Diamonds Are A Girl’s Crappy Backstabbing Friend

Hello readers, long time no see! Welcome back to my silly little blog!

Let me preface this by saying no I’m not engaged, no I have no plans of getting engaged, and no this isn’t some subtle attempt to get my boyfriend to propose. And no I’m not being ironic with that last part, I promise. I’d also like to preface this by saying I swear I started writing this weeks before CollegeHumor put out their wonderful little Valentine’s Day video about engagement rings. No, really!

However, due to the sudden holiday influx of wedding mania from newly engaged friends on Pinterest, I HAVE been perusing wedding-themed items and planning tips a bit more than usual. Enough that both Facebook and Google think that Brilliant Earth ads on my sidebar are appropriate (then again, visiting theknot.com just to look at my sister’s old page does the same thing, so I don’t think I’ve been looking that much). Why Brilliant Earth, you ask? Whelp, let’s just say I’m not a fan of crippling oppression, civil war, and human rights violations. But as I started doing a little more research, I found the following things:

1. Diamonds are SEVERELY overpriced (caused by a monopoly on them for so long by the De Beers Group).

2. Diamonds aren’t rare, we just think they are because we’re told they are.

3. Diamonds are pretty worthless, actually.

4. Diamonds as a symbol of romance is a psychologically fabricated illusion that’s only been in place for less than 100 years.

So that brings us to the question… Why the hell do I want a diamond in the first place?

Let’s focus on #4 shall we? Back in the good old days, in say, the 1920s, diamond engagement rings just weren’t a thing. Modern women (and men!) have been brainwashed into believing that diamonds are “forever” (a hardcore De Beers marketing ploy to get people to not try to pawn their rocks and find out that they aren’t worth, well, anything, and you just wasted three grand on a hunk of carbon). How many times in your life have you heard it espoused that diamonds are the ultimate representation of romance? That their indestructibility is the perfect symbol for everlasting love?

Ugh. Bullshit.

First of all, diamonds aren’t indestructible, they’re just really tough. Jewelers tell buyers all the time that diamonds can chip and break from a hard knock, or even from falling in the right/wrong place. We’ve arbitrarily put a ton of value, both economically and emotionally, on fused carbon that can be easily replicated in a lab. There are claims (by diamond retailers, of course) that lab-created diamonds, which I suppose are a good alternative to mined diamonds if you’re concerned about human rights and “blood diamond” issues, are simply not as “beautiful”  and don’t have the “fire” of a real (read: mined) diamond. (Also, what the hell is “fire?” Who came up with that crap? Oh, wait, probably De Beers.)

Let’s get one thing straight. If you have a diamond engagement ring, diamond jewelry, just fucking LOVE diamonds, I don’t care. You do you. What I’m trying to examine here is why we (let’s say, American women) feel the need to have a diamond engagement ring. The sad thing is, I’m not exempt. It’s this weird battle between my conscious and subconscious; it doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that DIAMONDS SUCK AND IF YOU GET ONE YOU’RE A SELLOUT (or any variation thereof), I still want one. Need one even. It just feels “wrong” not to. And even if I do finally reach that enlightenment of knowing and feeling that having a diamond is stupid and useless and wasteful, I guarantee that I will have friends and family that will judge me and — more importantly — my partner for not getting one.

It’s very similar to wearing a white wedding dress. We’ve put a lot of cultural significance into the need for a bride to wear white on her wedding day to symbolize her virginity and chasteness (ignoring the fact that it’s going to be entirely spoiled by her husband that very night — that’s another issue altogether). It’s just plain silly in the modern era to believe that a bride in white is a virgin. (I particularly love pregnant brides that insist on pure white, but that’s just me being spiteful.) Why do we feel the need to follow these antiquated and sexist traditions? I look at a blue or pink or gold (or even cocktail-length) wedding dress and my immediate thought is “TACKY BITCH”. That’s just not fair. And unfortunately, I have a similar reaction when I see a pearl or emerald or sapphire or onyx or opal or… you get the idea, engagement ring. It doesn’t matter how fantastically gorgeous that alternative ring might be, my gut reaction is one of aversion. And I hate myself for it!

