In an art house, hermetically sealed both from germs and the passage of time, this conversation happened:
“Yo, did you see the thigh-gap on that chick last night?”
“The big space between her legs! It’s the must-have accessory of the year. All the girls want one.”
“Yeah, I kind of thought so too.”
“And kind of sad.”
“But hey, you know what would really help women feel better about their bodies? If we made a movie that objectified them! And then lopped off their heads! And took away their voices! How better to make them accept their bodies than by showing them that’s all they are? The ladeezzz are going to loooove this!”
“Ooh and let’s film it in that awesome early-70’s porn style! It’s super flattering and we can have a sun setting into the ocean BETWEEN HER LEGS.”
Okay so that may not have been how this ridiculous thigh-gap movie was born but honestly that’s the kindest way I can see this thing coming about. How else would someone have thought “I need to help women feel better about their legs” and come up with THIS?? (Watch the video below at your own peril. I am not responsible for any rage-induced aneurysms.)
Jelly Bean (r) and friends know they are working it.
90210 wasn’t really my jam. (Sure Luke Perry was cute and all but Jordan Catalano stole my flannel-shirt-wrapped heart on My So-Called Life. I’m a monogamous TV dater.) So Tori Spelling has never been one of those actresses I’ve had strong feelings about one way or the other. There was a brief moment when she had four kids close together while I had four kids close together that I got a little squishy feeling for her but that evaporated in a sea of tabloid covers. Yet she confessed something recently that’s been on my mind ever since:
In her latest book, Spelling It Like It Is, Tori actually admitted to lying to Us for a post-baby bikini body story to make her version of events more palatable. To lose weight after her fourth kid she said she went on the “Just Keep Your F*cking Mouth Shut and Eat Air diet.” But she knew that starvation wouldn’t make her relatable to new mothers struggling with their weight.
“Ooh, that looks good! Can I have a few bites?” These words sparked the one and only time in my marriage I nearly punched my husband out. I wish I were exaggerating but it was in the depths of my eating disorder and I’d spent all day being “good” and counting every calorie and this dish was my reward. I’d portioned it perfectly and already entered the numbers into my (insane) food tracking spreadsheet. I’d been looking forward to eating it all day. (True story: when you’re starving, all you think about is food. I was obsessed with cooking shows, recipe websites, cookbooks and magazines, always planning the gourmet meal I was going to eat when I was finally “good enough.”) And of course I was so so hungry.
So when he leaned over and casually took a few bites, I went atomic. Realizing that I couldn’t articulate all the crazy thoughts in my head without sounding, well, crazy, I burst into tears and stomped into the other room yelling at him that he might as well just eat the whole thing now. As I sobbed in a corner, all I could think was “How could my beloved husband steal food right out of my starving mouth? Couldn’t he see how much this food meant to me right now? Especially since he could eat as much of anything in the whole house that he wanted and all I had was this. And now this was two bites less. How was I supposed to calculate the calories now? And if can’t count it then I can’t eat it.” I went to bed hungry. And furious.
Click to enlarge
Happy NEDA week, everyone! This week – February 23 to March, 1 2014 – is National Eating Disorders Awareness week and I’ll admit that I wasn’t going to post about it at first. Mostly because I feel like I write so much about eating disorders on this blog that it’s kind of NEDA all the time here. I’ve had eating disorders for decades, they’ve been with me for more of my life than not, and I’ve been very public about my struggles with them and my continuing recovery. My archives are full of posts about how I developed my EDs, what kinds I’ve had, what treatments I’ve been through, what setbacks I’ve had, my body image and endless posts about what I’ve learned. I didn’t think I had anything left to say on the subject, frankly.
And then two things happened:
Early this morning whilst my children were whizzing all over the floor in the area of the toilet and I was still snuggled under the covers checking the weather (-7! It’s like Minnesota misses me and followed me all the way here! Aw!), the internets were all atwitter with shock surrounding The Biggest Loser’s latest winner, Rachel Frederickson – or rather, what’s left of her. Frederickson made Biggest Loser history and international headlines for losing a record-breaking 60% of her body weight, dropping 155 pounds in a mere five months on the show. I saw a couple of headlines but then I was into the morning rush of trying to get all my kids clothed (success), fed (success) and to school on time (utter failure) and didn’t have time to catch up with the story until this afternoon. And then… whoa.
Bob and Jillian’s expressions (and silent “oh my god”) pretty much summed up the general reaction:
Now all is sunshine and roses, er, dead corn husks and pumpkins (because that says total romance, right?)
