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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Quail and Grouse

by Bridget Stuart

No, this is not a recipe for wild game on the holiday table. It's more like quailing at what I read in my Yahoo! Headlines yesterday, and grousing about it to my blog-buddies. It hasn't even got anything to do with Christmas, but I'm sending a nod to the season anyway.

So did you hear that some fashion mavens--designers and media folks--are getting together for some serious head-scratchin' about the über-thinness of couture models? They're considering setting some standards for the industry, not necessarily because they're concerned about unhealthy examples for young women, but because they'd rather "police themselves" than have rules imposed on them--and the wind is definitely blowing in that direction. Check out the update:

Still, let's think about this. Is the solution to the starvation problem really to set weight standards for fashion models? I mean, hello, aren't we in the middle of an obesity epidemic as well as a battle against anorexia? These fashion mavens are the ones who started the whole "starved is sexy" thing in the first place--do we really need them to tell us what to think?

Here's an alternative: instead of encouraging the image industry to come up with yet another way to manipulate minds…let's encourage independent thinking instead.

I don't believe I was the only adolescent to ever watch friends getting wacked out at parties, puking their brains out, and think "Doesn't look like any fun to me--I think I'll give drugs and booze a miss." That was a no-brainer, actually. The same could go for sticking your finger down your throat in the girls' bathroom after lunch, or undergoing painful surgery to pump your boobs up like scarred balloons, or breaking and resetting your nose (and breathing in blood for weeks afterward) or any of the other things girls do to measure up to an impossible ideal.

To help our daughters, maybe we can become more powerful role models than the fashion models--we could live the way we want our kids to live.

Hmm. Maybe if we want our daughters to have a healthy body image, we need to get one ourselves, first. I think we all know what we *should* be doing--respecting ourselves, speaking positively, using food in a healthy way, being active but not obsessive. And it's hard to keep it up. But maybe we could support each other in the effort. If we make changes in our own lives for our daughters and sons, we will show them how much they are loved--and point the way to true adulthood.

Happy, Healthy Holidays, everyone.


At 3:27 PM, Anonymous gin said...

The whole role model thing is what worries me these days. We have so much good information about health issues, and we lecture ourselves and our kids, but we don't put it into practice.

There are parents who are really wonderful parents in oh, so many ways, but didn't have the benefit of some of the nutritional (and other areas) information we have today, so they developed bad habits (I should say "we," b/c I've got plenty such bad habits myself), and they're passing those habits along by example, despite their words of advice to the contrary.

It's just so hard making the jump from convincing the rational side of the brain to really getting it in the emotional levels of behavior. The jump from "I know I'd feel better and live longer if I -- and my kids, if I had any -- ate five veggies/fruits a day" to actually tossing the broccoli into the microwave at dinnertime.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Great post, Bridget. I totally don't understand the fashion industry's fascination with the starving look. As my hubby and other guys I've heard have said, those women aren't beautiful. They look like they're unhealthy.

At 8:41 PM, Blogger bridget said...

You are so right, Gin! I have to remind myself every day, my kids are going to learn more from what I do than what I say! So I try to have those chocolate binges in private, while they're away at school.

Trish, it's very weird. I know that when I lost waay too much weight during a recent family upheaval and I was ten pounds under what I should have been for my height, everyone was telling me how gorgeous I was!

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

I don't think we understand weight, especially obesity. I think there is something we need to learn about it. I know so many people struggling with their weight-there's something driving the eating and it isn't lack of character. It's something else.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger bridget said...

Oooh, Diane, definitely, it's not a lack of character! (I hope I didn't seem to be saying that in the blog.) There have to be so many factors, both in the "too much weight" department and in the "too little weight" camp, not the least of which is the way everything in our contemporary lifestyle seems to be stacked against us when it comes to healthy eating and activity.

I mean, how can we be "Slow Food" movement types when we have to get up before sunrise just to throw together the kids' lunches, get everyone showered and dressed, and run out the door in 60 minutes or less? How can we take the time to shop for fresh items daily and cook exciting, holistic meals when we stumble home in the dark at 6:00 if we're lucky, too tired to even turn the knob on the stove? And when, in that scenario, were we supposed to squeeze in the 40 minutes of aerobic exercise?

It's also worthwhile to note, in this context, that I was talking about modeling behaviors we can control ourselves, not the true medical disorders.

From what I've been able to find out about the latter, true clinical forms of anorexia nervosa and bulimia, they seem to be a particularly dangerous subset of obsessive compulsive disorders...and I know from my experience working with kids with neurological issues, this is something veeery difficult to crack. It can't be treated by providing good examples, thinking positive, etc. etc. (Nor would it be affected, I think, by fashion models plumping up a bit.)

There is a distinction between the issues of healthy habits we can model for our kids, and dangerous medical issues that need to be brought to the attention of qualified specialists *immediately*.


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