What's Barbie got to do with it?

As much as my inner feminist hates to admit it, I had a Barbie doll when I was younger. I had several of them, in fact. And I even had the Ferrari. And a token Ken doll.

The point of this post isn't to wax nostalgic about toys gone by. It has to do with a recent blog in the Huffington Post about using a life-size Barbie to help raise awareness about eating disorders and body image issues.

Forgive me, but I'm not exactly sure I see the connection between a mental illness and Barbie. We don't connect Baby Cries A Lot and major depression. Or Furbies and animal hoarding. It's a plastic toy. And let's remember that eating disorders and even body image issues existed long before Barbie hit the scene in the 1950's.

I get that Barbie is probably not the best role model for pretty much anything other than reinforcing gender stereotypes.  I get that she is an exaggeration of what some people feel is the "ideal body type."  That being said, so was the Venus of Willendorf, and my body doesn't look a thing like either Venus OR Barbie.  Most women don't.

Our culture has some seriously warped ideas about beauty, especially feminine beauty.  Most of us buy into them, in one form or another.  Most of us don't have eating disorders.


I find blaming Barbie and the like (models, etc) for eating disorders pedantic and not just a little offensive.  I wasn't unable to eat and at death's door because I was over-idealizing a plastic doll with blonde hair.  I was unable to eat because my brain was broken and it needed to be fixed.  The suggestion that I nearly died because I was somehow society's dupe strikes me as a little bizarre.

I'm not saying that cultural body image stuff is irrelevant or totally unrelated.  It isn't.  It forms a backdrop against which eating disorders form and emerge.  Many in the fashion industry have frank eating disorders themselves, so there's definitely some overlap.  But it's not a cause, and I kind of resent it being made to look that way.

A college girl who learns that Barbie has an unrealistic body will be more informed and hopefully a better consumer of media and its messages.  The problem is that knowing these things--that models are Photoshopped, that eating disorders are dangerous, that Barbie is a total fake (the bitch!)--don't prevent eating disorders.  EDs aren't decisions.  They aren't under conscious control--if they were, they wouldn't be an actual mental illness.  I knew plenty about anorexia and Barbie dolls before I got sick, and here's the kicker: I still got sick.

I think stuff like this--however well-intentioned and well-executed it might be--almost trivializes eating disorders.  It makes me feel like a supercilious brat, when that's not the case at all.  Lots of things influenced my eating disorder, and I'm happy to take a good, hard look at any of them.  But, please, leave Barbie out of this one.

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34 comments:

hm said...

Oh, I don't know, Carrie- I know some little girls who have Bratz dolls, and now they all wish they had slanty eyes, puffy lips, and HUGE ass heads. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Kat said...

thank you!

No one makes the claim that GI Joes contribute to male eating disorder (males wanting to become bulked up, etc) --- or that baby dolls lead to teen pregnancies... Why? Because these are dolls. Part of make believe.

What really upsets me is that they are also twisting facts to prove their point.

I wrote a paper on this for a Women and Gender studies course I was taking --- The Great Barbie Debacle -- about how there's this great myth out there about Barbie without facts backing it up. If this were true then eating disorders would have seen a tremendous spike roughly 10 years after Barbie was introduced and then leveling off (maybe with a still slight increase) after that.

I think people want something to blame. One item - instead of realizing that it's not that simple - that there are multiple contributing factors - which I am not even sure Barbie qualifies for...

I honestly don't remember thinking anything about Barbie's shape as a child.


http://recoveringinspirings.blogspot.com

Breteni said...

I totally agree... I have found barbie to be quite offensive and saying that she would be size 4 does not make her sound anorexic.. size four is where I look healthiest. I think so anyways..

Kat said...

@Breteni --- Part of the problem is that so many people are not bothering to actually take the measurements themselves and are going with this concept that has been floating about for ages. The actual measurements of a Barbie doll tell a different story...

Lucy Sparrow said...

I totally agree that there isn't a direct link between Barbie and eating disorders - it's a health condition!!! However I do think that Barbie can have the potential to make young girls feel bad about themselves. I used to have barbies and enjoyed playing with them. I don't think at that age I was mature enough to want to be like Barbie but I certainly knew that there was a clear distinction between how I looked and how she looked. I love the idea of plastic dolls built using measurements of average woman, to help girls grow up with a more realistic view of beauty.

hm said...