Puking with the flu, two weeks overdue pregnant, shaking on the floor with a panic attack, accusing him of stealing my pants and purse as I came out of anesthesia, both pre- and post- op, crying while holding a crying baby, numb with grief, irrational with fear, swearing at people during childbirth, hysterically silly, screaming with nightmares – and my personal favorite – dragging my infant son to the doctor’s for the “fleas” all over him that turned out to be Oreo crumbs from my super-healthy snack I’d eaten while breast-feeding him. I could go on but suffice it to say, my husband has seen me at my worst. (Oh, and there was the time I was so angry I didn’t speak to him for an entire day because I dreamed he had an affair. I’m still really embarrassed about that one, actually.)
Do you remember the day you got your first period? Of course you do! (Unless you’re a dude and then take a hall pass and excuse yourself for the day. You’re welcome.) Because it was like the biggest deal ever when we were kids! I blame that on not being able to drive, date or join Facebook without lying. As far as Big Adult Mysteries go, it was really the only one well within our grasp. So of course there was lots of drama around it.
It started with the day all us girls-on-the-brink were separated from the boys-who-snap-bras and taken into a classroom with no windows to be instructed on the proper care and handling of our plumbing. I even got an illustrated comic book with free coupons for Tampax and Kotex in the back – an item particularly cool because all the boys wanted to steal a copy. (And looking back, I think we should have let them. They needed the education as much as we did. And who doesn’t love a good comic illustration of tampon insertion? I know I do! They should have those Toxic Shock Syndrome warnings delivered by Wolverine – there would never be another forgotten feminine hygiene product issue again!)
“Oh it’s not about the hamburger, buddy! Don’t you “just hamburger” me! That is just a hamburger like Elmo is just a furry toy with a stick up its butt! These things, they mean… other things! (And lead to lawsuits, in the case of Elmo.)” My breathing got faster as my hands tightened into fists. “That is just one more symbol of your misogynistic subconscious oppression of women! You might as well say you like your ladies dry aged like an angus and then served with a side of chips. Or maybe you’d just like us to be muppets too? So you can control our every move by sticking your hand… (ack, bad analogy detour! Rerouting…) We’re PEOPLE! With real human NEEDS! And I will certainly NEVER go on a date with you!!” I emphasized my point with a jab of my mascara wand… which hit the mirror in front of me. The black smudge brought me back to reality, a.k.a. the reality that I now had the extra chore of cleaning my mirror (they don’t call it waterproof for nothing!) and that the only person listening to my half-formed arguments was my cat. Who had been licking her butt for ten straight minutes. (Seriously how many hours a day do cats spend licking their butts? And then she wants to lip kiss me? I think not.)
E-mail is one of the central fixtures of my day. This is partly because I’m a child of the 90’s and I still can’t get over how freaking amazing this whole Internet thing is. (For those of you who’ve never known a world without it you can’t imagine how bleak things were – I actually attended my very first official concert, New Kids on the Block, without being able to memorialize it with a video on YouTube or pics on Facebook! Okay, considering my most salient memory of that evening was my best friend getting her first period at the concert – Joey made us all simultaneously ovulate – maybe it’s for the best.) But part of it is because I just get so much of it. Lots of it is from you guys which can be in turn fun, heartbreaking, amazing, breathtaking, hilarious and weird (and heaven knows I love them all!) and I’m generally pretty good about answering them (as long as they don’t hide in that stupid “other” folder I didn’t even know existed). But a couple of months ago I got an e-mail that I officially couldn’t answer. I didn’t have the words. I still don’t. I finally had to just delete it – and I’ve never intentionally done that before. I feel terrible about it.
Oh how I love Natalie Dee!
Expensive little non-eco-friendly cups of skim dairy, artificial sweeteners and fruit of dubious origin – I have little love for conventional yogurt. With all the great health benefits of full-fat plain yogurt that is not only super cheap but super easy to make at home in your crockpot, I don’t see any need to buy the processed stuff. But for all that it is not, is Yoplait a trigger for eating disorders?
Watch this first (possible trigger warning for eating disordered thoughts):
It’s an advertisement for Yoplait lite yogurt that features a woman looking at a raspberry cheesecake in the fridge and going through all the mental gymnastics that many women do when deciding what to eat. These voice-over thoughts have sparked a controversy in which NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) asked Yoplait to pull the commercial and the company complied. The issue at hand is that some of the woman’s thoughts evoke certain eating disordered mannerisms. For instance:
“I was good today, I deserve it!”
“I could have a medium slice and 8 celery sticks and they would cancel each other out, right?”