body image

Courtney Elizabeth Mauk's picture

Body, Be Good

I was thirteen when I first began starving myself, but you’ve heard stories like mine before.  Like genital mutilation and date rape, anorexia has had its recurring moments in the spotlight, an issue sensational enough for TV movies and the serious columns in women’s magazines, and a problem too ingrained within our culture to go away any time soon.  Anorexia is old news and in many ways anti-feminist.  Anorectics, after all, are among the most obvious slaves to the evil manipulations of media imagery, knowingly killing themselves to obtain the impossible ideal portrayed by models and celebrities.  It’s sad, yes, but come on already and break free of the chains!  Celebrate your powerful, womanly curves!  Eat something!

If only it were that simple. 

Anorexia is an issue that has been glossed over again and again.  The easy answer is the surface one – she feels bad about her body because our media-fueled culture has made her feel that way.  To solve this problem, we need to: a. make her feel better about herself; b. change the ideal portrayed in the media; and/or c. teach her not care about media images in the first place.  All of these are very nice ideas and have led to girl power messages and bans on Barbie dolls that may or may not have a positive effect on the psyches of little girls.  But they do not address the underlying issues of power and control that make anorexia so pervasive and difficult to overcome. 

Chris's picture

Perverted News Roundup

Review of Shortbus DVD (Clean Sheets): Clean Sheets reviews John Cameron Mitchell's followup to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a sex-positive and sex-realistic drama about relationships in NYC.

Revenge of the World Bank Secretaries (Alternet): Susie Bright takes a look at the latest sexual pecadillo within the Neocons; Paul Wolfowitz, the married, hawkish Zionist who heads the World Bank, is facing calls for his resignation because of his affair with an employee, a Saudi woman named Shaha Riza whose salary got a big boost from $132,660 to $193,590 per year thanks to her relationship with the boss.  Shit. For that kind of money, I'd do Wolfowitz.

How the Web Became a Sexist's Paradise (Alternet): Jessica Valenti gives a good summation of how blithely misogyny is accepted in Internet culture these days, using the recent issue of Kathy Sierra's intimidation via internet death threats as an example.

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