Has an emancipated women's body become "normal"?

(75 Posts)
MadonnaKebab Thu 14-Mar-13 09:09:35

At a museum today I saw lots of photos of prisoners of war liberated from Japanese camps
The men were shockingly, horribly emancipated
At first glance the (nursing corps) women didn't look too bad
But when I compared scrawny limbs , exposed collarbones etc I realised that they were in fact equally malnourished
It was just that after years of seeing photos of Hollywood stars etc, this undernourished look has almost become acceptable to me (but only on a woman )
I scared myself (as a mother of a DD) that my "acceptable" has become warped like this

"I am anorexic. I know that, and live with it every day. It's not Heat magazine's fault though. I have a bug in my brain that copes with stress by rejecting food. "

Sorry to hear that. It's a hard way to live sad

I agree that it is far more complex than just blaming the media, but the media definitely plays a role. Maybe not in all EDs, and maybe not as the cause, but IME it tends to back up many ED sufferers views of themselves.

And if definitely affects non-ED sufferers views of themselves, as shown by the sales of magazines etc selling diets based on what the celebs are doing.

I remember watching a TV documentary that involved talking to primary school children about body image, and a lot of these very young girls saw themselves as fat, and when shown a variety of photos of different size women they all said they wanted to look like the thinnest one as the others (even the healthy weight ones) were too fat.

ED, when talking about media depictions of body types, is somewhat of a red herring. As ED is about more than just how people look. It's the fact that it is seen as totally normal for all women to diet, to aspire to photoshopped figures that is so damn disturbing.

lissie Oh yes. It does that. I know that I still feel proud of the time I spent starving and ashamed of the time I spent binging, even though both are equally unhealthy. But as our troll friend so happily pointed out, there is a definite view that I should feel that way.

Getting on this thread, interesting point op.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Mar-13 12:00:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lissieloo Thu 14-Mar-13 12:00:11

The age that the ed manifested is also relevant, the younger you are, the less driven you are by aspiration. I was 6. And even now hate the way I look when too thin. It draws too much attention. But its the addiction to the starvation high and knowing that I CAN that drives me.

Teenagers are more likely to not want to be fat.

Does that make sense? On twatphone.

I remember seeing some before and after pictures of a photoshopped model. It wasn't until I saw the after picture that I realised they'd airbrushed her ribcage to make it slimmer. The realisation that I'd accepted the before picture as totally normal without any thought scared the hell out of me.

Makes perfect sense lissie

I was early twenties, so definitely more affected by media.

Mitchy1nge Thu 14-Mar-13 12:10:04

when I was misdiagnosed had a similar problem it had nothing to do with being fat, I was just terrified of everything and couldn't eat

also isn't the 'fear of fatness' thing a fairly recent addition to our concept of anorexia?

Lancelottie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:14:00

Are you sure we recognise emaciation in men and boys?

I'm struggling to get help for my teenage son at the moment. He's stick-thin, with a longstanding habit of rejecting food (partly Aspergers problems with textures, partly a control issue, I think).

All I've had from health professionals is:

'Oh, that's just boys, isn't it, eat for England [no he doesn't] and stay so slim with it.'
'He's fine, he's 25th centile for weight for his age' [but he's 6 ft tall and his bloody BMI is below the 1st centile for his age, you twit]

The fact that he is grey-faced and skull-like with a visible heartbeat through his clothes, never mind his ribs, is something only I can see, apparently.

Lancelottie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:14:51

Mitchy, cross-posts! DS says he can't (not won't) eat when he's stressed, too.

Mitchy1nge Thu 14-Mar-13 12:22:00

oh lancelottie good luck getting help, it is hard enough with girls, my daughter was in a unit where they had only ever had one boy despite, you know statistically, there obviously being more than one boy in the area throughout the history of the unit who was unwell enough to need a bed there

lissieloo Thu 14-Mar-13 12:22:05

Lancelottie, my heart goes out to you and your ds. The support is still not great, which is awful. Do you have a support network? And yep. When I'm struggling I couldn't even eat a slice of toast if my life depended on it. Can't swallow it. My throat closes up and bile rises. Dh and I have been in tears over attempts to eat a bowl of plain pasts. That's why the "just eat"s are so unhelpful.

lissieloo Thu 14-Mar-13 12:23:42

Have you contacted B-eat?

