Do Anorexic Celebrities Really Look That Great ?

by Baba

Last updated on October 18th, 2011 at 12:59 am

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Who wouldn’t want to look like Kate Moss and Bridgette Nielsen? I, for one, would be very likely to give up my left eye and my right one too if there was a remote chance that I would look like Kate Moss! But that’s not going to be likely for my curvaceous 30+ body with baby bearing hips. And don’t get me wrong; I’ve made my peace with that a long time ago. But the prevalent idea is that “ the thinner you look, the prettier you are, and the prettier you are, the better the chances of snagging a rich man and that means the wealthier you will be; and of course, the wealthier you are; the happier you will be!” A sad saga but nonetheless a very true fact in the minds of millions of women!

But not everyone can be as thin as Kate Moss! Think about it: Kate Moss created the trend of being thin just because she naturally was thin and waif-like. Now for her, this was a completely normal phenomenon as she seemed to have an extremely fast metabolism that completely burned away all the food that she ate. But the same stick thin physique is not something everyone can aspire for! Women can be of different ages and weights and cultural backgrounds and they come in different shapes and sizes. And beauty can have thousands of meanings in different cultures but in recent years, I found that no woman is completely happy with the way she looks and weighs! And that can be attributed to a media drive that states again and again that “thin is in and thin is pretty!”

The fact was reinforced when Britany Spears, mother of two, was panned for jiggling her twice pregnant body at the MTV awards! And a look at the performance will show you that apart from poor lip syncing and a pathetic performance, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her body. Is it any wonder that the star had to resort to bulimia to lose that weight and fast! It was curvaceous, toned and beautiful for a mother of two! But no, a media outcry like no other forced the already troubled star to lose weight dramatically which she managed in the span of a month.

But you can’t really blame the celebs for everything. Living under a 24-7 media scrutiny can and will cause anyone to feel that the just might have their underwear showing! And they want to look good; it was and still is their job to look good! And if the media and advertising agencies say that thin is in; then that’s what they’ll do to make sure that they don’t lose their jobs! It was as simple as that! But the scary fact is that thousands of impressionable teenagers now considered thin to be in too. The same message filtered down to nine and ten year olds who want to emulate their idols right down to their clay feet.

Other stars that had to face the same flack are
• Sharon Osbourne who had colon cancer, recovered from that but later went on to state that her bulimia was worse than the colon cancer and more difficult to treat!
• Whitney Houston who shocked fans by literally appearing to be skin and bones when she went on for a live performance after several years.
• Tara Reid who breasts disappeared due to the drastic fat loss that happens in anorexia!

But what are eating disorders and how are they related to celebrities and the media?
For years, researchers have tried to make the world and women realize that eating disorders where women intentionally starve themselves are not something to be taken lightly. But it took the death of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, at the age of 21, with the absolutely horrifyingly low weight of 88 pounds, to finally galvanize the world into action! Eating disorders finally came under the microscope for the large range of problems they were causing! Researchers were able to isolate two major types of eating disorders that affected both men and women. Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa were two psychological diseases that forced women to feel that they were overweight. Although both diseases seemed to run together they had different characteristics as you will find out below.

What does Anorexia do?
Anorexics had an intense fear of gaining weight so they stopped eating completely. Even if they did eat, it was in so tiny amounts that no one noticed. This stoppage of food resulted in a sudden weight loss that was very noticeable. But the affected woman would still perceive her body as overweight. They would obsess over calories and even cut food into tiny pieces to avoid eating. Almost 90% of those affected are female and the disease is seen in women who are in high profile positions like models, ballerinas and gymnasts where weight is an important issue.

The effects felt on the body were intense. Due to the sudden stoppage of nutrition, the body struggles to cope with day to day activities. Necessary activities like beating of the heart, breathing and pulse rates are all slowed down to conserve energy. Bones become brittle, skin turns dry and yellow, and the body starts to use up reserve areas of fat that are found in breasts, buttocks and cheeks. The loss of the fatty layers of the body causes the body to lose heat faster and anorexic women are always cold. In order to compensate, the body then grows fine hair all over called lanugo to trap heat close to the body. This results in affected woman looking flat chested, gaunt cheeked and with downy hair on hands and legs. The lack of proper nutrition also resulted in a loss of potassium that slows down the beating of the heart. Continued loss of nutrition will eventually cause the heart to stop beating resulting in a heart attack which was the cause of death of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston and singer-song writer Karen Carpenter.

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What can Bulimia do?
Bulimia on the other hand has slightly different symptoms and signs. Bulimia starts at a slightly higher age group compared to anorexia and it’s much harder to detect too. Here too women have a false perception of being overweight even when they are normal. They eat normal amounts of food but they tend to forcibly void the food they eat just after eating. Common methods of inducing vomiting are by drinking salt water or by sticking their fingers down their throat. Another sign is that the stomach acid can literally eat through enamel giving bulimics a foul oral odor and destroyed teeth. They also tend to over exercise in an effort to lose weight. Dehydration, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances are a common side effect resulting in heart failure.

