Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Why Pictures like These Should Carry a Health Warning; from a Mother Whose Daughter Died of Anorexia, a Blistering Attack on Celebrities Who Seem Proud of Their Emaciated Bodies

Daily Mail (London), April 5, 2010 | Go to article overview

Why Pictures like These Should Carry a Health Warning; from a Mother Whose Daughter Died of Anorexia, a Blistering Attack on Celebrities Who Seem Proud of Their Emaciated Bodies


Byline: by Rosalind Ponomarenko-Jones; Interview by Frances Hardy

THERE they all are in the celebrity magazine Heat this week: a parade of stick-thin stars so emaciated they look as if the slightest pressure would snap them in two. 'The Rise Of The Celebrity Twiglets!' screams the headline, beneath a procession of skeletal young women. The analogy is entirely appropriate. These women have no more substance than a cocktail snack. Indeed, their limbs are so denuded of flesh that they resemble the knobbly appendages of famine victims.

Who are they? Actually -- and significantly -- they are not identified by their achievements, merely by their appearance.

A gaunt, bony Eva Herzigova (no allusion to her modelling or films) declares unconvincingly: 'I've lost weight without really noticing -- I haven't dieted and I'm healthy.' Alongside her, the singer Nadine Coyle, whose legs are as fleshless as the prongs of a fork, attests: 'If anything, I've put weight on since the last Girls Aloud tour.' A worryingly starved-looking Alexa Chung -- the TV presenter hailed as a style icon -- admits her weight is dwindling, but alleges it's because she 'hasn't got time' to go to the supermarket.

What is happening here? I believe the messages being sent out by such photographs are as complex as they are pernicious. Ostensibly, we are urged to be shocked by these images of women who seem to have whittled themselves away.

However, while the celebrity magazine headline says 'This is appalling', I believe an unwritten sub-text shrieks: 'Isn't it amazing that these women are so thin?' So skewed have our society's values become that there is now a terrible glamour about being preternaturally skinny.

And by focusing on their thinness -- to the exclusion of all else -- the publishers of such photos are feeding our dangerous national obsession with weight. We have become a society fixated on diet: rare is the woman who eats un-selfconsciously and without guilt.

How many of us agonise over whether to have a dessert or indulge in a slice of cake -- and then reproach ourselves for our lack of willpower when we've eaten it? Food is no longer a simple pleasure. It exerts a disproportionate influence on us. And for the super-skinny celebrity, this fixation has become grotesquely exaggerated.

My real fear is that millions of impressionable young women will seek to emulate this new breed of 'twiglet' celebrities.

Small wonder that growing numbers of teenagers are falling prey to eating disorders, when role models in magazines exhibit their jutting bones and attenuated limbs while breezily declaring they've barely noticed their dangerously diminishing size.

Alarmingly, in the unattainable world of the super-rich celebrity the measure of what is an acceptable size is shrinking.

Four years ago, the death of size-zero model Luisel Ramos from heart failure during Uruguay's fashion week sparked a worldwide debate on the scandal of our starving models -- apparently she hadn't eaten for days when she arrived for her appearance on the runway -- and at the same time set an insidious new benchmark.

Since her death, the fashion industry has made half-hearted attempts to introduce 'real' women with curves and flesh on their bones on to the catwalk. So, now and then, we do see a properly rounded female form glowing with good health in fashion shows and magazines.

BUT I fear it is merely tokenism: for every size 12 woman on the catwalk or in the magazines read by millions of young women -- and Heaven help us, even this is below the average British dress size -- we see a dozen skeletal ones. So the 'real' women are the exception to a rule, which demands more and more freakish levels of slenderness.

The fashion industry has set a dangerous trend and celebrities are not only imitating it, but exceeding it. It cannot be long before we see clothes on the High Street labelled in minus sizes.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Pictures like These Should Carry a Health Warning; from a Mother Whose Daughter Died of Anorexia, a Blistering Attack on Celebrities Who Seem Proud of Their Emaciated Bodies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.