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Anti-anorexia campaign

The fatosphere is talking about an anti-anorexia campaign started by an Italian clothing company. Here is one discussion about it:

http://kateharding.net/2007/09/25/cheers-and-jeers-anorexia-n-models-edition/
The post contains a potentially distressing, NWS image.

I don't approve.
  • The ad encourages judgement of a woman's body to produce its emotional effects. The culture's obsessiveness about judging body shape and its belief that body shape/size can tell you at a glance how healthy a person is—this is a big part of what encourages anorexia and fat-phobia in the first place.
  • Plenty of people are going to look at it, say "Ew," and have no understanding that anorexia can also be a serious condition in people who are not skeletally thin. (In fact, if a person is fat, some of the same behaviors that anorexics engage in are often considered healthy and appropriate.)
  • People will dismiss it by saying "Well, that's icky, but can't you just eat a sandwich now and then, and still stay thin? I mean, it's not like you can't control what goes in your mouth."
  • Pro-ana sites are going to use it as inspiration.
  • News articles about the ad come with the more or less explicit message of "See, anorexia is ugly. The women the fashion industry uses as models are beautiful. Therefore, they aren't really anorexic, and the fashion industry has nothing to do with anorexia." (Never mind that if the woman in the ad were wearing clothes and makeup, she would look like a thin fashion industry model.)
I like how sweetmachine put it in a comment on kate's post:
"I have a really really strong aversion to any campaign, anti-ED or no, that says we should look at this woman’s body and feel disgust or horror."

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
keryx
Sep. 27th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
I've tried to avoid looking at the posts, cause people keep showing the picture. I don't want to look at the picture - because yes, I do react with revulsion & that bothers me.

It seems like the same thing as using fat, headless, caricatured images of fat people. The ad campaign isn't trying to make us believe that bodies can be beautiful at larger sizes, even - it's just trying to put a lower limit on the acceptable size range for women. I don't want to be taught to look at any body size as gross or disturbing.
firecat
Sep. 27th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
It seems like the same thing as using fat, headless, caricatured images of fat people.

Yes!
ailbhe
Sep. 27th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
I like the fitness measure Spain was putting on models for one show. But not this.
(Deleted comment)
pir_anha
Sep. 28th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
Re: Anti-anorexia campaign
no time tonight to read through that blog post and comments, but yeah, ditto to the strong aversion regarding judging a woman's health by superficially assessing her looks, and in fact, judging her looks as "disgusting", "ugly", "horrible" at all. i'm glad i don't feel revulsion for the model; i mostly feel pity for her because this is such an insiduous illness, and i hope it was actually empowering for her to do this job.

i do feel revulsion: for the company because there they are, pimping their label right next to the image of a woman who is, in part, probably so sick because of the fashion industry and its unholy influence on what society at large considers good-looking. i am cynical enough to think they're using this for the shock value. i'd believe in them being better than the rest the moment they start using models of all sizes in their campaigns. this just makes me extremely annoyed with them. it strikes me exactly like an anti-fat campaign, you know?

also, yes, this person looks clearly sick -- but anorexics are sick long before they look like this (and they might never look like this). i think the association is all wrong.

i don't really care about pro-ana sites using it for "thinspiration". they have no shortage of inspiration in this society, none; one image won't make a difference. (i am also sick of hearing pro-ana people hated on; they don't need the self-righteous persecution they've been getting lately one bit.)
cassidyrose
Sep. 28th, 2007 07:47 am (UTC)
Re: Anti-anorexia campaign
also, yes, this person looks clearly sick -- but anorexics are sick long before they look like this (and they might never look like this). i think the association is all wrong.

Absolutely. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for bulimics to have myriad severe health problems, some resulting in death, when they are still "normal weight" or "overweight". Regardless of the diagnostic criteria, the sickness of eating disorders is in the beahviors and the damage they do to the body and the mind, not necessarily the size of the body.
demonspawnmom
Sep. 28th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
On the other end of the extreme, has anyone noticed the shows on Discovery and TLC about the bedbound or hospitalized obese? Seems that our culture is obsessed with extremes. It's very sad.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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