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Monday, April 7, 2008

What’s So “Beautiful” About Being Thin?

Mary-Kate Olsen, who played Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House, went to rehab because she suffered from the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. She was 18 years old. She was also a walking skeleton, literally. Unfortunately, she did not see that; instead, she saw a horizontally-challenged person who was too fat!

Mary-Kate Olsen, however, is not an isolated strange case: there are many out there that do not appreciate who they are. They are the victims of a society that classifies people according to appearance: these days, being thin is beautiful and if you are not, then you are UG-GEH-LY.

The models of today’s fashion shows are appallingly stick-thin. Why can’t normal-sized models – or even plus-size models, for that matter – strut their stuff on the runways? Is there anything wrong with models that actually look and are healthy? Fashion icons like Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham are so skinny that, to read, they need both hands to hold a book. I wonder why they are so popular: what do people see in them besides their over-rated reality shows of the rich and I-don't-know-what-to-do-but-starve-myself lives? And too many shops cater to the skinny crowd. Where are the un-thin people – namely, ME – supposed to find nice clothes that actually fit?

I think the problem is that people haven’t learned to think for themselves. The media influences us tremendously, especially our conception of what is beautiful and what is not. In every kind of media – television, magazines, newspapers, and billboards – thin, flawlessly attractive waifs advertise a variety of products, so it’s no wonder that girls as young as 12 are not eating properly. I had a friend who was already as thin as anyone could get, yet she was still not satisfied. Every time she had a meal, she made herself vomit. Once, she told me that she weighed 46 kilograms; she was hysterical because she wanted to weigh less than 45 kilograms. I had to reassure her – about a million times – that she was far from overweight. I got her to eat a chocolate bar – and even then she made me share it with her. We were 13 years old at the time! Does it not scare you that more and more young girls these days are suffering because they want to be like their stick-thin “role models”?

Many people have the wrong perception on fat. It is actually very beneficial to us, a vital dietary requirement but not TOO much though. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, so without fat they cannot be absorbed by the body to give you that healthy, perfect skin and silky soft hair that we all desire. Please do not be fooled by the magic of the technology used by advertisers: stick-thin models who look like they’re “all that” aren’t exactly “all that” at all. It is all thanks to make-up artists and air-brushing. And did you know that fat serves as a buffer against a host of diseases? According to a study conducted by Samuel Henderson, and colleagues from Belgium, people who do not consume any kind of fat are more prone to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Imagine forgetting the names of those you love and care about just because you wanted to fit into a size 0! Honestly...

There is a lot more to life than being thin. Pink’s song, “Stupid Girls”, deals with how girls all over the world compete to be the biggest bimbo. Even girls who are thin and beautiful think of themselves as fat and ugly. No one really sees inner beauty anymore: we are all judged – and judge – by how we look, and if you do not cut it you are stereotyped as a wannabe or a loser. My advice for every girl is to ignore the hype and to believe in your beautiful self. Be happy with who you are. Eating a burger is smarter than not eating at all. That being said, anyone up for a Big Mac?

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