On a serious note, blaming Barbie for eds IS trivializing. And eds don't exactly need help being trivialized.

Society is just now finally waking up and coming to some understanding of the serious biological and psychological aspects of eds. Blaming Barbie seems a societal step backwards...

However, since this article was written by a kid, and the life sized Barbie was made by her as a teenager (a teenager recovered from anorexia, at that), I'd say this is forgivable. I'd be pissed if it was written by a hotshot writer in a bigwig magazine. But a teen? She probably just stopped playing with Barbies a few short years ago, and is using this model to work out her own self-esteem issues. I can handle that.

I did find the statistics at the bottom of the article interesting- especially the Slumber Party Barbie part, which said: "Slumber Party Barbie was introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at 110 lbs with a book entitled 'How to Lose Weight' with directions inside stating simply 'Don't eat.'"

Barbies are supposed to just be dolls, just be fantasy- obviously, this crossed a line. But it was a reflection of society in general- a society just fresh off of wearing corsets and moving into girdles, cinchers, etc. Obviously, the societal norm was for the stylish woman to by unrealistically skinny. These ideals may or may not have contributed to eds, but certainly they contributed to damaged organs and bones from scrunching them via constricting clothing items.

Barbie dolls have always been reflections of the times. Her make up, hairstyle, clothing, and even career choices reflect where women are at in each decade. Mattel is just a toy company, trying to sell by making a product that society will want to embrace, at any given time. To say that they are at fault for SHAPING society is giving them WAY too much power- they're not shaping society, just reflecting it. That's how they stay marketable.

It is the doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and scientists that we need to be worrying about- not the toy companies. We need to watch carefully to see what THEY think of eds, to make certain they are researching and finding evidence based treatments for eds.

Toys and toy companies don't cause mental disorders. Brains do. We need more research on THAT!

Brooke C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke C. said...

Ok, so I had a lot of Barbie Dolls. I was a chubby child, ridiculed by classmates and had no close friends. Playing with my Barbie’s and giving them haircuts, actually distracted me from a pretty joyless childhood.

My eating disorders began to develop long after the dolls had been thrown away. Never once have I thought of them, Jasmine or Ariel as a cause or factor in what had become of my way life.

The Barbie Dolls were actually a distraction, a coping mechanism. I didn't have to think about the mean kids at school or my verbally abusive father.
Ironically after the dolls were gone I found a new coping mechanism, my Ed. I never wanted to be Barbie, she was a toy - fantasy.

That said, I do worry about toys, movies and television shows marketed to youth. Eating disorders are becoming more prevalent in children around the world. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.


PS, Carrie you have truly served as an inspiration for me. I found your blog shortly after I returned home from a treatment facility. Thank you for everything.

Corey said...

I've been feeling more and more that ED's are a choice. In the beginning of recovery, I denied having responsibilty for my ED.

But I feel it is wrong to completely write off the illness as...I don't exactly get where you place the blame Carrie.
You often say that EDs are began on a backdrop of losing weight, yet they aren't about girls wanting to be skinnier.

I'm confused. Yes, I 100% agree that EDs are mental illnesses and biology and gentics play a role, but didn't we have to make the choice in the first place to stop eating, or start bingeing or start purging?

EDs get worse with time, but it's not like we say, oh my, when did I stop eating? It's more like: Oh it began when I wanted to lose 10 pounds, then I lost 10 lbs and I saw that it was something I could control and I decided to keep on my "diet". Sooo, EDs ARE influenced by images we see in the media, and the "perfect" body that we want to obtain.

Images like Barbie never influenced me, but girls in magazines did. And girls I saw around campus did. And girls I saw in the media who I said were gorgeous.

I believe EDs ARE choices, and they ARE influenced largely by a desire for beauty/acceptence=thiness

hm said...

Corey,

Perhaps some people DO choose to begin experimenting with ed behaviors by purposely starving or "trying out" purging. And it's not my (or anyone else's) place to judge how or why you started yours. Only you can come to grips with that.

But do be careful making blanket statements about all ed's and all ed sufferers. Many, many ed sufferers get started because of anxiety or emotional distress, and not at all weight. I started starving for stress relief around 6 or 7 years old- obviously with no intentions towards physical appearance at that point in my life! Just found that starving made me feel kind of buzzy and happy and alleviated my anxiety.

