The June issue of Allure has the usual headlines about what beauty products to buy and how to get good hair and better skin. Also thrown into the sexy, sun-kissed mix is this tidbit of information about their cover girl: “Zoe Saldana: 115 Pounds Of Grit And Heartache.” Hey, she’s slight but this gal’s got might!
Do the editors of a beauty magazine think of a celebrity’s weight as just some random fun fact to share with their readers? No, of course they don’t. It’s aspirational. Even if the number itself is completely out of the realm of healthy possibility for most women, it reinforces a longing — that dream of ultimate thinness. It’s defining. An entire interview with Saldana and how do they describe the stand out qualities they learned about her for their cover? In pounds. But what is most insidious about that headline is that it immediately forces comparison. For many women, that comparison is likely to stoke insecurity. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a giant waste of time and energy: Do you weigh less or more? But wait, are you big-boned or small-boned? You might weigh this much, but actually you wear this size in pants or that size in tops. You felt best about yourself when you were this weight. You’re proud of your weight and fuck anyone who says you shouldn’t be! Keep reading »
Is there a penalty for a woman who breaks through the glass ceiling and, then, from her position of power, admits that she struggled with mental illness in her past?
Yesterday New York City’s Speaker of the City Council and the Democratic candidate for mayor Christine Quinn revealed in the New York Times that she had suffered from bulimia and alcoholism for a good portion of her life. Quinn explained how her mom suffered through breast cancer throughout Quinn’s childhood and after her mom died, binge eating and purging gave her a brief feeling of relief. It was also in college that Quinn binge drank to the point of developing alcoholism. She checked into a rehab center at age 26 and got control of her eating disorder and her problematic drinking; it wasn’t until three years ago that Quinn, who is also the first mayoral candidate to be openly gay, went entirely dry.
Christine Quinn’s admission echoed another powerful woman’s recent decision to go public about a private struggle: “Morning Joe” cohost Mika Brzezinski revealed in MORE magazine that she has suffered from exercise bulimia for many years, meaning that she binges on food and then over-exercises to burn off the calories.
Brzezinski and Quinn aren’t the only two well-known women to admit to mental illness: Carrie Fisher and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both been public about their struggles with bipolar disorder, Lena Dunham talks about her OCD, and plenty of other celebs have been open about their mental health struggles, too. But I suppose that Christine Quinn and Mika Brzezinski fascinate me in particular because they both work in fairly male-dominated fields — the mainstream media and politics — that aren’t known for being warm and fuzzy. Keep reading »
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski has opened up about an eating disorder she has struggled with throughout her life: exercise bulimia — a compulsion to binge eat food and then overexercise to burn off the calories.
People with exercise bulimia will exercise several times a day, multiple days a week even when they’re sick or injured. They’ll blow off other responsibilities to exercise and get panicky or depressed when they can’t work out. Not surprisingly, they’re very focused on their appearance and self-critical, particularly in regards to how much food they have eaten and think they need to burn off. (Unlike with regular bulimia, they don’t make themselves vomit.) As explained by ULifeline.org:
People with exercise bulimia are obsessed with exercise and often binge. Bingeing is when someone eats large quantities of food in a short amount of time. … Exercise bulimia has dangerous complications, including depression, injury, weak bones, reproductive problems and even cardiac arrest. Keep reading »
Living one’s values are difficult for any human. Living one’s values when those values are idealistic, compassionate, and come from a deep and open heart can be extremely difficult. Life throws “life” at you and you seek to respond in the way that would make you feel proud of yourself.
That doesn’t always work.
This morning, an editor from Feministing.com Chloe Angyal published an essay confessing that she’s been starving herself. You can read the whole essay here. The tl;dr is that Chloe (I’m calling her Chloe because I’ve known her socially for years and it feels weird to refer to her in the formal “Angyal”) became interested in eating disorders awareness after she became artistic director of her all-girls dance company in college. She made a mandate within the company to stop with negative body-talk and then became involved in a campus eating disorders awareness and prevention group. (Through that group, she met the lovely Courtney E. Martin, who brought her to Feministing.) She’s been reading, blogging and editing Feministing for several years.
And for the past two years, she’s also been starving herself. Keep reading »
I don’t think it’s a secret that former teen star Amanda Bynes, 26, is having some issues lately. Starting in the summer of 2012, Bynes — who starred in the movies “What A Girl Wants” and “Hairspray,” and the TV show “What I Like About You” — had a string of vehicular incidents including a DUI arrest and two hit-and-run charges, leading to a suspended license. In September 2012, the actress locked herself inside a dressing room in LA for two hours and then a cupcake shop bathroom in NYC for a half hour. She’s created and deleted countless Twitter and Tumblr accounts, announced her early retirement from acting, and denied having mental health issues. For some reason, Us Weekly decided that Bynes was a good choice for their regular “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” feature, but I really think it should have been cut down to 24 things, as one tidbit on Bynes’ list strikes me as disturbing. Here is #15 on Bynes’ list:
15. I moved to New York City and I love it! I lost 4 lbs. since I moved. I’m 121 lbs — my goal is 100 lbs.
Keep reading »
Kelly Wearstler is a design goddess. Her interiors include hip hotels from around the world and homes of the rich and famous. In recent years, Wearstler has expanded into designing home goods, accessories, jewelry and clothes. I’d deck out my entire lifestyle a la Kelly if only I could afford a $175 scarf.
Bon Appetit did a recent Q&A with Wearstler — one of those fluffy reading, back page sorts of Q&As — and any fan of Kelly Wearstler would read with interest …
… and then get slightly concerned that she survives mostly off flavored water and juice. Keep reading »
I thought I was a picky eater, with all my no mayo, no onions, dressing on the side stipulations, but this woman, recently featured on “Good Morning America,” makes me look like a dream to cook for.
Maria Lopez is a 54-year-old woman who eats like a toddler. She will only eat three foods: dairy products, white bread and potatoes. And sometimes bacon. I mean, who can resist bacon? (Vegetarians and vegans excluded.) She eats no fruits or veggies. She’d just as soon eat produce as she would eat your shoe. Her words, not mine. Keep reading »
“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]
Usually in advertising we see Photoshop used in ways that are objectionable for the statement they make about women’s body size and skin color: airbrushing is used to slim down thighs, arms and tummies or to lighten skin. But in a photo of Karlie Kloss for Numéro magazine, we see another side of airbrushing — one that gets rid of the model’s deeply protruding ribs. The original image (left) is so jarring that to see the airbrushed image (right) is a literal shock.
Keep reading »
Katie Couric seems to have it all, but during her early 20s she battled with an eating disorder, she says on today’s edition of her daytime show, in a confession picked up by the New York Post. “I wrestled with bulimia all through college and for two years after that,” Couric says while talking to Demi Lovato, who has also struggled with eating disorders. “And I know this rigidity, this feeling that if you eat one thing that’s wrong, you’re full of self-loathing and then you punish yourself—whether it’s one cookie or a stick of gum that isn’t sugarless—that I would sometimes beat myself up for that.” Read more…