Friday, 19 April 2013


What is it about thin that has captured society's imagination?
Why is our culture so weight obsessed?
It wasn't always this way
Back at the turn of the 20th Century things were very different
Women who were considered to be beautiful were more likely to be curvy
We can see from the art of that time that women were voluptuous
And also at that time it was fashionable to be pale
If you had tanned skin then that meant you worked outside and hence you were a peasant
This trend continued through out the century
In the 1950's Marylin Monroe was considered to be one of the most attractive women in the world
She was a size 14-16
To this day her style is still copied and emulated

Twiggy was at her peak in the 1960's but her skinny frame was the exception rather than the norm

It wasn't until the 1990's that things changed
The arrival of the 'supermodel' and the 'heroin chic' trend turned fashion on it's head
Now Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangilista, Cyndi Crawford and Christy Turlington ruled the runway
And of course it was Kate Moss who uttered that overused phrase 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'

Gone were the soft curves of models
And in it's place were sharp edges and pointy bones
The androgynous look was in
Actresses took their cues from the models and became slimmer and slimmer
Society's interest in celebrities increased and gave birth to a plethora celebrity magazines
The diet industry exploded
Everyone and their mother was on some sort of diet
The Atkins Diet
The cabbage soup diet
The list is endless
Each promising that elusive dream, thin
Society became obsessed with thin
And the media took full advantage if this
The size 0 phenomenom  was the holy grail of skinny
The media fed us the idea the skinny equalled success
Become skinny and you will be popular
Become skinny and you will get the man of your dreams
Become skinny and you will get that dream job
And we as a society bought in to that
We believed every word

But of course this is mass manipulation on the media's behalf
They want us to believe in skinny so we will buy their product
Their clothes
Their make up
Their skin cream
Their diet supplement
Magazines name and shame 'fat' celebrities
We see extreme close ups of flab
Of celebrities eating cheese burgers
We disect their bodies limb by limb
We make up the perfect body in our minds
I'll have her boobs
Her legs
Her arms
Her ass
Plastic surgery has become the norm
I think one of the saddest cases of recent times is Heidi Montag from The Hills
When The Hills first aired we were introduced to Heidi
A fresh faced, blue eyed, blonde haired beauty
An all American girl
She was beautiful without a scrap of make up
But as the years went by Heidi morphed in to something bizzare
She had an awful lot of plastic surgery and now looks like a deformed barbie doll
This makes me sad more than anything
Sad that she couldn't recognise her own natural beauty
And sad that a plastic surgeon was willing to do that to her

Then there are the celebrities who have made a career out of their weight
Case in point: Kirstie Alley
Kirstie was the brunette bombshell from Cheers in the 80's
Over the last 10 years she has lost and gained the same 100 pounds over and over again
And the media were there to capture it all

Also Clare Richards from the 1990's group Steps
While in the band Clare was always very slim
But after the band broke up and she settle in to family life, her weight ballooned
She took part in various magazine spreads telling the story of her battle with food
She also made a 3 part documentary called Clare Richards, slave to food

Isn't it ironic that even though we have never been more obsessed with weight that we as a society have never been so fat
Obesity is now an epidemic
And the media are cashing in on it too
Just look at all the weight related tv shows
The Biggest Loser
Supersize V Superskinny
Downsize me
And they make for compulsive viewing
Yes, we are obsessed with weight
Myself included
For the first couple of years my ED had little to do with weight
I didn't weight myself and had no idea how much I weighed
It wasn't until doctors started weighing me that I took notice of the numbers
The number seemed to be important to them so they became important to me
I don't buy in to the idea that skinny equals success and happiness
I used to but not anymore
I have been every weight from 77lbs to 130 lbs and was equally miserable at all of them
I was probably happiest when I was somewhere in the middle
I don't think thin is necessarily attractive
I think confidence is attractive
Being comfortable in your own skin is attractive
Quirkiness is attractive
Thin just means that you take up less space
It couldn't possibly make up happy
And the pursuit of thin will more often than not make you miserable
The media's idea of thin is an illusion
It's a lie
A big fat lie


  1. Great post, Ruby - thoughtful and poignant.

    It is so crazy how the idea of what is attractive can change so much over time. I remember seeing a documentary once, and it was about women in Jamaica, who were celebrated for their curves. Traditionally, thinness meant sickness to them, and they wanted to look healthy and attractive. Great, I thought. There are still women out there who aren't consumed by the Society of Thin. The same documentary then went on to say that these women were putting their health at risk by taking some form of supplement to whiten their skin, because they thought paler was better.