I could take this from a cultural anthropology perspective and say that these traditions are what make us who we are in the modern world. A valid point, but it’s also entirely possible to change those traditions through paradigm shifts in how we see ourselves in the context of our material culture. But that’s fucking hard, and probably won’t happen in our lifetimes. In heterosexual relationships anyway, men will continue to buy women diamond rings because they know/fear the scathing response they’ll receive in response to anything else. (Sorry dudes.)

I’m not saying it’s inherently wrong to desire a diamond engagement ring, but rather that there are some serious problems with our expectation that future marriage needs to be represented by something so… inconsequential.

My solution? My usual one: goddamn quality communication. Talk to your partner about what you want, what they want, what you can afford together. One day, I might decide I don’t need an engagement ring at all, and wouldn’t that be awesome? But until then, I’m stuck in this rut of cultural expectation that I can’t consciously overcome. And it sucks.

_______

If anyone out there has a non-diamond engagement ring, I’d love to see it in the comments!! (Let’s call it exposure therapy, yes?)

Watch Me

Such a good fucking blog.

Make Me a Sammich

These three videos really sum up the past two weeks for me. Each provides its own perspective on the issue of sexism in geekdom, and each one is ultimately hopeful and inspiring. We need more of that in this discussion.

 

Fake Geek Girls

Angelina LB on the Tony Harris FGG screed and the phenomenon in general. Fabulous.

ALB is on Twitter and Facebook, too.

 

Sessler’s Something on #1ReasonWhy

Revision3 Games (Rev3) producer Adam Sessler uses his new show to shine a light on #1ReasonWhy. Very well done.

Follow Adam on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Anita Sarkeesian @ TEDxWomen

The pop culture critic and creator of Feminist Frequency explores the gamification of Internet harassment as she saw it in the hate campaign against her. Fascinating.

Follow Feminist Frequency on Facebook and Twitter.

Something’s afoot, people. I hear whispers from all over about meetings and events…

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Objectification for the Sake of Art (Or Vice Versa)

I haven’t written about figure modeling in a while. I just finished up my only scheduling of the semester (hence the lack of material to write about…), which was for a color composition class. Pretty simple schedule, gesture poses for a few minutes at the beginning, then a long pose for the remaining two and half hours. Easy peasy.

But this was the first time I ever actually felt uncomfortable posing for a class. Actually, not the class as a whole, just one particular student. No he didn’t leer at me or say anything inappropriate or try to take a picture (I mean, you can be expelled for that shit). No… he just made me feel… weird. Maybe it was the fact that I was laying down, one knee bent and vertical, the other bent and laying flat on the model stand. And this kid, his scrawny self with a bushy beard (hey I don’t have anything against beards, I have lots of friends made more manly by copious amounts of facial hair) sat himself directly at my feet.

Now, I’m about to talk about vaginas, so gentlemen feel free to look away.

You’d think as a figure model I’d have no problem with an artist looking at, or consequently drawing, my hoohah. But this time it just felt weird. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I didn’t even realize he was at that angle until after my first stretch break… Awko Taco… if ya know what I mean.

So I spent the next two hours feeling tense and uncomfortable, which really detracts from the whole experience. I mean, modeling isn’t exactly like laying on a bed of clouds; your limbs fall asleep and your hips and neck start aching long before your 25-45 minutes are up. Tight muscles and anxiety really don’t help.

So both days I’m feeling weird about this guy drawing me, especially when I sneak a glance at his paper and see how awkwardly and overtly sexual of an angle it’s at. It also doesn’t help that every time I get up to stretch he opens the door to outside to go smoke a cigarette. Cause he was a hipster of course. Did you know it was 45°F today? Yeah, not so cool man, I’m fucking naked. Not gonna lie, one of my toes went numb.

Yes I know I should have said something, especially about being cold. If you’re cold – or even tense – you’re more likely to move, which is not good for the artists. #1 rule of modeling? Don’t. Fucking. Move. I was extremely flattered when at the end of the session today one of the artists thanked me and said I was one of the only models on campus who could stay still for more than five minutes. That’s a really great feeling… but then again, I’ve been doing this for almost three years, if I hadn’t learned to stay still by this point, well, let’s just say I’d be a bit of a failure.