What role do the media play in promoting eating disorders?
Until a few years back, eating disorders were actually considered as diets! Bu they are not and the stakes for the advertising agencies and media are huge. In an attempt to lose weight, women are more likely to be insecure about what they wear and how they look. This will make them buy more beauty aids, weight loss aids and contraptions and diet aids. At present, the American diet industry is estimated to be a whopping 40 million to 100 billion dollars big. Exposing women to stick thin ideals of womanly perfection just makes them try anything and everything to lose weight resulting in a billion dollar beauty and weight loss industry! Ads in papers, magazines and even cookery mags have women who are thin and who “happen” to be happy because of it. A recent survey has also shown that women’s magazines can show three times more ads with stick thin figures compared to men’s magazines. TV and movies also reinforce the ideal with a thin body being considered sexy and healthy when the opposite can just as well be true.

Fashion designers too have their hand in the same mess due to their insistence on rail thin models with size zero figures that will show off clothes rather than the women in the clothes! Most runway models were and still are aged between 14 to 19 of age which could extend up to 16 or 17 years of age. The averaged a height of 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11 and weighed 120 to 124 pounds. Most models also were in the range of size 2- 4. Designers created dresses that were size zero to four just so their clothes would look better. And all this was in direct contradiction to the fact that almost all normal women ranged from size 10- 14 and were far shorter in height with shorter necks and shorter legs. Not all the pictured magazines would also show actual women who were size zero in their ads. Quite a few of the printed ads were and still are air brushed, tweaked and graphically changed to appear thin and waif like! When a real model cannot be that thin, advertisers tried to fool viewers with graphic tweaking to get unreal results; which can actually be considered cheating!

The media also went all overboard in promoting stars like Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton who have become famous because of their thin bodies and pretty faces. The main tragedy is that although there are thousands of women who are breaking barriers in medicine, science and politics; only women like pretty-but-dumb Sarah Palin, and Socialite Paris Hilton are well known!

The world of PRO-ANA!
This section literally gave me sleepless nights and I would like to welcome anyone who believes that anorexia is good to take a look here. The internet can be really great but the anonymity that it provides can be scary too. With the rising incidence of eating disorders, another really disturbing trend emerged online. There is now a whole section of the internet that deals with anonymous anorexics helping each other deeper into the disease by covering it up from relatives and family. Cyber galleries of real life stick women, chat rooms with anonymous anorexics where tips on how to fool your parents from discovering that you are an anorexic, how to purge and vomit out food better, and how to cover the smell of vomit after purging; are just a few things that are discussed at PRO ANA websites. Scary pictures of skinny ribs and emancipated arms and legs were enough to put me off any further research at any site but my heart still aches for the stories that the girls have written.


The current zeitgeist of thinness!
But it’s not all bad! There are women who are overweight and curvy but are perfectly health nonetheless. With celebrities being open about the pressure to look good 24-7, the media has finally woken up to the fact that being ultra thin is not really a great idea! Fashion houses and fashion events like the Madrid Fashion Week have begun to ban models who are under a certain weight and who look too thin to be normal. A few magazines have started using plus sized models of campaigns. But there is a long way to go yet!

I sometime wonder what the parents of these teenagers and children must be going through. We work all our lives to make our children comfortable, so that we can give them what they want and when they want it. But when your child has anorexia or bulimia; that very same lovely child is now intentionally starving herself or himself to death and you might not know about or be able to do anything about it till it’s too late!

The fact is that thousands of impressionable teenagers all over the world are now literally dying to be thin and they eventually will die leaving grief stricken parents behind because of that insane media driven ambition to be thin!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

blogReaction June 20, 2010 at 7:54 pm

It’s kind of gross seeing anybody, even a celebrity be THAT thin.. They have money, so go ahead and eat and enjoy life. Nobody wants to see ribs popping out.


Anastasia August 19, 2010 at 5:02 am

I suffered from anorexia nervousa and it really just took three years of my life, my family found treatment for me and I feel it fading but Ana will always be in my head jus not as much though.


Ana December 28, 2010 at 4:04 am

My real name IS Ana (I resent the coincidence with the illness’s pet name) and let me tell you… I was never so admired and respected when I was anorexic as compared to when I wasn’t. ‘You look like a model!’ they would say. And now… .. .. I won’t even go there. I hate being fat and ‘normal’ so much.


Tom Davis December 19, 2011 at 3:40 am

Yes, she is beautiful and thin. Stop calling in shape, slim women ‘anorexic’. They are fit and in shape and very lovely. Not like the FAT ChUBBY slobs that run around today in jeans and flip flops.


DW MacKay January 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hey Baba or should I say baby,

You state: pretty-but-dumb Sarah Palin. You could only wish to have half the IQ of Palin. Pretty dumb on your part.


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