    And one thing that drives me nuts: magazines that congratulate one celebrity for being comfortable with her body, and then blast another for having gained weight. Talk about mixed messages.

    Hope you are well, Lovely.


    1. In order to gain weight the women in Jamaica are also taking a supplement called "chicken pills" -- a substance used by farmers to "fatten" chickens in record time and save costs on feedstock, which is very expensive and affects their profits

  2. It's amazing how different cultures view weight and shape in such different ways
    I know on some remote islands there are no such thing as eating disorders

    Yes, the magazines drive me crazy too
    You're damned of you do lose weight and you're damned if you don't

    I am well thank you Cheryl x

  3. This is such an amazing post, and really well written.

    I'd never really thought about how companies want us to 'buy into' the idea of being thin so we will buy their products. But it is so true. With the exception of dove (who obviously do it as a marketing campaign) all beauty products are modeled on waif thin girls. With that message of - buy this product and you'll look like this model.

    Such bull shit!

  4. I've noticed that there are constant food commercials here in America as well as they try really hard to place things just so. Example: two of my friends like that Pretty Little Liars show on ABC. There's some stupid plot but it's played out by pretty/beautiful girls. Want to know what the commercial was directly after a scene? Victoria's Secret. Genius. This station plays series' that the "whole family" cab watch of course. When I was in Greece and we had their TV on I never saw sexy commercials like that. I'm sure there were some somewhere but even their ads were pretty modest. Plenty of food ones but I rarely saw ads like we have in American. It disturbs me. Money. Greed. Power. All you need to do is prey on a weakness. That's it.

    For me, I find more toned and muscled girls beautiful. the "fitspo" girls I supposes. I like them for their drive and strength. If you've ever lifted weights you find that it takes discipline and strength of mind and body. You have to discipline your intake not for restriction, but because you want a clean, strong body that tests limits every day.

    The first round with my ED was very media based. I could barely look at even real girls because it burned. I felt so ugly and fat. I'm 5 foot 8. My frame is long but not supposed to be 112, 111 and lower. I became ugly in my sickness. Now I'm a young woman and I find balance, more than anything, is key. It's hard though, and I want desperately to look the part of beautiful successful college graduate. I'm really just the quirky fireball that would rather fix things than have a lot of confrontation and would rather travel and who's only true passion is to help people. Weight has nothing to do with any of that. I don't know... it's so hard to not let it define you. For me, emotion is scary and a hindrance but hindering all the feelings that aren't "happy" is just as bad.

    Good post. I wish things were different with our world, but it starts inside.

  5. I can honestly say that the media has no part in my ED. I've never paid a whole lot of attention to the weight of celebrities, even now. Image has nothing to do with it for me. Before my ED, I was totally comfortable with my body and my curves, and I was never even close to overweight. It's funny how the social ideal changes over time though.
    I've never really watched a lot of weight loss shows. Maybe the first season of The Biggest Loser, and two episodes of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, but that's about it.
    You're right though; thin will never bring happiness. Being healthy and happy and comfortable in your body will, but that's near-impossible with an ED.

    Take care dearest Ruby xx

  6. For me.. My ED was the thing that I used to protect me.. I don't know if it makes sense.. It started early.. I was around 10.. Gaining weight was my solution to keep my stepdad away.. How little did I know.. *sigh* ... I didn't know of the term ED or saw anything of it in the media since back then we were living in Iran..

    I do agree that it does play a part in many young girls self image and I hope that if I am ever to have a daughter I can keep her out of this life..

  7. Society reveres whatever bodily aesthetic that is the most difficult to obtain and maintain. Where food is scarce and the poor starve to death, fat is seen as beautiful and a status marker. Where food is abundant and it takes time and effort to eat and exercise for good health, thinness is highly prized.

