Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Worshipping the goddess of anorexia???
Lindsay Lohan looking cute and healthy
Uber-thin Lindsay (right) with Nicole Ritchie
I was appalled and saddened to read an Associated Press "Religion Roundup" story today about the fact that many young girls have literally made a goddess out of anorexia.
According to the story: "Some weight-obsessed girls are worshiping
and praying to Ana to make them skinny.
"Experts say Ana -- short for anorexia -- is a role model to
some, a goddess to others and the subject of drawings, prayers
and even a creed. On weight-loss Web sites, Ana tells followers
what to eat and mocks them when they don't lose weight.
"Many followers wear red Ana bracelets and offer one another
words of 'thinspiration.' At least one Web site encourages
followers to make a vow to Ana and sign it in blood.
"One doctor says she treats some girls who personify their
eating disorder beyond just Ana. To them, bulimia is 'Mia.' And
an eating disorder often becomes 'Ed.'
"Another expert says, 'A lot of times they're lonely and
they don't have a lot of friends. So Ana or Mia become their
friend. Or Ed becomes their boyfriend.'"
This is the first I've heard of this phenomenon, and I find it appalling on several levels.
First of all, it makes me sick that girls are under so much pressure to be thin.
You only have to pick up a celebrity magazine to see girls like Lindsay Lohan (see Lindsay Lohan Too Thin?), who used to be a normal, healthy-looking young woman and who is now little more than a wraith. (Frankly, I thought she was adorable when she was a bubbly, freckle-faced redhead. She's now a stick-thin blonde who some observers say has had her freckles bleached.)
Unfortunately, by starving herself (which she denies she's doing, of course--she totally denies having any sort of eating disorder), Lindsay is simply following the Hollywood credo: You can never be too rich or too thin. Hollywood is completely unrealistic in its body images and expectations. When an actress comes along who has a little meat on her bones, a major deal is made of her excess weight. (Remember Kate Winslet in Titanic? By the way, I love this quote from Kate: "Like it or lump it...I'm not a twig, and I refuse to be one"; or Renee Zellweger supposedly being enormous in the Bridget Jones movies--give me a break!)
Young girls look at the stick-thin role models and think that's what they're supposed to look like.
I've struggled with weight all my life, and even now am trying to get a proper perspective on how to get rid of unwanted pounds.
As a teenager and a young woman in my twenties, I went the starvation route. Well, not quite starvation, but there were days when I had 300 calories or less. The result? I probably ruined my metabolism. I've come to the realization that any weight I lose will be slow and hard-fought. Despite the desire for fast results, a healthy lifestyle with gradual change is the way to go.
But of course, you can't tell that to a teen-age girl, who is bombarded with images of thin women everywhere she looks.
Besides being frustrated by the fact that young women are buying into a warped and unrealistic body image, I'm saddened by the fact that many are so lonely and so needy that they are making imaginary friends out of their eating disorders, or worshipping a "goddess" that doesn't love them and will ultimately destroy them. The voracious goddess of anorexia will take their beauty, their health and ultimately their very lives.
I so want these girls to know that there is a God who loves them, wants the best for them, and accepts them unconditionally. But if I'm being truthful, I'll have to admit that although I'm positive that God loves me just as I am, I can't say the same for people. Realistically, I know that women are judged by how they look. It's just a fact.
You know what? I wish we women could see ourselves as God does, instead of through the warped and distorted lens of today's culture.
To read more on a Christian approach to eating disorders:
The Fight with Food