The Skinny on Skinny

By Cole, Susan G. | Herizons, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

The Skinny on Skinny


Cole, Susan G., Herizons


It's a slow night for news and Mary-Kate Olsen has made the headlines--even in Canada. She's booked herself into an institution to be treated for anorexia. Olsen's wraith-like body has been a topic of conversation in my household for a while--my daughter is her age, has grown up with the Olsen twins and she's been keeping track. I suppose, as we congratulate each other on knowing all the time that Olsen was in trouble, I should take some solace in the fact that my kid can even talk about eating disorders in a conscious way.

[Graph Not Transcribed]

Yet, a part of me feels like we're losing the battle of the body. This came through to me the other day while watching interviews with the stars of Catwoman. There's Halle Berry talking about how tough it was to take on the lead role. Her biggest stress, she said, was figuring out how she was going to get into the Catwoman costume. The suit is all leather and straps, but skimpy. Sure, it has pants, but it's backless and leaves her midriff exposed. But come on. Last time I looked, people were forgiving Oscar winner Adrien Brody for losing his mind in the presence of the most beautiful woman in the world. So why is the most beautiful woman in the world worrying--in public--about whether her body meets the beauty standard?

Fear not. Berry started training, got herself into shape and when she put that cat suit on she felt, to use her words, "really empowered." I find this confusing. It's true that someone like Berry has the good fortune to be able to get into shape in luxe style. She'd have a personal trainer giving her the proper regimen and a chef making her gorgeous little nouvelle mouthfuls so that the weight-losing process might be relatively painless. But still, she felt bad about herself, pounded herself into shape, and put on a revealing costume that she now calls "empowering. …

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