Tuesday, 27 March 2007

'Fat' an academic discipline...

It seems that while weight issues in the fashion world is grabbing headlines it has become the talk of the academic world too.

Kansas City will be host to new 'Fat Studies' convention.

'Proposals and abstracts for papers and sessions in the field of Fat Studies are sought for the Midwest Popular Culture Association annual convention.'

'Fat Studies is a fast-growing, interdisciplinary field and proposals from any field of study are welcome. At MPCA 2006 we had three full panels, with presentations on widely varied topics including Ben Jonson's poetry,comic book villains, celebrity exercise videos, BMI testing in schools, eating disorders in prisons, and the relationship between obesity and academic achievement.'

So why this growing interest in the academic fields. I feel like weight is the new acceptable topic to criticise and dissect. Like race it is an issue that effect the vast majority of people in the world.

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Friday, 23 March 2007

Size Zero Today: March 23rd 2007

Cleo Watson has written a fantastic article for The Spectator. It projects a lot of the details that I have been writing about. Take a look at her personal encounter with the size zero fad. You will be enlightened.

The girls of St Thinian’s

Cleo Watson

'After the South American models Luisel Ramos and Carolina Reston starved themselves to death last year to try to reach size ‘zero’, the fashion world promised to be more responsible. It hung its head in shame, and even chivvied some size-12 girls on to the catwalk for London Fashion Week last month. So I imagine that most people think that the whole zero fad has finally faded away, and that teenage girls like me and my school-friends have developed healthier role models and a happier relationship with our food. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint any Spectator-reading parents, but in my experience it’s worse than ever.' (The Spectator. co.uk)

Read more at http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/28669/the-girls-of-st-thinians.thtml


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Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Why 'Friend or Foe'?

Today someone said to me 'I don't see why being a size zero or anorexic can be a friend'. I found it hard to explain in the environment I was in to someone I don't know. I am here now to explain what this size zero obsession can be a friend.

It is hard to explain something to someone that has no experience with the thing your trying to explain, this becomes even harder when the thing you are trying to explain is a personal relationship.

Anorexia and bulimia are diseases, FACT but why the occur and how people cope with them and respond to them is a personal encounter that only that person can understand to the fullest. this isn't to say no one can relate or try to understand.

It is been said that one of the symptoms of why eating disorders occur is because the people it happens to are lost or out of control within their own world.

For me I didn't notice it happening. Suddenly I felt that I had control over my life and I did question why. It was comforting to have confidence within myself (I was later to find out that this was false confidence). It was nice that no one could interfere with what I was doing. It was nice to not have people choosing things for me or giving their opinion. I know that this is a temporary fix and a way to hide from dealing with what is happening around you but it makes you feel a sense of safety. It makes you feel like you are going to be okay. This is why size zero, anorexia, bulimia, food controlling in general can be a 'friend'. In a sense it is a living being, it breathes, thinks, feels but importantly it understands.

As you already know the foes of these complexities are well publicized and every person that experiences a eating disorder struggle has experienced the friend and the foe. The disease is not black and white but rather all different shades of grey.


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Monday, 19 March 2007

Size Zero Today: March 19th 2007

Megastar.co.uk reported that stars such as Hilary Duff and Lena Heady are speaking out against the media and the Hollywood obsession with weight.

Duff told the Mirror that she felt pressured to lose weight after reading a tabloid that called her 'fat'. After losing the weight she was then attacked by the media for being too thin. Duff said: "I did get skinny, when I read 'Duff Puff - she's gained 15 pounds', how would any normal person react?"

Increasingly celebrities are speaking out about the movie and music industries. Women celebrities are especially commenting on the treatment the receive and how it affects their lives.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Pro-ana

'The term Pro-ana is a conjunction of the root pro, which means "in favor of", and a shortened form of the term "anorexia", and refers to a group or subculture that promotes or supports anorexia as a lifestyle choice rather than an eating disorder.' (Thank you Wikipedia).

I recently ventured into the world of the Internet pro-ana. It to me is a strange world. Where I found on observation that the people producing the websites and visiting the forums, were there as a form of empowerment. As I have mentioned before in my 'sizing' post my relationship with this disorder was about control. A form of OCD if you will. When looking at the sites that are out there and seeing the responses they receive it felt that their desire to live that 'lifestyle' was building control in there individual worlds.