    Poor Monroe. She yo-yoed and hated her body for her entire life. I wonder what she would think of her current image?

    Fuck I can't wait for scientists to make a robot that walks bipedally with confidence. Then we can have ACTUAL walking clothes-hangers on runways instead of humans! Fuck, that's all those poor girls are anyway. Ambulate clotheshorses.

    The media's job is to make money. To sell products and gaurantee advertising exposure to the greatest possible number of eyes. The ONLY way you can sell beauty products is to tell people that without their product you are ugly, worthless, unattractive, flawed.

    It makes me fucking SICK.

    You may like these from Tumblr:

    Also yeah I have a lot of 'Fitspo' in my archive. It's just as detrimental to good body-image as thinspo in the long run, but I like seeing fit people pushing themselves to the limits of endurance in a life-affirming way. Also anatomy reference for pictures blah blah blah shut up have some hot Spaniards and the best tent on earth

    Love you tons Ruby *huggles*

  8. I completely agree. I wanted to be all like, "Preach sistah!"

    The fashion industry, the media, society- they've all become obsessed with this thing called thin. What caused this change? Before, curvier, pale women were the ideal, but now, it's "the thinner and tanner, the better." With my current body type, I would have fit in much better 50 years ago than I do now! Heidi was so beautiful before- now, after all the surgeries, she doesn't even look like the same person.

    I'm not sure where you live (new follower here ^^) but in the States, the country as a whole spends millions (if not billions) of dollars each year on gym memberships, diet foods, diet pills, workout videos, and what many will hope to be a quick fix. But the country as a whole has never been more overweight and have more health risks associated with obesity. If everyone is so health conscious now, then why are the majority of the people still so unhealthy? Perhaps, cognitively, people are aware they need to change but instead of putting in the hard work, they want a quick fix (i.e., diet pills).

    I also agree with your statement that thin will not make you happy or attractive- confidence, along with being yourself, is what makes a person attractive. Unfortunately in the past I've bought into the big fat lie that thin = happy and beautiful and I need to forget what society/media/fashion tells me and just be who I am.

  9. Spot on! The idea that body shape somehow dictates worth, happiness, success, fulfillment, etc. is so damaging to many individuals and society as a whole. We (as in, humanity) really need to move away from this and value people for who they are, not the body they inhabit. Now if only I could do the same for myself! It's challenging when my brain tells me that my only worth comes from the number on the scale, and that's what society preaches as well. I think in some ways it "normalizes" my disordered thinking.

    Very well-written post!

  10. Wonderful blog! Society really does mess with people's heads, and especially us suffering from an ED. The media most certainly does not help this. We are told that the world is too fat, then too thin, then bombarded with adverts or promotions for magic diets that will help us lose so much weight...and so what are we meant to think? What are we meant to be? No wonder we are never happy with whatever weight we are - I totally agree with you that I've never ever been happy with my weight, whether too low, or a bit higher. And the confusion continues...

  11. This is such a well written post and I love it. Marilyn Monroe is one of my icons that I look at from time to time. She is wonderful because her life was very chaotic, filled with love, misery, success, bpd, drugs, and alcohol.

    Over the years, however, things have definitely changed within the media. What used to be beautiful is no longer in fashion. Being skinny is what society desires and as we find an obsession with it, it becomes harder to obtain it. I can relate such an obsession to my AA meetings. We focus on alcohol, we talk about alcohol, we talk about not drinking alcohol, and our obsession with it. In the end, many people fall out and, it can be argued, drink even more because they are now more obsessed about it then when they drank their first cup of coffee in their first meeting.

  12. I don't think the media is a cause of EDs but you're absolutely right that people are obsessed with weight. Everyone needs to be beautiful all the time in order to compete with their imaginary model friends or foes. Beauty is good, ugly is bad, and the standards for beauty keep getting higher and higher as technology makes creating faux beauty easier.
    At the same time it's getting easier and easier to get fat. And so we have our never ending cycle of self-hatred.


Thank you for leaving some love x