As for those who start out "just wanting to lose 10 pounds"- that, in itself, is not a bad goal. I know plenty of people who have lost 10 pounds, been proud of it, gotten healthier because of it, and never had one ed thought in conjunction with it. Heck- I know people who've dropped 40 pounds and gotten healthier! Those people who are not predisposed to an ed simply will not get one if they are in a normal weight range. What is different about the person who drops the same amount of weight but gets taken over by an ed? Genetics! The difference is in their genetic makeup.

Anyone can develop ed thoughts and behaviors when starving and significantly underweight, as proven by starvation studies. But there are those who will have those thoughts and struggle with those behaviors regardless- and starving, purging, or being underweight will definitely EXACERBATE those symptoms, but they would have had them anyway.

So like I said, be careful not to make such blanket statements as "eds are a choice."

That being said, I do agree that RECOVERY from an ed is a choice. Going to therapy, going to see an RD- those are choices. Keeping a food log. Cooperating with a meal plan. Those are choices.

But the anxieties, compulsions, and thoughts that drive us back to the ed bahaviors- not always a choice. The lies our heads tell us about food, weight, life, and ourselves- not at all a choice. Whether or not to carry this ed voice around in our heads or not for the rest of our lives- wish it was a choice, but for many of us, it's just not.

If you are not one of those people, then you are blessed. But if you are, then you know that having an ed is not a choice, it is a curse of genetics. You might fight with it for the rest of your life without ever losing it completely. And "being thin" is only a fraction of what compels you- for some people, it's not even a factor at all.

Anonymous said...

Cultural norms DO trigger and perpetuate EDs for many people. Obviously not all- Carrie, I get that Barbie didn't cause your ED, but that image certainly contributed to mine (still does). I would never be so presumptuous as to say I know, as a blanket rule, what factors cause ED in all people, but I do know Barbie et. al. cause or contribute to EDs in ENOUGH people that, as a community, we should not ridicule or minimize this issue. (this explains why, though EDs existed when different norms were accepted, they are *more* prevalent in this particular culture). I am familiar with the response that people triggered by the "thin ideal" have disordered eating, not EDs, but frankly, that's bullshit. I had AN, diagnosed, treated, real.

Cathy (UK) said...

I love, love, love this post :) I agree 100% with everything you write here.

As you know, I get mega frustrated by the over-emphasis on 'body image' and culture with regard to attempting to explain the development of EDs. I'm not suggesting that EDs have nothing to do with 'body image', but I do think it's 'normal human behaviour' to have concerns about our physical appearance (i.e. how we appear to ourselves and to others). I cannot help but feel that the 'body image' construct and its link to popular culture has over-medicalised normal human concerns, especially with regard to EDs. And I also feel that the study of 'body image' is 21st Century pop psychology.

As you say, stuff like this trivialises EDs. Thank you :)

And, for the record, I never had a Barbie doll when I was a kid. I actually had no interest in dolls. I was a 'tomboy' through and through and my favourite toy was a train set. And neither did that fact that trains are long and slim cause my ED.

Katie said...

Corey - not everyone with an eating disorder has any form of body dysmorphia or believes that being thin is attractive. I didn't on either count. Eating disorders can FEEL like choices, yes, but it's more like a choice you would make if you had a gun to your head. Like, you can restrict and appease the thoughts/voice in your head, or you can rebel, try to recover, and have to deal with the crippling anxiety caused by the eating disorder when you "disobey" it. I first learnt that not eating made me feel better when I was a kid, and I realised that it made my anxiety over being bullied go away. Other people can't explain how they first stopped eating or started purging, it's like it just occurred to them, like self harming did to me later, when I'd not heard of anyone doing such a thing before. They are illnesses, not choices. I know it's a tricky concept because it took me years to understand, but eventually I realised that although I could control my recovery (by not engaging in behaviours), whenever I restricted I was immediately under the powerful influence of the way that restriction changes my brain function.

Carrie - I had Sindys, but they were just as bad but just as blameless :P

marcella said...

Cathy, my daughter has identified the love of trains as a common trait in people who she knows with autistic spectrum disorders - do you think the trains cause it?

Anonymous said...

Corey,
You didn't choose to have an ed! It's not a choice that anyone can make. If I wanted to have an ed, I couldn't lose weight and get sick-it doesn't work that way for me. It only works that way if you are biologically vulnerable. That's not a choice.

