shock me like an electric eel

31 03 2008
Just stumbled upon this (http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23367629-5006007,00.html) article today which reminded me of a similar article I had written last year based on this (http://www.macleans.ca/homepage/magazine/article.jsp?content=20070409_104111_104111) article. The writing was a bit rushed for it (class daily deadline) but you’ll get the idea. Enjoy.
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Who is healthy and what is sexy has recently become a renewed debate raging everywhere from message boards to movie sets to modeling agencies. With the introduction of the waif-look by Twiggy in the seventies, its resurgence in the nineties by Kate Moss, and now by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe – many fear the pressure to be super-thin is out of control.

The female obsession with weight, shape and dieting has become so common that it is now considered a normal female behaviour. Many outside influences such as family, peers, schools, athletics, health care professionals, and most strongly, the mass media, have begun to reinforce this perfectionist ideal.

One of the most controversial and commonly discussed culprits according to celebrity bloggers is celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Perez Hilton, online blogger known as the “Queen of all Media,” claims that Zoe provides her long list of celebrity cliental – which includes Micha Barton, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie- with substances from crystal meth, prescription ADHD drug Adderall XR, and most commonly clenbuterol (a breathing medication for horses.)
Clenbuterol specifically melts fat in the body. It acts as a stimulant to the heart and nervous system, raising a person’s metabolism therefore burning more calories. This very dangerous drug has some very nasty side effect as well, which include sudden ballooning weight gain in some cases where the body is trying to combat the sudden fat storage losses. The Los Angeles Times has even gone as far as accusing Zoe of single handedly bringing anorexia back o the mainstream.

Recently, Zoe has been publicly fired by her “lollipop stars” Nicole Richie and Lindsey Lohan, both of whom have gained weight since becoming independent. Richie even went as far as to overtly accuse Zoe in a blog that was published on her myspace site.

Women are exposed to more media images today then any other time in history. Not only are the images presented though mass media negative and objectifying women, but the female ideal weight also seems to be progressively decreasing. Models were first “slimmed down” in 1947, weighing in at an average of 125 lb. In 1970, an average model was 5 ft 8 in. and weighed a mere 118 pounds. This figure has continued to decrease with time, as the standard is getting progressively
taller and thinner.

Young girls now see celebrities getting thinner as they become more famous, which sends a message that it is unnatural to be naturally sized. On average, movie stars have 10% body fat, while normal women have 25%.

Young models who suffer from eating disorders is an ancient topic. What is new however, is the alarming number of young models suffering and yet they continue to work. The root of the problem stems from the fact that most models do not believe they are suffering from a disorder. They believe that by subjecting themselves to intense self-regulation is a part of the job in order to maintain their “body capital” and they do so without acknowledging the consequences. Twenty years ago, models’ body weight was 8 percent below the average and now, it is 23 per cent below the average. Having to compete with younger, thinner models and not deviating from the ideal dimensions (34-24-34) can cause much strain and stress on the models – and quite frequently, they are tempted to resort to external measures to maintain their figures.

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