I have always been a tad of a perfectionist in my life. Not necessarily in the academic side. Averaging often a C grade but more in my personal life. My Mom calls it a box ticker. My family used to tease me saying, "Maia's making her set-up". This was largely in reference for my need, from a small age, to make myself fit in to my environment. I moved a lot when I was kid and I had moving down to a tee. Within half an hour of being in a new house I would have my room (set-up) done. Everything had a place and that place had a reason. I would from the age of four or five clean my room on Saturdays for fun, yes fun. I haven't changed much. My point for talking about this is that I think that these pro-ana sites are a way of having a perfect set-up. A way to have a place that is under your control. A place that no matter where you are will never change and if it does it's because you changed it.

It is said that people that suffer from eating disorders are characteristically over achievers and perfections. I saw this when visiting these sites. The technology on most was the most recent and advanced. There wasn't a text out of place. I found it really interesting that these worlds created where in a way a symptom for what these people are going through.

I personally feel a tad weird about the whole anorexia as a lifestyle and overall don't agree with what most of the sites are aiming for but that doesn't me I don't understand or feel for those going through this disease.

As I have said before I have a hard time not being drawn to weight issues. It's still a part of my everyday thinking. I understand that this sites are a form of perfection to those who are suffering. Anorexia is a hard thing to let go of. It is comforting, familiar and personal.

I find it weird at first entering a site that was about something I had gone through. I felt weird giving something that I am against hits.

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Monday, 12 March 2007

Recent Test:

I recently did I post on a myspace forum trying to get an intelligent response from people my age about the issue of size zero. This is how it turned out...

It took five minutes to get 13 responses. The responses were however, not the intelligent answers I had hoped for instead it was a lot of people with big egos trying to say something clever and funny, which of course turned out to be neither. Why is it so hard for kids, yes kids, of my generation to have a real conversation, about something that is affecting people around them?

Here are some of the responses I received (names not included, obviously):

I asked three questions...

1. Who is to blame?
2. What is the fixation with size zero?
3. What do you like, skinny or full?

Answers:

Example one:

1. Your mother.
2. Your mother's brainwashing beam set up in your backyard blinking ominously.
3. While I would prefer my future bride not to pull a Skeletor and have nothing but a napkin, salt packet, and bottle of Crystal Light for dinner......I'm going to have go with your mother as my final answer.

Example two:

Yeah i am not a size zero and i would never want to...why would someone want to look like a crack whore???

Example three:

eh, someone shut this broad up with a tube steak.

Finally I got some half human and dare I say clever answers:

Example one:

1. You only have yourself to blame if you really feel the need to be that thin.
2. Trying to fit that mould of being 'good enough'
3. I like dem bootylicious bitches. *cough*

Example two:

I don't think its your size that makes you sexy. Its how you hold & handle yourself. Sex appeal does not come in any size.I wear 0's & 1's depending on the jeans. I don't count calories & I never will. Just taking care of yourself and loving who you are is all that matters.

Example three:

I watched some mad program while I was in America a couple of weeks ago, though i think it might be a British program called "the agency"Basically it's a model agency where this bitchy English woman swears at all of her clients and says they're all disgusting and fat, and that they should be ashamed of themselves for being so Disgusting. Most of these girls were a UK size 8, which i guess is about a US 2 or 4 ?I wanted to punch her in the mouth.

It's funny I really expected people to get involved with the topic, instead of poking fun at the issue but what happened was the opposite. The general response was 'whatever not my problem'. This leads me to another question why is it then if people respond like this to serious questions that then these same sort of people are producing pressure for others to fit in? Why is it okay for them to have any place to complain about the pressures they, themselves, live under.


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Size Zero Today: March 12th 2007

Leslie Watson, Director of charity Sustainability South West, took a new stance on the size zero debate. She is suggesting forget about your weight and focus on the future.

Encouraging the public and the government to put more focus on the environment, climate change in particular. She said: "Rather than women feeling pressure to 'cut their carbs' with the latest fad diet we should be supporting each other to cut the 'carbs' that really matter - carbon dioxide emissions!"

Watson is calling for more action to be made in reducing the effects of climate change. She said: "In the South West we have the fastest growing and most ageing female population of the UK. We need policies that will support women's health and well-being as well as their ability to care for their families and to be economically active in a low carbon way."

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