However, you can accept that you are biologically vulnerable and make the choice to take care of yourself.

Think of it this way, people with diabetes don't choose to have that disease. But to stay healthy, they do need to choose to eat properly, take medicine and live a lifestyle that keeps them healthy.

From a mom of a girl with AN who is learning to eat properly, go to therapy and live a lifestyle that keeps her healthy.

Cathy (UK) said...

Marcella,

Oh yes, absolutely. It is well documented (not) that a love of trains causes ASD in kids :D

No, seriously, kids with ASD most likely love trains because they're predictable. And trains come in different shapes and sizes, and displaying different numbers, so it's possible to build a collection of them and create a list of numbers. My late father was a train spotter; bless him.

Cathy (UK) said...

In terms of the issue of whether EDs are a 'choice':

Apart from all the responses above, which I agree with, here is the evidence that for me, anorexia nervosa (AN) was NOT a choice.

1. I couldn't stop myself restricting and over-exercising in a very rigid manner; the behaviours were compulsive.

2. If I tried to stop myself, or someone tried to stop me (from restricting and over-exercising) I had such a panic response that I would rather have been dead.

Many people choose to go an a diet, but they don't have huge panic if they deviate slightly from their dieting behaviours. They can choose to stop. But when you have an ED it feels near impossible to stop.

HikerRD said...

@Kat
Actually some do make that claim. The Adonis Complex is a fascinating book on male over-focus on fitness and muscle building that does a wonderful job tracking the changes in both action figures and Ken, as I recall. Worth checking out.

@Corey Kudos for a great response!

Just as it may seem to minimize eds to attribute them to anything less than biology, it minimizes one's potential for recovery to avoid the multifaceted development of this condition. And dare I say, if you are struggling with recovery, that's an easier place to go. Ouch!

A biological component, absolutely. But if it were solely biological, there'd be no room for resolving it and recovering without a biological fix. Meds may assist--they don't cure edz. And yes, people so recover, without altering their biology. Go figure!

And CBT and DBT, therapies you yourself endorse, Carrie,go beyond biology and truly help the recovery process.

Anonymous said...

Corey,
Thank you! My experience sounds very similar to yours. I have anxiety and I am a neurotic perfectionist. I started a diet that was entirely motivated by my desire to fit into social standards for physical perfection. Then biology and genetics took over and my diet became an ED. Yes, I was biologically predisposed to ED thoughts and behaviors, but they never would have taken over my life if I hadn't made the choice to start dieting in the first place - a choice that was culturally motivated.

@hm - I get that your ED had different beginnings, but this article was not written by a "kid." It was written by a college student trying to make an impact on her campus. I think efforts like hers are so so important, because colleges are breeding grounds for EDs. Barbie herself may not be the problem, but the society she reflects most definitely is, and on a campus where body dissatisfaction and dieting are norms and topics of casual conversation, EDs emerge and progress unnoticed. Saying this is an article written by a kid just trying to work out her own self-esteem issues trivializes her experience and the factors contributing to it, as well as her efforts at increasing awareness.

Corey said...

I apologize for blanketing the issue of how EDs begin. I realized I was way too specific as I wrote my comment. I don't mean to say that everyone develops an ED for the same reason.

Like the above comment from HikerRD, biology is a HUGE component of ED, but also are the choices that we make.

How can people claim that recovery is a choice (which IT IS) but the actual ED itself is not? I'm sorry, but having diabetes and having an ED are not the same thing. Even a 6 year old who purposely starves themself to deal with anxiety is still making a decision to do those things.

As in: This makes me feel better, so I will keep repeating this behavior. <- that is a decision and a behavior, the child is seeing the reward of less pain by choosing to not eat.


Again, I'm sorry to make general statements like I did, there is not a one reason that all people have EDs. Mine began as wanting to lose weight, and once I got to that weight, I saw the control it gave me and wanted to not "get fat". I never was "fat" in the 1st place, but the voice in my head told me different. EDs are partly choice, I strongly believe that.

Katie said...

