Monday, August 07, 2006

Maybe It's Just Me, But...

(warning: this post contains some rather disturbing graphics)

...I think the definition of beauty is getting skinnier and skinnier. Too skinny, in fact.

To explain: I recently read about the online pro-ana and pro-mia movements (websites and discussion boards designed to support people in their quest to remain anorexic or bulimic), and so I decided to snoop around the Net and locate some of these sites. Many of them have been taken down, presumably as a result of the pushback against this disturbing subculture of starving young women, but I did manage to find a few sites still proudly proclaiming their anti-food beliefs.

Several of these sites included a gallery of "thinspiration," images of very thin, very sickly women who were extolled as the epitome of beauty. Here are some sample images:


Anyway, several other models of "thinspiration" included celebrities like Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, Kate Bosworth, Victoria Beckham, Ellen Pompeo, Nicole Kidman, and Keira Knightley, just to name a few.

So I am wondering: whatever happened to the fit and healthy, curvy bodies that defined beauty in the 1990's? I'm thinking of a muscular Cindy Crawford, or Claudia Schiffer, or Elle MacPherson - nearly two decades ago, these women were considered the hallmark of beautiful and sexy. By today's standards, I think some of them would be considered (*gasp*) chunky!

So, what has changed in our culture that has prompted a shift in the definition of beautiful? Why have so many celebrities become so alarmingly thin, and why have young women with eating disorders begun to resist treatment in favour of pro-ana/mia pride?

I have no answers, but would love to gather up some insights. Any to share?


14 comments:

Justice~! said...

Fitness model look = *WAY* hotter than anorexic chick. Always will be.

Wobbly*Bits said...

I have no answers either but I must say I 100% agree. I first stumbled across pro-ana and pro-mia sites by mistake while searching for HEALTHY weightloss tips and sites. You cannot talk to them because if you say anything remotely negative, they assume you're jealous. These are women (and possible men?) who don't want help, who think that being able to see all their ribs is sexy. I think the picture you posted of Cindy Crawford is gorgeous and curvy and I wish that could be our supermodel standard again. Still far thinner than I am but so healthy and more attainable. I don't find the skeletal creatures remotely attractive, but alas, I will keep my mouth shut rather than be considered jealous.

I'll stay chubby thankyouverymuch! Great blog!

cristina said...

Its cyclical! Remember Twiggy? the 20s were like that too....things go in cycles and we are in the THIN spin right now! I want rubenesque to come back in!!! Why has it been so long since *THAT* was the ideal? LOL White, untanned skin and tummies need to come back in style...then i'm SET :) LOL

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Well, I don't remember the last time Rubenesque was "in" but damn, that was a LONG time ago (and never during the 20th century)! Twiggy already cycled through the 1920s...so why is HER look back again already?!?

Personally, I think some meat on the bones is nicer to hug and squeeze, and I would rather look like Jessica Biel or Janet Jackson or even Mariah Carey, than Nicole Richie or any of those bobble-headed girls.

Wobbly*Bits said...

Good point, there are cycles and trends. Just seems now that "full figured" gals are even skinny. Like have boobs and a butt on your 105 pound fram automatically makes you chubby.

cristina said...

its actually cycled back in the 60s/70s ....so its been at least 30 years...i mean come on...cycles don't always take very long to come back! Bell bottoms went and came and went again already :)

no I think its been too long and rubenesque will be back in IN NO TIME!!!!!! *fingers xed*

Justice~! said...

Let's not forget that Raquel Welch was one of the major sex symbols of the 70s, though! And Twiggy she was not! The hottest woman around until my wife was born!

Ontario Emperor said...

I was going to mention Twiggy, but cristina beat me to the punch.

Cyclical is too simplistic an explanation, and I don't think that the entire society is in a thin trend (although I'll admit that the definition of beauty has changed since the 17th century). There are a few people who like ribs, and then there are those who sing along with Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby's Got Back," and then there are those who like the physiques of female bodybuilders (not for me).

The important thing is whether you are healthy. Can the ribby chicks or the love handle boys exert themselves, or are they homebound due to their weight or lack thereof?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I don't know about the boys, but the ribby chicks that are anorexic usually end up losing their periods, fainting often, growing weird hair all over their bodies, and developing heart conditions, so my best guess is that no, they probably don't have a lot of strength to exert themselves over a sustained period of time.

But then again, I do know that some girls really are just naturally that thin (although usually not to the point of joint-protrusion). And that's a different story entirely.

Neil said...

I once did a post on how skinny some actresses were getting, and I got all this "hate" mail from pro-ana sites. I had no idea what "ana" was at the time, and it was scary to read about these girls -- mostly teenagers -- who were making anorexia into a lifestyle.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

It's even scarier that they are spending what little energy they have, promoting this very dangerous "lifestyle" =/

The_Chef said...

Women should have curves, not angles dammit!!!

Anonymous said...

You have Ellen Pompeo listed as one of these,but you should never judge a cover by how they look and assume they are in this so called club. Ellen has spoken to several and while she is thin, she has a fast metabolism.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I'm not saying that *she* is anorexic; I am saying that she is thin and her body type is admired and used as thinspo by those who have body image issues and/or eating disorders. At no point did I say that she belonged to a pro-ana or pro-mia "club."

Thanks for your comment, "Anonymous," but I would suggest you refrain from commenting on a decade-old post without first reading carefully. 🙄 I didn't assume and I most certainly didn't imply that any celebrity listed was or was not anorexic or bulimic. I guess reading comprehension is a tough task, but commenting anonymously and without any ownership of your opinions is just so darn easy! #movealong