Did that shock you? I mean, I’m not a skinny girl, for those who know me, yes, I am indeed quite plump, and a little bit wibbly – BUT, the title is from a piece of journalism I read by Angela Carter about anorexia. ‘The true cause is a deliberate wish to be slim’ says Palazzoli. As Carter mentions, there is considerable pressure on girls to be ‘slim’, and as the article was written in 1974, it doesn’t seem that much has changed in the past 37 years – in fact the problem has most likely gotten worse.
The western culture seem to view a larger woman as something to be frowned upon, even medically; if you have a cough these days, it’s because you’re over weight, if you are depressed, it’s because you’re overweight, you pass out, it’s because you are fat; fat is emphatically not beautiful.
Carter describes her experience with anorexia as ‘the last resort of the impotent, and the protracted attempted suicide by narcissism’ so why is this ‘attempted suicide’ more beautiful than a fairly healthy overweight woman? I just don’t understand – women endanger their lives in a bid to be thin by compulsive fasting, yet it’s these women who we look up to, it’s these women we use as (th)inspiration to become half the women we are today (literally! I’m not here to discriminate against body types, I am fully aware that you get naturally thin types, with fast metabolisms, but you also get naturally fat types (I would say that’s me – but in all honesty I am just lazy) so why is it that naturally thin people are praised, when all they could be doing is eating junk food and doing nothing, and a larger woman is made to feel ugly, even though she could be going to the gym obsessively and trying desperately to lose the weight?
It doesn’t seem fair to me that such stigma is attached ‘put down the fork, fatty’ etc… They might not be eating, and by saying this to a person, belittling their own beauty in their own right, is just making the situation worse. The worst enemy of the fat-conspiracy is other women – they are the most harmful thing to another woman; a person is subject to critical looks, and you’ll find most women will say ‘Oh she’s put on weight/lost weight’ in fact, I am very recently guilty of this – our conversations centre around weight, and what another woman looks like.
People come in all shapes and sizes, so why is it that others feel the need to make it so everyone is the same ‘desirable’ shape? People are all different, people find different things attractive, so what is the point in belittling one body shape by telling them they’re unhealthy, when the extremes that women go through to be thin is just as bad, if not more damaging? Anorexia nervosa is not the end of the world, and can have some splendid side-effects… If you get through it’ Carter says, and people don’t get through it sometimes, people die from their desire to resemble that of a walking corpse (in extreme cases). Such importance shouldn’t be put on the aesthetic qualities of a person, but the character, the creativity, and the person themselves should be why a person is beautiful. Oh to live in an ideal world.