Corey - I think it really depends on how you define choice. For example, I am an atheist. I don't believe that people have souls, I believe we are purely biological entities. Therefore, every thought and emotion we have is a product of biology - chemicals and electricity. So all of our choices are caused by the interaction between our biology and our environment. In a sense, I don't really believe in choice at all, more something along the lines of decisions being made by influences in one direction being slightly stronger than influences in another. The biological effects of malnutrition on the brain are so strong that they sway all decisions in favour of the ED. So to my mind, it is logical to say that eating disorders are biological, and that the biology of EDs causes people to act in ways that they would not otherwise act, regardless of whether the original trigger for weightloss was a diet, stress, anxiety, trauma or physical illness.

hm said...

Anon- I totally hear you that my words sounded trivializing towards this student and her efforts on her campus. I apologize for that. Every persons's recovery journey is sacred and singular and I respect that. My intention was to assuage the angst of those feeling like this article meant that all of society plus the scientific community are blaming eds entirely on Barbie- and to point out that, rather, it is one student, coming at ed awareness from her very own perspective. I believe the point of this article was to highlight one student's experience and efforts to increase awareness on her campus- it was not the intent of the article to give a society wide/scientific community wide viewpoint on the overall cause of eds. I hope that makes more sense, and is less offensive. Her experience is valid, as are her awareness efforts- I applaud them.

Corey- This statement: "Even a 6 year old who purposely starves themself to deal with anxiety is still making a decision to do those things." I must respectfully, but wholeheartedly, disagree. When I say that I figured out that starving helped to relieve my anxiety, I am speaking as an ADULT- I am looking back and coming to an understanding of how and why things happened the way that they did. As a child, no such thoughts floated through my head. Never once did I have the grown up "choice" before me of starving or not to relieve anxiety. It was instinctual- no will or choice involved. I experienced no more sense of "choice" than a child feels over whether or not to laugh when they are tickled or cry when they are hurt. Starving was an automatic, biological and psychological response to stress factors. Not a choice- but rather an instinct- an impulse- a drive to survive mentally in a world that was too big and overwhelming.

Renee said...

I continue to differ from you in that I do feel the media/ beauty industry/ Barbies / culture of thinness contrbuted to my ED. While I don't think Barbie was the "cause", I do think that if the dolls I played with, the models I saw in magazines and the actresses I saw on TV looked more like me - with thighs that touched and rounded belies - I would not have loathed my body so much as a child, teen, and adult, and I would not have decided to eventualy "do something about it" which, of course, became anorexia. Anorexia brought the incredible, euphoric realization that I could completely reshape my body to conform to the images being fed to me. I starved myself to look a certain way, a way that I saw woudd gain me more respect, admiration, lust, attention, clothing options, etc. And, sadly, it did.

scottrecovered said...

having had an eating disorder, I totally understand this. But I think it is hard for people who see those suffering from eating disorders not to jump to conclusions, as it seems like such a simple connection. But of course, ED's are about SO much more than that, as we all know...

Missy said...

AGAIN, woman you leave me speechless and just wishing you could spread your message to the world.
NOT VISUAL...VISCERAL!
Body image issues, wanting to be thin...the "pressure of beauty." It's there.
It has its place, yes but has nothing to do with the disease and illness.
Nothing.
They should come up with a new "mental illness" to describe the type of diet/body obsession that this leads to...

Anonymous said...

I'm the arlier anon, and again, I want to say how angry attitudes like Missy's make me. I won't tell you what caused your ED, please give me the Sam courtesy of not telling me what didn't cause mine ---- or worse, of saying the disease I still struggle with isn't a real ED because it was motivated by a desire for thinness shaped by cultural standards. I'm sorry, but it is absolute bullshit to say someone who purges every day, or restricts down to a ridiculously low weight, does not have an ED because their motivation concretely links to wanting a certain body shape. ED behaviors practiced at a diagnostically significant extreme *are* EDs no matter what their cause or motivation.

And Carrie~ as a science writer, you disappoint me on this one. Pretty sure you know, or should know, that defending your pet hypothesis with an ipso facto determination that anyone whose experience disproves it has a "different" disease (albeit one with the exact same diagnostic features) is sophistry. The ATDT folks do not own the experience of an ED, and regardless of whether that crowd likes it, "motivation by something other than cultural norms" is not a diagnostic criteria for an ED diagnosis.

http://www.becomfortablewithme.com said...

