Nice try, but...

There were three articles I read this week about eating disorders that warranted a Smooshy Faced Cat Award*. Two were hideous, ridiculous, and ignorant, while the other had such irony, I had to laugh.

The first is from fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (I have no idea who this guy is, but considering that people are falling over themselves to agree with him, I'm going to lean towards the idea that he's a fashion world bigwig) says that "anorexia has nothing to do with fashion." Which okay, fine, it really doesn't.

But that doesn't absolve you from basically forcing your models to starve themselves in order to work for you. People have been arrested for starving their employees. "How horrible!" we say. Yet that's what the modeling industry does. He justifies this by saying, "In France there are a large percentage of young girls who are overweight and less than one percent are skinny. So let's talk about the 25 percent who have a weight problem, or are overweight. We don't need to discuss the less than one percent."

First off, it's more than one percent, especially when you consider that anorexia isn't the only eating disorder. And we DO need to discuss that less than one percent, that one percent, that five percent because we're important and we matter. Dammit.

Next is the fun interview with British TV celeb Felicity Kendal. Ms. Kendal, who was best known for her in the TV show "The Good Life," calls the campaign against size zero models "a waste of time." She says that, "it was inevitable that some women would "stick their fingers down their throats" to be ultra-slim. She said politicians campaigning on the issue would do better to concentrate on more important matters."

Considering that some of our politicians have been involved in prostitution rings, I can say that they haven't been doing much concentrating at all.

She goes on to remind me, yet again, why feminism remains a crucial issue today:

"This desire to be thin has been going on for centuries," she said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph. "Get real. That is what women do. Why did women wear corsets and keep fainting? We do it because we think it looks great. That is what we are like.

"To pretend it's because of magazines is forgetting history. People used to bleach their hair or their faces because that was the image they believed was modern."The modern image now is to stick your fingers down your throat. I don't think politicians should get involved in the debate on size zero in fashion. They should get the hospitals and education right and just leave all that other rubbish to the mothers of the children."

And, thank the Lord, you will never be the mother of any of MY children.

Many things in life are inevitable, Ms. Kendal, such as death, taxes, and spam. Yet we spend a considerable amount of time trying to avoid these things and no one says not to get involved. So get a grip. There's also the crucial difference between bleaching your hair and forcing yourself to vomit, and the fact that eating disorders are not about wanting to be thin. They are an illness.

She does have some good advice for women considering plastic surgery, however.
But Miss Kendal, who is about to star as a vain and age-conscious socialite in Peter Hall's West End revival of Noel Coward's The Vortex, also admits that she, too, is worried about ageing. "I love being where I am now," she said. "But it's where I will be 20 years from now that is worrying me."
However, she would never consider plastic surgery: "If you are going to, you should have had it done in your thirties. If you wait until you are older nothing matches."
I will keep that in mind.

Lastly, we have some advice from Valerie Bertinelli, Jenny Craig spokeswoman extraordinaire. She's been all over the press this past week or two, promoting her new book called "Losing It." Some articles that have come out have been rather interesting. One said that she admits to using cocaine to lose weight.

And then- then! She blames Gisele Bundchen for the epidemic of anorexia and supermodels. She says:

"When there were several of those models dying from anorexia and I read that Gisele Bundchen said something about it's not being the designers' fault but the parents' fault, I was like, 'Well now, wait a minute, Miss Skinny Girl. (I said), Designers do have something to do with this because they hire women like you'," Contactmusic quoted Bertinelli as telling Ladies Home Journal magazine.
So basically, Ms. Bertinelli, you should be taking Jenny Craig to task for hiring someone with an eating disorder history to sell a diet product. Fine, maybe you weren't emaciated, but using cocaine to lose weight is an eating disorder.

To Mr. Lagerfeld, Ms. Kendal, and Ms. Bertinelli, without further ado, I present you this:

*A smooshy faced cat who is old, forgetting to use the litter box, and has fur coming out in chunks. For the one person on this planet who truly understands this comment.

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Gena said...

Karl Lagerfeld = Chanel. Big Wig indeed. Love the blog by the way. Your honesty and insight is refreshing.

Laura Collins said...

Kendal should, indeed, leave that rubbish to the mothers.

And the fathers, and the siblings, and the therapists, and the doctors, and nutritionists and other people who know what they are seeing and talking about.

Erin said...

I came across your blog a bit by accident...I'm researching cat litter for work (I know, I have a strange job)and this post popped up. I was really intrigued by it as I suffer from an eating disorder. I've read a bunch of your posts and really like your blog! I will definitely be coming back as a regular reader :) And woo-hoo on that bill that was passed!!

KC Elaine said...

I love your analysis. and the kitty face. That comment about the one percent who DO MATTER DAMMIT was infuriating

Anonymous said...

when I was a nursing student and had to do a psych/substance abuse rotation. I met some of those girls. Oftentimes their eating disorders were ways for them to gain or feel in control when everything around them was falling apart. A lot of it was difficult family issues. For some girls, it was simply mental. I would tell my instructor I did not understand why they're called "eating disorders. Some of the girls look emeciated, but they will stand in front of the mirror and tell you they look like "fat pigs". You could not argue with them because that's their reality. That's what they saw. If you're seeing something that is not there in reality, you have a mental disorder. Not eating is the symptons of that disorder. You're not eating because you see a huge body when everyone sees a very skinny body.

Models are blamed because they're easy targets. 99% are girls with no power in the industry. Blaming models/fashion is to oversimplify a complex problem.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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