I don’t feel like I’ve ever mentioned the awkward parts of modeling, other than the simple act of taking your clothes off. Vagina aside, there are other parts of my body I really don’t feel comfortable with looking at in the mirror, much less showing other people. We all have those areas of our bodies that we don’t like, or that we wish could be more toned, less flabby, more attractive. If I’ve learned one thing from the artists though, it’s that the size and shape of your body matters much less to them than your ability to hold a pose. There is beauty in every curve, in every fold, in every inch of skin and muscle and bone. When a professor tells the students to emphasize the bony landmarks of my body (the sternum, the hips, shoulders, clavicles) to help create proper proportions, or to notice the curve of muscles in my back as I twist, or a myriad of other dynamic points of interest on my body, I feel respected as an object.

Yes, it’s strange to hear that a woman, especially a woman with generally feminist views, enjoys being viewed as an object, but I think you misunderstand. I’m not a sexual object, I’m an artistic object. Something to be viewed with curiosity, interest, and a desire to learn something about form, shadow, value, proportion, or temperature. I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination and I love listening to the discussions the students have with the professor and the advice he/she gives.

So I admit, I sometimes feel sexually objectified when I model, such as during this last session. I don’t like it, it doesn’t flatter me, and it definitely doesn’t make me feel attractive. But on the other hand, there are many times that I feel that my body has become an object of learning. A pathway on which students can develop a sense of their own artistic ability and talent. It’s not an altruistic feeling, just one that permeates my attitude toward the job (because yes, it is a job) and makes getting naked in front of strangers that much easier. I really hope that I can avoid situations where I feel uncomfortable with the artists drawing me. I’ve had one that snapped at my for wiggling my toes so my foot wouldn’t fall asleep (she was just a bitch, whatever), another who asked if she could take a picture with her phone because she hadn’t been in class for the first session (yeah… no.), and the guy this time. Perhaps I’m being to sensitive, but I honestly didn’t feel comfortable around him, even though I didn’t feel threatened.

Here’s to hoping my next session will be one of pure art and not one of sexualization for the sake of “art.” There’s far more that can be said on this topic, but I think I’ve rambled on enough and I should probably quit my bitchin’ for the day. Until next time!

Pink Is Not My Favorite Color

Once upon a time, as a little freshman trying to find her niche in college life, I decided to attend an informal recruitment event for an all-women’s organization on campus. Yes, I am the member of a National Panhellenic Council sorority. Does it surprise you? Did you expect to see a blonde, baby blue-eyed sorority girl in a pink, low-cut cashmere sweater sitting behind the words on your screen?

Well if you did, shame on you, because I’m not any of those things (and I don’t even own anything cashmere). For the last 3+ years I’ve been an active member and leader of my sorority, holding two separate Exec Board positions and having experience on the campus Panhellenic Council. Believe me when I say that this bitch has been involved.

Perhaps you’re wondering how in the world a nerdy, shy, nonathletic, nonsmoking and nondrinking, former band-geek got wrapped up in the Greek system – which is infamous for bitchiness, alcohol poisoning, and general catty skankity (and that applies to both the men and women). The only one of those criteria I had down-pat was the bitchiness, which I was trying to quell for the sake of making new friends. I won’t lie and say that I was lured to the initial event by the promise of sisterhood and manicure parties. Rather, I was tempted into going by this kinda-sorta-maybe gigantic crush on a femme bisexual girl who had announced the event at several of the introductory meetings of clubs I was trying to join (among them the Science Fiction/Fantasy Club, and our campus LGBT advocacy group). Not to mention, at least 1/3 of my female hallmates (including my roommate) had gone through the formal recruitment (rush) process and most had accepted invitations to join (bids). I was jealous, I’ll admit. My roommate was ecstatic about her new sisters and when she started hanging up her chapter’s letters on the wall, I was even more determined to see what the fuss was all about.

I still remember exactly what I wore to the sorority house that night. Draped purple shirt, skinny jeans (which was a huge step for me, as I hadn’t ever had the courage to wear them before college, too afraid I’d look like a land whale), and bright red flats. At the recruitment party, I was greeted by a 5-foot-nothing black girl with a huge, bright, and genuine smile who bounced a little when she introduced herself as the Recruitment Director. I didn’t have the slightest clue what that meant, but I smiled and nodded all the same.

