Weighing in on the Fashion Industry and Eating Disorders

Let’s just call it like it is shall we? There is a “dark side” to the fashion biz I’m sure, just as I know there are Darth Vader’s in the dance world. (I used to dance in regional shows and now both my girls dance competitively.)

For decades people within the fashion industry have been telling women and teenagers that they are too fat or that they need to lose weight. I guess they have a right to prefer skeletal models but I have a right to reject that standard and prefer to buy magazines and clothing that uses models that look “fit and healthy.”

While it is possible that some of these size zero models are naturally so, it appears that some are quite possibly maintaining this ridiculous ideal via starvation, purging, and/or drug use. My heart goes out to these girls and women who feel compelled to maintain this size at the cost of their health, happiness, and for some, ultimately it costs them their life.

I personally feel the fashion industry needs to shift and shift quickly towards more realistic and healthful standards. It simply isn’t good for our girls growing up in this “music video” culture. I for one, find it refreshing to see models that have natural curves. I look forward to seeing what Oprah, Queen Latifa, Jennifer Hudson, and other beautiful (normally sized women) are wearing at the Oscars. I could care less about the other skinny celebrities, frankly, because I simply can’t relate, nor would I want to relate. I have chosen “health” and happiness and I have chosen to not be obsessed with food and body size.

In response to various articles and blogs discussing the rampant eating disorders and underweight standards in the fashion industry and the recent deaths of models due to anorexia, I’ve read people blaming all sorts of things (including parents) for eating disorders. Admittedly I am not an expert in this very complicated and vital subject but here’s what I know and believe about the cause of eatind disorders.

* Although no one variable has been found to “cause” an eating disorder, research has found that certain personality characteristics, genetic disposition (thought to contribute to almost half the risk), environment and biochemistry all play significant roles in the development of eating disorders.

* Some experts in the field say that while genetics and biochemistry may load the gun (so to speak), the environment pulls the trigger. Certainly it would help if our culture wasn’t putting unrealistic and somewhat skeletal models/celebrities on a perpetual pedestal. Changing this, my friends, will take a lot.

* An eating disorder is considered to be a mental illness. It’s a door that once it is opened, it can take someone years of treatment and therapy to completely close. Some women never fully recover and spend the rest of their lives with some degree of disorder.

* Some people develop an eating disorder in spite of being part of a happy, loving family that has not emphasized thinness or food obsession.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is for people who develop eating disorders to get help as soon as possible. This takes buckets of honesty and courage folks (not to mention buckets of money). But it is these people that have the best chance of fully recovering. It is important that everyone be aware of the signs of eating disorders so that people who develop this illness can be helped as soon as possible. All my love and best wishes goes out to them and their families.

With more than half of American teenage girls and nearly a third of boys using unhealthy behaviors to control their weight, according to the experts at the National Eating Disorder Association, they offer 10 tips to catch the warning signs of anorexia and bulimia:

#1 Dramatic loss of weight
#2 Preoccupation with calorie-counting
#3 Frequent use of a weight scale
#4 Obsession with exercise
#5 Binge eating and/or purging
#6 Food “rituals” like taking tiny bites, ignoring certain food groups, rearranging food on the plate.
#7 Eating alone, or avoiding meals altogether
#8 Use of laxatives/diuretics
#9 Smoking aimed at suppressing appetite
#10 Frequent criticism of self as “fat” which increases despite weight loss.

Here’s to a future free of eating disorders and weight or body size obsession!

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    twistsis Says:

    Thank you for this post. I just found it when searching wordpress for eating disorder blogs.
    Dont worry I am not what is known as “pro ana” however I am anorexic. I have been now for a very long time. That is why I have a blog on WP, my blog shows the world what feelings come with eating disorders and mental illnesses. I am so honest on there too which shows as I swear alot when I get heated up when life goes crap!
    I wanted to check out what other ED blogs were on here to find out if and how many pro ana blogs are on here. I am not looking to join one, I simply want to find out how much of this world is dominated by people with eating disorders and people who want them.

    Thank you again for your post, I think there need to be more people who think this way.

    Check out my blog if you wish, my name should take you there.

    TS


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