And sorry op, I know we have derailed your thread blush

"also isn't the 'fear of fatness' thing a fairly recent addition to our concept of anorexia?"

I don't know, I remember it being a part of it at least 15 years ago when I first joined an ED/self harm support group.

It's like all mental health disorders really, no universal cause. So some will be affected more by desire to be thin/fear of fat, some will be motivated by fear of food, some will be using it as a form of self harm, some will be motivated by fear of growing up/desire to be pre-pubescent, some will be motivated by the control side of it, and so on and so forth.

Lancelottie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:33:59

Hadn't heard of B-eat, but I've just looked at it and it looks good, thanks!

Lancelottie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:34:39

I think it was the attitude of 'staying so lovely and slim' that really got my goat.

Mitchy1nge Thu 14-Mar-13 12:35:28

when I say recent, I mean in the context of anorexia mirabilis and that whole religious thing which arguably predates the media (not to downplay its role at all)

TeiTetua Thu 14-Mar-13 13:44:24

If women are now emancipated, how come so many of them want to be emaciated? And now "anorexia mirabilis"...

I've spent some time volunteering at a facility that was used by people on long-distance hikes, where they were on the trail for months, with constraints on how much food they could carry. And I have to say, many of the men (the large majority of the hikers) don't look good by society's standards. They tend to be very thin, and an unkempt beard doesn't help, even though they're obviously very fit. I can't help thinking "shipwreck" or even "concentration camp". On the other hand, when women show up, they look great. Even under physically stressful conditions, women evidently keep enough body fat to keep a normal shape. But of course there's some selection involved--the people who can't do it, have to get off the trail.

But one thing the women and the men agree on--the need for food. Seeing a half-starved man put away a large plate of food isn't a surprise, but it's quite a novelty to see a normal-looking young woman pile food onto her plate and eat it with a good appetite, then politely ask if there's any more, but that's the reality of burning 4000+ calories a day.

MadonnaKebab Thu 14-Mar-13 15:15:58

That was my first thought, Tei
That either the POW women's physiology had allowed them to withstand starvation better
Or that their conditions had not been so severe
But when I looked at the physical features that made the male POW photos so confronting, they were all present in the women
It just seemed that it didn't look so awful to my eyes
And I wondered if (like the pics of a young princess Di mentioned above) I had seen these photos 20 years ago I would have found them much more shocking than I did today

znaika teenage girls or even younger are being dressed as adults though in women's magazines. they stick fucking 12year olds in heels on the cover of Vogue and tell us to aspire to it. Grown woman aren't seeing the young models in cosmogirl they're seeing then in magazines written for women.

znaika Fri 15-Mar-13 13:22:07

There aren't 12 year olds on the cover of vogue, this is a total exaggeration look

TeiTetua Fri 15-Mar-13 14:01:17

Au contraire. Look what you can find with a simple Google search on <12 year olds on the cover of vogue>.

open.salon.com/blog/catherine_forsythe/2011/08/05/french_vogue_puts_ten_year_old_child_on_the_cover_as_a_model

Follow the link. The picture jumps right at you.

znaika Fri 15-Mar-13 17:37:36

But she's clearly a child, and that's clearly a one off. Click on my link for a clearer picture, Einstein, and you'll see Kate Moss, Rachel Weisz, Charlize Theron all in their 30s and 40s. Others are model of the moment Cara Delevigne (early 20s/late teens) and actress of the day Jennifer Lawrence (early 20s) hardly contraversial choices.

znaika Fri 15-Mar-13 17:39:17

And the point is, Cara Dela, and Jennifer Lawrence have the entirely appropriate bodies for their ages and there's no point women in middle age trying to emulate that.

PromQueenWithin Fri 15-Mar-13 18:00:06

I watched Pretty Woman again recently (I know!)

What struck me was I remember watching it in my teens and thinking how small Julia Roberts' torso was. Now, she looks to me to be a bit chunky. Not fat, you understand, and still lovely, but chunky. I think you have a point OP.

Whataboutthemenz? I know that teenage boys with eating disorders are on the rise (can't find the report I was going to link to, it's moved. Can look harder if you're interested though). I also wonder whether teenage boys are putting undue strain on their bodies by building muscle. I know one of my friends did this when we were teenagers. Two sides of the same looks obsessed coin perhaps?

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