Women and Mental Health

By Elizabeth Howell; Marjorie Bayes | Go to book overview

18
Cinderella's Stepsisters:
A Feminist Perspective
on Anorexia Nervosa
and Bulimia

MARLENE BOSKIND-LODAHL

Reading the literature on female socialization reminds one of the familiar image of Cinderella's stepsisters industriously lopping off their toes and heels so as to fit into the glass slipper (key to the somewhat enigmatic heart of the prince)—when of course it was never intended for them anyway.

—Judith Long Laws

During my early months of internship in 1974 in the mental health section of a university clinic, I encountered Anne, a lively, attractive, and slim young woman of eighteen. For three years she had been on a cycle of gorging and starving that had continued without relief. She felt desperate and out of control.

Anne was the first in a series of 138 binger-starvers that I was to

____________________
This paper is dedicated to my original group of patients, for me the first of Cinderella's stepsisters.

-248-

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