Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Woman..what price will you pay

We respectfully ask that you read the entire post before commenting the first time, but for your convenience we have put a jump to the comments section right here, so that you can easily find them.

So this week.. finds us looking at the "Kate Moss Scandal". It is claimed by the Daily Mirror in Britain, that they have a picture of her snorting cocaine.

I turned my thoughts back to the post of last week, which was on "Heroes". Is *THIS* what we believe a hero is? An ultra-thin woman who snorts cocaine? Is *THIS* what we want our children (in particular, our daughters) to emulate?

I know that I am not the only member of BoP that has a daughter coming up in the world today. For those of you that do NOT have daughters, let me tell you... it is NOT easy. They look in their magazines, watch their videos and try to BE these women—but at what cost? What are their reasons?

So the topic of this weeks BoP is: "Woman..what price will you pay?"

Certainly not all of us are women, *heh* I think on the roll call here I am the only one but we all have mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends that are women. What price are they willing to pay to be for the world--"perfect"? What does the world expect of a woman, in particular the male-portion of the race?

Turning back the clock a bit, Kate Moss is not the only Supermodel to have fallen into the drug scene. Take for example Gia Carangi, one of the world's top models in the 70's who succumbed to AIDS following a heroin addiction that took her into the drug infested hell-holes of NY's lower east side. Story

These are women that are desperate for the approval of the world-- for the attention and affection of others. It is no secret that many of the world's models are desperately beneath the standard weight for their frame and height. Actresses as well are victims to this ploy. How can we forget the loveable little Mary Kate Olsen who endeared herself to the American TV viewing audience, being treated for Anorexia in 2004? ? The truth is: we don't like fat women. We want women thin, waif thin really and beautiful too-- don't forget the beautiful part! We applaud when people lose weight each week on "The Biggest Loser" while sort of sitting back and going.. "Meh, when they injure themselves in pushing so hard to obtain "the results" the viewing audience is dying to see. We laughed at Mimi on "The Drew Carey Show" as she in her largesse, bounded into a room with her wisecracking and smart a**ed remarks. We laughed. This week on "Nip and Tuck" the story was one of a woman that had grown so large that she had ceased to get off of her couch and it had melded to her skin. The woman died in that episode. All I could do was cry. The ending of the show, showed not one but TWO beautiful women being "attended to" by Christian Troy in his "comeback" from his own attack by "The Carver". But of course, they just HAD to throw in two anorexic thin women in the last 50 seconds of the show, ANYTHING but to leave the viewing audience with the image of a morbidly obese woman dying, while still attached to her couch! Lets face it... we loathe that which is not "beautiful" by the 21st century standard of beauty.

In our complete fixation with beauty, we set up our actresses, our models, our young daughter's heroes as the ultra thin, ultra beautiful, somewhat saline and plastic based PERFECT WOMAN. They in turn strive.. CONSTANTLY.. to be like them. There are some young women who will accomplish it and when they do, they are particularly cruel to those that do not. Taunting, shaming, ridiculing their contemporaries who are less than perfect until they do one of two things: become perfect (i.e., extreme weight issues and eating disorders, drug use (diet or otherwise), obsessive exercise) or they fail and become depressed, despondent and riddled with fears and insecurities. And for what?? So that they can have a boyfriend! So they can be successful! So they can be seen as perfect! Is this REALLY what a man wants today? I ask you to speak then in truth... how many here have dated, loved, married a woman that is large, less than beautiful, less than perfect? Why did you? Or why didn't you? What are the standards you set for beauty? For you ladies.. what has been your experience? Did you ever feel imperfect, fat, ugly.. what price did you pay to deal with it? What price do you pay even NOW?

It’s high time that we take control of this issue in American Society. Women are *NOT* prized cattle. They are *NOT* personal property that must increase someone else's sense of self worth. Its high time we quit setting our young ladies up to be THE NEXT Kate Moss, Gia Carangi or Mary Kate Olsen.

Nariel - Ancient Eyes for Current Times

The night shift admitted her to the locked psych unit. Her parents had called 911, after finding her passed out in the bathroom. She was 18. She was five feet seven inches. Her weight on admission was eighty-one pounds. She was a star athlete, and was headed to college on a full gymnastics scholarship that fall. A National Honor Society member, she was also one the most popular kids in her school. She was active in her church, and by all accounts was a strong Christian influence on her peers.

Her parents reported she didn't smile much, and said there seemed to be something wrong with her teeth. Stomach acid from frequent, self induced vomiting will do that.

She hadn't had her menses in six months. Her lab results revealed skewed counts across the board.

She was dying.

I saw her the next morning. She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with her high school mascot on the front, standing in front of a mirror. She told me she was looking at the fat on her thighs. I could count the individual bones in her legs. It was like looking at an x-ray.

Over the next few days, she became the life of the psych unit. Bubbly, friendly to everybody, always willing to help in any way. Patients actually started to look forward to group therapy every afternoon. She had a way of livening things up. To tell the truth, the staff started to look forward to the groups she was in as well.

When she left the hospital after a couple of weeks, her weight was up to 95 lbs, and she was eating regular meals. She'd already had a couple of sessions with an outpatient therapist, and would start a specialized day program for eating disorders the following Monday. She seemed well on her way to overcoming anorexia nervosa.

She was my first patient with an eating disorder.

I attended her funeral 6 months later. The church was packed...It was a closed casket.

I thought about my patient the other day, standing in the checkout lane. The woman in front of us was in her late forties, greying around the edges. She was looking at the cover of Vogue. As she looked at the scantily clad model on the cover, her face fell. You could almost hear the woman comparing herself to that air-brushed, Photoshop enhanced model staring back at her. Comparing, and finding herself lacking...again.

Women today, rather they are 7 or 70, bear a burden. The definition of beauty our culture sends is killing women. Seldom as dramatically as my anorexic patient. No, most of the time, death comes slowly, one magazine cover, one message at a time. But, make no mistake, the woman in the checkout line was dying a little bit with each look at the magazine.

Over the years, I've returned again and again to the book of Proverbs as I've worked with women trapped by the messages of this culture. The words of Solomon aren't a total answer, but have helped me judge the distortions our society pours out. One of my favorites is the last few verses of Proverbs. You can find them here.

I'm especially struck by the first part of verse 30: "Charm is deceptive, beauty is fleeting..."
Ours is a culture trapped in deception, pursuing a vision of beauty that seems just out of reach. Perhaps posts like Nariel's can throw some truth on the deception. I certainly hope so. I have no desire to attend another funeral.

Mark - Liberty Just In Case

OK, I'm gonna take this for a twist. No, women are not cattle, and yes our society puts too much value on physical appearance, and material things. Yes this has put many with low self esteem problems to push theirselves too hard into drugs, and eating disorders, but...

On the other hand, our love affair with the entitlement mentality has led to the opposite problem. Obesitity is becoming a major killer in America. Public health education needs to be pushed hard, so people don't get fat, jeapordize their health, and die of a heart attack. Living a healthy lifestyle needs to be pushed in order to keep people from turning to eating disorders, etc.

My marraige is good, because I chose my wife because of her personality. Her weight goes up and down depending on how lazy we are being, or how often I cook and fatten her up. We are all guilty of living it up, and taking the shorcut to McDonalds.

So, I agree...don't make fun of fat people, and choose your friends and partners based on personality. Don't treat women like cattle, etc. But also take care of yourself, and promote a healthy lifestyle to others.

Jay - Stop the ACLU
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