As a fully recovered anorexic, I beleive in complete honesty with oneself. It is so easy to focus on the external reasons why one chooses to cope in unhealthy and distorted ways, to deal with their feelings and the world around them. Question: Does an alcoholic blame Budweiser for creating a beer as their reason they turned to alcohol to cope? Probably not if they were to completely look inward.
Yes, embarrassingly enough I played with Barbies growing up, did I go out and bleach my hair, get breast implants, remove a few ribs to get a tiny waist, or change my walk to an " always on my tipsy toes" style? No. And if I had, was Barbie to blame? Heck no!a plastic figurine does NOT have that much power over me.(thankful for that)! In fact, there was a time Barbie served me well. She served as my hair model on days I felt inspired to test out my hair cutting abilities. And man, did she rock some cool hair styles after her long hair was creatively chopped off (well at least some of the time).
In conclusion,Barbie is not to blame for my past eating disorder. I will not Barbie accountable, only myself.

Megan said...

Loved reading this post and the comments other readers have left. The Barbie initiative at first seemed like a useful, relevant way to educate about ridiculous body ideals, but your take on it now makes me see it a bit differently. You wrote, "I wasn't unable to eat and at death's door because I was over-idealizing a plastic doll with blonde hair." Powerful, very true point. Thanks for this post.

Miss Keira said...

Each time I read about the Barbie - Body Image/Eating Disorder debate I find myself chuckling to myself. I grew up with Barbie dolls: I used to eat them. My sister never got hand-me-down dolls because mine had no hands or feet.

The only real comparison I ever remember making between Barbie and me was that I had no idea how she went to the toilet. I had a heap of male friends growing up who would "peek" up Barbie's dress.

My ED didn't have anything to do with society's perception of "thinness" it was a way of shrinking and numbing. I fixated on numbers but they had no visual representation in regards to my body.

Breteni said...

The funny part about people saying that an eating disorder is a choice is that most people do NOT wake up and decide today is the day I am going to not eat anymore. I used to weigh 307lbs, I lost 185lbs and because I have ALWAYS felt fat, once I became thin I could not see it or feel thin. My constant attempts to lose weight absorbed my whole life and so when it came time to stop I could not see that I was thin nor can I currently. I did not wake up and start choosing to have a problem. The rest of the world recognized it long before I started seeking treatment and it had absolutely nothing to do with barbie or choices.

asiamorela said...

Well said!

I tried to reply something to the same effect to someone who used "learn to love yourself" arguments against depression. While I'm totally for loving oneself, I claim that depression, like ED, *are* disorders, and cannot be cured merely by rational thought and perspective. (That would also imply that people suffering from ED's are very gullible, weak, and stupid... As if they cannot tell the difference between a real body and a doll's body. Duh!)

An ED is not the consequence of hating one's body. Hating one's body is but a symptom... The actual root of the disease is, sadly, much deeper and more complex than media brainwashing. :(

Anonymous said...

asiamorela - I disagree with you that hating one's body is but a symptom of an eating disorder. For me, it actually was a cause. I am a perfectionist, which you could argue was the true cause, but I would never have thought to hate my body because it wasn't perfect were it not for the media. I now believe my body is perfect because it does exactly what I expect of it but there was a long time when I didn't realize that. I thought my body was imperfect because of what the media told me and I don't consider myself gullible, weak or stupid because of it. I see myself as a victim of the barrage of images and ideas that are unavoidable in our society, Barbie being one. That's not to say I like to play the victim game - I take full responsibility for the choices I made that led me to an eating disorder. But I never would have made those choices were it not for a combination of my perfectionism and the media portrayal of what a "perfect" body should look like. I know that there are many people who suffered from eating disorders that were unrelated to body image, but I certainly feel that there are enough people who are initially motivated to start diets and to purge because of body dissatisfaction, which I cannot help but see as brought on by our societies standards.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to disagree with you on this one, Carrie. I know you're not big on psychological theories, and prefer to stick to the biological, but here's mine.

As a child, I played with barbie like most of my friends. I had no idea what an adult woman's body looked like. It was my first real look at breasts, and first opportunity to dress someone/thing. From a child mindset, and actually, my mother was taller and thin. She had breasts that looked like barbie.

When I started going through puberty, I didn't look like the women I had seen. I wasn't tall and didn't have breasts. Frankly, it was more than disappointing. I had had such hopes. No long thin legs for me. To me, I was socialized to think everyone looked like that.

If you really think about media saturation, a child doesn't get many opportunities to see a variety of shapes and sizes. If they don't turn out like the images they've seen, environment has just pulled the trigger on biology.

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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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