I'm back to the journal I kept for my AP Poli Sci class literally half of my life ago. I swear I wrote this 18 years ago. March 7, 1994
Tonight I saw a report on the news which linked crash dieting to breast cancer. Earlier this evening, I read an article in YM (not a very intellectual magazine, I admit, but entertaining!), about a girl who was bulimic. Every model I see is thin, thin, and thinner. Very few women can attain these unrealistic standards of "beauty," but we are constantly attacked with these evil images of what we "should" be.
What scares me about all this is how easily we fall prey to these messages. I've heard many sad stories about 7 year old girls believing themselves to be fat and going on diets. I consider myself to be a strong person, and yet I, too, am caught up in the weight traps society sets for me. I hate feeling fat and disgusting and I've even resorted to starving myself in the past. I once lost 20 pounds in 6 weeks by eating nothing by cereal and carrots. When I gained that back, I began forcing myself to throw up after I'd stuff my face. I remember being at a friend's house last year over Winter Break, eating 3 pieces of thick crust pizza, throwing them up, then eating a piece of French silk pie, and throwing that up too. Luckily, I decided that business was bullshit, and I'd just be fat.
Well, it's not so simple. Every time I see an Ultra-Slimfast or Nestle Sweet Success or Dexatrim commercial, I seriously consider using them. None of them are healthy, but women have done some pretty dangerous stuff in the past in order to fit society's "beauty" standard. Plastic surgery is a whole other story.
Maybe I wouldn't feel so pressured, despite the barrage of ads, if clothes were made to fit me. But the beauty politicians have set their own agenda here, too. Designers seem to believe that only tall and thin girls exist. Either that, or they are determined to makes sure that only tall, thin girls - or at least thin - exist by making clothes only for them. I like to go shopping, but at times it is a personal hell. It's very depressing to try on 8 jillion dresses and not have one fit. In fact, it can make one downright hungry...
I read a section in Backlash by Susan Faludi about the fashion industry. It's unbelievable how many women-haters are the ones who are dressing us. The more I learn about the politics of beauty, the more I understand why self-doubt, anorexia, and bulimia are so rampant through our culture. From wearing corsets that were tied so tight that the woman would faint from the slightest exertions (very bad circulation, mind you) to today's teeny bikinis, women just are thrown from one extreme to the other. Very few people are immune to the quest for perfection and societal acceptance. Not even me.