A few years ago Urban Outfitters sold a V-Neck shirt with the words “Eat Less” written in large cursive letters on the front. The price of 28 dollars does not compare to what the shirt was really selling, a glamorization of anorexia.
Anorexia Nervosa, the disease with the highest mortality rate among mental illnesses, affects millions of people around the world. This disease, for those of you who are not aware, is essentially depriving your body of food in order to either look skinnier or due to a need to be in control of what goes in your body. There are several types of eating disorders, including Bulimia Nervosa, the binging and purging of foods or other addictive substances through unnatural methods, such as induced vomiting, Orthorexia, the obsessive and unnatural need to eat healthy foods in such a way that interferes with daily life and living, and Eating Disorder NOS, which is described as Not Otherwise Specified, meaning that the eating disorder does not fit into a specified category. Out of these disorders, as stated above, anorexia is the most fatal and prevalent throughout society.
How can anorexia be fatal, one might ask? When you deprive your body of the essential nutrients that you need to survive, your body cannot produce enough energy for your heart to continue beating. Literally killing yourself to look skinnier. I’m assuming companies that thrive off of this disease would happily argue that this is the price of beauty. But should beauty’s price be starvation until an untimely death? I disagree.
America is bombarded by “ideal beauty” being defined as unnaturally skinny and flawless for women while the perfect man is described as thin and having abnormally defined muscles. The demand for artificial beauty is ridiculous in society and places like Urban Outfitters are not helping the problem at all. I have added a video below in an attempt to show just how far the fashion industry takes the human body out of proportion and twists it into what has become an unrealistic standard for women. The truth of the matter is that only five women in one thousand will have a body-type of an artificial supermodel, and this statistic includes those who have an eating disorder. “Real beauty” as defined by society, is unattainable and frankly impossible because our bodies are not built to naturally be the way people expect us to be, women and men alike.
So true beauty is not defined by how skinny we are, because the standard for beauty in that aspect is impossible. What then is true beauty, if not based on looks? It seems obvious, is it not?
JK Rowling once wrote, “Fat’ is usually the first insult a [person] throws at another [person] when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me”. When Rowling says “fat” she isn’t referring to weight at all, she’s referring to the insult that people throw at each other when they want to hurt one another. It is worse to be vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, or cruel than it is to be considered not perfect in the eyes of society, a position that I agree with completely.
When Urban Outfitters came out with their offensive shirt promoting anorexia, actress Sophia Bush responded with a shirt of her own with the words “0 is not a size” written on the front in an effort for people to understand that anorexia is not a fashion statement, it is a disease and, like every disease, there is a cure and we must yearn to find a cure before more lives are taken.
This being said, there is a distinct difference between taking care of your body (i.e. exercising, eating healthy foods [in moderation], and staying active) and not taking care of your body. Do not read what I am not saying. It is necessary for people to take good and quality care of their bodies, men and women both, but when people starve themselves in order to look skinnier or be more “beautiful” then they are not taking care of their bodies and should consult help.
In my closing statements I would like to say this, a quote from Sophia Bush herself on this topic, “Anorexia is a disease, not a fashion statement. Beauty has nothing to do with the size you wear, it has to do with what’s in your heart.”
So the next time you want to weight yourself or look in the mirror and say that you’re not good enough, not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, I want you to think about your standards of “beauty” and ask if those standards, those goals that you one day hope to achieve are healthy, if your idea of beauty is a true one. If you find that your standards are not realistic, if you realize that you can and will never truly be happy with yourself if you keep striving to obtain these goals, I encourage you to change your goals from being skinnier to being happier.