Crossing the line

All Women Worry About Getting Fat

Well, no, TEN WOMEN had reactions to the suggestion that their body type was larger than it is. I can think of all sorts of reasons for that, but this isn't one of them: "Even though they claim they don't care about body issues...their brains are showing that it really bugs them to think about the prospect of being overweight," That is some seriously condescending, smarmy, sexist, and unscientific talk, there, buddy.

If you tell me to imagine that I'm a pomegranate it is probably going to perplex my brain - if I'm not a pomegranate. There is an assumption here that the subjects were upset, and should be upset, when maybe they were just surprised. Maybe it was envy or hope. Maybe the shape they saw reminded them of their mother.

But I'll give you this: maybe you are measuring horror - at stigma. If you tell me that I'm a stigmatized body shape, you're going to light up my brain. Next you should do a study on how doing and publishing studies on how terrified we are all of fat (and how we lie about it) causes us to react to images of researchers.

This kind of research makes my blood boil because it actually creates more stigma and distracts from all the things we could be doing with research dollars and grad student stipends to really help people. "Aha! You hate fat people don't you? If not, you should: everyone's doing it!"

But if there was any shred of meaning to this research and article before, this sentence replaces any sense with the absurd: "Overall, the results should caution women about the risks of crossing the line from concern about body image into a full-blown eating disorder, Allen said."

Crossing the line? Do women need to be "cautioned" against eating disorders? Does caution work? Gosh - let's make placards! We CHOOSE to have poor body image? So, women choose eating disorders out of some mistaken risk evaluation?

That, I'm afraid, is the conjecture that "crosses the line" from condescending to the truly dangerous.


  1. Lol - I read this apparently groundbreaking study too. I 'lol' because I struggle to comprehend how anyone could make such conclusions from the data collected in the cited study. The data could have been interpreted in many different ways, as you rightly describe Laura.

    There are many flaws to this research, not the least being that body dissatisfaction causes eating disorders (EDs). Body dissatisfaction may be a trigger for food restriction in some cases of EDs, but not in all cases. Some women with EDs don't have body image issues and don't fear getting 'fat'. I was one such individual. I (previously) feared loss of structure and 'meaning' to my life if I gave up the rituals of my anorexia nervosa. I feared that life would be chaotic and unpredictable, which led me to feel extremely anxious about any change to my eating and exercise behaviours. It took me two years to gain over 30 pounds because I didn't have a large enough appetite to get 'fat'; not because I feared getting 'fat', or saw a 'fat' person in the mirror.

    The idea that any/every women has the potential to develop a clinical ED is something I disagree with. Many, many women dislike their body image and wish to lose weight. Many, many women go on weight reducing diets, but very few develop clinical EDs - and in particular AN. Most people find 'dieting' arduous and painful. People who are ill with AN derive more satisfaction from starvation than they do from eating.


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