a-river-in-Egypt comments on Britain’s Channel 4 News. He’s right that anorexia is a mental illness which cannot be attributed to just one factor. He’s also correct that unhealthy eating is also bad. And he’s even got a point, sort of, about the fashion industry not wanting to work with anorexic “girls.” The fashion industry isn’t necessarily employing “normal-sized” women who are anorexic; they are employing women who are rail-thin with androgynous, boyish frames as well as young teen/tween girls whose bodies are practically prepubescent. There is a reason why there has been a huge controversy with the CFDA regarding designers who employ models under the age of 16. So, in a sense, Lagerfeld does have a valid point that can be teased out of this quote. But his snotty comments about Adele being “fat” and overall dismissiveness/lack of responsibility towards eating disorders in his industry is enraging. Choupette, I’ll always love, but I am officially done with Karl Lagerfeld. [Telegraph UK]
Katie Couric revealed last week that she struggled with bulimia in her early 20s—and sadly, she’s far from the only celebrity to have battled an eating disorder. The Huffington Post rounds up a dozen:
- Jessica Alba: She once said that she had trouble adjusting to “a woman’s body with natural fat in places.” “I freaked out,” she said, and her obsession turned into an eating disorder.
- Katharine McPhee: The American Idol and Smash star revealed that she struggled with bulimia for five years—and that it almost destroyed her vocal chords. Read more…
I have vilified Lady Gaga in the past (to much condemnation, given her rabid fanbase): the contrived, weird-for-attention shtick really wears on me, particularly considering it comes hand-in-hand with what basically amounts to catchy, radio-friendly pop music with a pseudo-controversial religious message here and there. I can live with her message of peace, love, and acceptance, but that isn’t enough to make a fan out of me. Here’s what is: in defense of her recent 25-pound weight gain and the ensuing media scrutiny, Gaga gets naked, or at least stripped to her skivvies, to set the “Body Revolution” in motion. Keep reading »
This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.
A week before my high school graduation, my doctor told me that I had to go to the hospital.
My weight had fallen too low, my EKG results were scary, and my continued refusal to eat was putting my life in danger. While my classmates went to college orientation, I went to nutrition counseling and group therapy. For two years I had faithfully obeyed the voice in my head that told me that if I ate more than the acceptable amount of food (an amount that kept getting smaller and smaller), I would be weak, my body and the world would spin out of control, and something terrible would happen. And yet something terrible was happening anyway.
I was losing every bit of control over my life, and goals I had spent years working towards — a scholarship to an elite college, freedom from my family and small town — were slipping from my grasp. I realized there was something I feared even more than the voice in my head, and I started to fight back. I obeyed the nutritionist even when my mind told me it couldn’t possibly be okay to eat this much food. I started to gain weight. And in the fall I enrolled in college. Keep reading »
This piece was originally published on xoJane.com.
A new study into the hoary underworld of pro-anorexia bloggers has discovered the unexpected: pro-ana communities may not exclusively be the dark pits of self-destruction they are typically assumed to be. The survey, conducted by researchers from Indiana University, suggests rather candidly that pro-ana communities may provide better support than traditional eating disorder treatments, and that said communities even continue to provide assistance to those who have decided to begin recovery. Keep reading »