I talked to a lot of women that night (one of whom would eventually become my Big Sister), though if you’d asked me their names I’d only be able to rattle off a few. I went home excited and more happy than I’d been in a long time. It was honestly the most I’d ever talked to people I barely knew for such a long period of time. Was it awkward? Yeah, a couple of times when the conversation lulled, but as long as someone brought up Twilight (which was just getting really huge at the time) there was always something to talk about.

I received a bid the next evening and accepted immediately. I’d already discussed the possibility of joining with my parents mom and it was established that I’d have to pay my own way. When I accepted my bid, I really honestly had no idea what I was getting into…

I had no idea that my sorority’s colors were pink and white.

I had no idea how much it would cost.

I had no idea that my chapter was unpopular on campus.

I had no idea what “sisterhood” meant.

I had no idea that it would be the best decision of my life.

No, I’m not kidding. Being a sorority girl has been the most influential part of my development as a young woman. I’ve learned how to speak in front of large groups, how to plan social events, how to mediate problems, how to manage and construct an organization’s budget, not to mention I’ve found a large pool of women from which to pick my bridesmaids one day…

My mom once said, “Of all of my daughters, you are the last one I would have expected to join a sorority.” I really think that’s a testament to how lucky I was to find a chapter where I felt at home.

Being a “sorority girl” doesn’t mean I go out to frat parties and get schwastey-faced until I end up in some dude’s bed. It also definitely doesn’t mean that I judge everyone by their appearance and the brand name of their shoes. I did not pay to have these friends (being Treasurer really opens your eyes to just how much money is essential to running any organization). Some of the stereotypes of sororities can be entirely true, but I firmly believe you can’t judge us until you’ve spent some time around us, maybe even living with us. My chapter, though small and struggling a bit in terms of membership, is full of vibrant and beautiful women who put their heart and soul into loving and supporting one another. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that will love me for life, no matter where I go or what I end up doing. I’m still me, just me as a part of something interconnected and special.

And my favorite color is still green.

The Marilyn Myth

Marilyn Monroe. The name itself evokes feelings of desire, speculation, and even disdain. Some women love her, some hate her. She’s reviled for her provocative image and drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention the suspicious circumstances of her death. Frankly, none of these things really measure up to the real impact she had on American pop culture. Don’t deny it!

What IS she thinking about?

What IS she thinking about?

This is a topic that’s been explored by many bloggers, health magazines, gossip columns, and the like. I just figured I’d rehash it all again, seeing as I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, and am having a marathon of all her movies Netflix will stream directly to my eyeballs (The Seven Year Itch is hysterical, just fyi – that’s the one with the famous dress blowing scene). Unfortunately, there are a million and a half misconceptions about Marilyn Monroe that are just plain false. And these misconceptions have given rise to this phenomenon whereby women these days justify their own behavior. And by behavior I mean justifying their lack of healthy lifestyle by telling themselves that Marilyn Monroe was their size.

You hear it all the time:

“Marilyn Monroe was a size 16!” Er… by what standards? U.S.? U.K.? Or how about the most important standards, those of the 1950s.

Based on measurements of dresses, and dressmaker records, you have to realize, numbers don’t lie. The following are average for her, as she definitely had some weight fluctuations (as we all do during our lifetimes), especially during times of depression.

  • Height: 5’5.5″
  • Weight: 118 lbs
  • Bust: 35″
  • Waist: 22″
  • Hips: 35″

Marilyn Monroe was a really beautiful, shapely, womanly woman (being called “womanly” is one of my favorite compliments to receive). She had an exaggerated hourglass shape, which was – and still is – quite rare. Look at her waist, 22″, which is a full 12 inches smaller than the average waist size today. She was even smaller than the average waist size of the 1950s. This woman was not plus-sized.

This quote is often used to perpetuate the “Marilyn Myth”:

I’ve always thought Marilyn Monroe looked fabulous, but I’d kill myself if I was that fat…I went to see her clothes in the exhibition, and I wanted to take a tape measure and measure what her hips were. She was very big – Elizabeth Hurley

Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley

Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok… So what does this really tell us? Marilyn Monroe was a larger than Elizabeth Hurley. Have you seen pictures of Elizabeth Hurley? Let me help you out.

