There is a scene in the film The Devil Wears Prada where Andy (Anne Hathaway), after deciding to ditch being smart and become fashionable to fit in with the magazine’s employee image, asked Nigel (Stanley Tucci) to help her find clothes that would fit her. Nigel told her he wasn’t sure there was anything for her because “2 is the new 4.”
Well, it seems that even a size 2 is considered too fat these days as the “standard for perfection” has gone down to “size zero.” Of course, perfect beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I met a young woman recently with protruding collar bones and shrunken cheeks and she actually thinks she’s pretty foxy… My own mother sacrificed her health just so she could come home from high school and college reunions gleefully announcing that all the women were fat except her. Well, to each her own opinion.
Meanwhile, one report says that at least 1.1 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorder. There are quarters that put part of the blame on “celebrity-driven culture, where people are vilified for gaining weight then stigmatised for losing weight, eating disorders are sensationalised and misunderstood.”
I can’t say I disagree with that. We have mass media that relay the message that “image is everything” so people try to look like those walking zombies called models and celebrities thinking it is their “perfect image” that catapulted them to fame and the reason they are adored by the public.
And I agree with Barbara Herts when she said that eating disorder is a manifestation of emotional stress. More than that, I think that the drive towards achieving “beauty” as dictated by acceptable trends is rooted in insecurity and doubt about one’s self-worth. They seek acceptance, recognition and adulation, and they feel they will not get any of these just by being themselves. And so they strive. And starve. The thing is, starve the body and the brain gets starved too.
But it isn’t just the media that I would point the finger at clothes manufacturers too.
If you’re wondering why you have to wear a “large” today when you used to wear a “medium” 10 years ago and all you gained during the 10-year period is five pounds, it’s because size “medium” has shrunk to “small.” So there is the subconscious message planted in the brain of the consumer that, somehow, there is this need to lose weight in order to remain a “medium.” All in line with the dictates of the fashion industry that thinner is sexier.
Oh, well, I’m a size 14 and I’m beautiful. More than that, I’m happy being me.