She’s thin. Beautiful, also womanly, and a completely different body type than Marilyn. Elizabeth Hurley is also a full three inches taller. Different body, different weight, different everything.

Honestly – and we all know this – it’s a matter of perspective. But it doesn’t actually matter what size Marilyn Monroe was, because she was healthy. Check this shit. Goddamn she was beautiful. She also took care of her body, she tried to stay fit, even though she was suffering from mental disturbances, crippling stage fright, and a number of other problems. No, she wasn’t the epitome of health, but she was not a “natural beauty.” She worked hard to keep her image, such as it was, and was even somewhat ahead of her time in terms of trying to keep a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol and drugs aside.

Marilyn Monroe was a sex symbol of America, still is in fact. Hugh Hefner credits her with a great deal of the success of his magazine in its early days. You know what? She was happy with her body. She worked to keep it the way she wanted it, worked to be fit,

Yes, Marilyn Monroe’s thighs touched. So do mine, I bet yours do too. There are models whose thighs touch too, just fyi. See a previous post regarding ladies and their jiggly bits. 😉

But you know what actually matters? You feeling good about yourself. There are women out there, too many women, who aren’t happy with themselves and their bodies, and try to use their faulty knowledge of an idol to justify laziness? unhappiness? lack of motivation? I don’t know. But let’s stop lying to ourselves. Marilyn Monroe was beautiful, and by many accounts, content with her body. I’m not saying women should emulate her, as she certainly had a ton of problems we don’t even have a full understanding of. But we do insult to her memory by pretending that her “curvy” is the same as our “unhealthy.”

Remember! This isn’t about being thin. This is about being fit, healthy, and happy. Thoughts?

This Is Not A Workout Blog

I think the title pretty much says it all here. But then again, I’m NOT here to bash workout blogs, much less exercise. On the contrary, I love browsing workout blogs for concise tips on short strength and cardio routines. Makes me feel motivated and all that.

But this is what I’m here to complain about:

Wait, what?

Now before you start defending this ridiculous statement, understand that I DO recognize the sentiment here. Running, exercise, athletics, all of these things are great for your body (football tackles and concussions notwithstanding). But running until you don’t “jiggle?” I hate to break it to you ladies, to whom I’m sure this statement is referring, you’re never going to not-jiggle. You may tone your stomach flat, work your thighs into muscular machines of speed, fight underarm flab, and sculpt your back into something the gods would envy. But you won’t be able to attain not-jiggliness.

Reason? Our lady parts. No not those, the ones on your chest. Those things that were designed to feed them babies that you may or may not decide to have using your OTHER lady parts.

Jiggle Exceptions: super-fit Olympic athletes, those suffering from severe anorexia, female body builders (actually I don’t think male body builders have much jiggle left either, even in their dangly bits – sorry, I’m not getting too graphic am I?).

Again, I will state that there is absolutely, positively NOTHING wrong with wanting to be fit. Being healthy, fit, active, and strong are foolproof ways to extend your lifespan and increase happiness and life satisfaction. Science says so. The problem here is that “jiggle” refers to fat, straight up lumpy, bright yellow, sexually undesirable fat, and NOT to a lack of muscle tone. By wanting to run until I don’t jiggle, in this blunt expression, implies that I’m focusing on merely the physical. Not physical rewards like strength and endurance, but physical attractiveness, which is determined arbitrarily. I’m not calling anyone shallow (I kinda totally am), but pointing out something that might have gotten lost in our zeal to get thin.

Having spoken to my boyfriend – who henceforth will be referred to as “The Boy” – about these things, which might illuminate how men feel about skinny women. Bluntly he said that if I got “thin” he wouldn’t be as attracted to me. Why? Because he’d have nothing to grab onto. And yes, he meant exactly what you think he did. He can be so honest. But regardless, the point is that, as a man, The Boy is attracted to my body as-is and he has no desire to see me significantly thinner. I think his attitude mirrors those of many other men and women who like women.

Why do we want to be thin? Is it because we want healthy bodies, or is it because we’re afraid of the social consequences of not being thin? Perhaps this will ring true for some:

Believe me, the Cornucopia would be my first and only achievement

Be fit, be healthy, get those Olympic muscles and work yourself until you collapse just for the joy of it. Not because you don’t want to “jiggle.” At any rate, I take a great deal more inspiration from these last two memes/ads than I do from the first. Your reason for exercise is your own, but I just wanted to inject some food-for-thought into the conversation.

How do you feel about women and their sometimes misguided pursuit of exercise?

Feminist Sexism

***BIG EDIT: WATCH THIS NOW

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a happy reader of Cosmopolitan magazine. I think that it broke a great deal of ground on openness about female sexuality. I have a year’s subscription that I got for just $5 off Amazon during a sale. I generally enjoy reading Cosmo, but there are certain aspects of the magazine that I just can’t stand. The fact that a great portion of it only caters to straight women is just one of them (come on Cosmo, grow a backbone like Oreo!).

At any rate, I was finishing up reading the July issue (does it irritate anyone else that magazines come out the month before the date they’re labeled for? It’s like new cars that are called the next year’s model), which had Demi Lovato (yeah I’m gonna be honest I didn’t know who she was until now) on the cover in a hideous yellow zipper dress with cutouts, her obvious hair extensions blowing in the breeze. Headlines include “SEX SUN FUN,” “Sex He Craves,” and “Cosmo’s Weird Little Love Rule (It Works!).” I have to flip through four pages of ads before I get to the contents. Let’s turn to page 108, shall we, the “Weird Little Love Rule,” or, why I’m so pissed off right now. All quotes are directly from the article.

“Why He Should Love You – This Much – More Than You Love Him” (This Much in smaller type)

What. The. Fuck.

Excuse me, what did you say? My man should love me more than I love him?

First of all, Cosmo always, and I mean always, assumes that men who are complete assholes are the most attractive to twenty-something-thirty-something women. It’s “a lot easier to fall for the guy who doesn’t acknowledge your existence.” I’m sorry, but I actually enjoy being treated like a human being as opposed to a piece of ass, so stop encouraging us by including the topic in every article. This article apparently needs to assure the readers that a man who loves you more than you love him is still attractive and totally “doable.” Strike one for double sexism.

Secondly, it assures the readers that a man loving you more than you love him is putting the woman in a position of power. It assumes that women think men who are into them are clingy and needy, instead of just falling for them. Even when the article discusses how relationships fluctuate, having less feelings for the other person is considered having “the upper hand.” Like you’re competing with your partner and whoever is more cold-hearted wins. Ever heard of equality in a relationship? Strike two for double sexism.

Also, “experts agree that picking a guy who digs you about 10 percent more than you dig him is smart.” Smart. As in, if we don’t we’re doing it wrong. It must be true because “experts[!]” say so! Strike three for sexism against women, IN A WOMEN’S MAGAZINE!

The last, and perhaps the most frustrating issue I have with this article is that it emphasizes that men who are more into you than you’re into them let you be yourself from the beginning – instead of hiding your true self weeks, months, years before you’re comfortable around him. Did it ever occur to the writer, or the editors, that you should be authentic from the get-go regardless of whether he likes you more or not? If you’re authentic and he doesn’t like you, well sucks for you but at least you didn’t have to waste your time pretending. Strike… four(?) for double sexism again!

If you’ve read the article you may agree with me, you may not. You might feel that I’m oversimplifying it. Yes, it’s true that relationships ebb and flow with time. But authenticity is the most important thing. Cosmo fails in its mission to empower women with some of its articles, like this one, and promotes treating men like cattle. Sex tips are great, health and gynecological information is also awesome in Cosmo. But they should stay away from love because…

Who cares who loves who more in the beginning, the goal is to be happy, healthy, and in-love. It’s not a game. It’s not a competition between men and women. We cannot remove sexism from our society without acknowledging that men and women are EQUAL because they are HUMAN.

Thank you for reading!

The Starbucks Woman and Extremes of Beauty

I work in a strip mall right next to a fairly successful Starbucks. Naturally there is a wide variety of customers that stop in there, as it’s the only real Starbucks within reasonable distance of our tourist-town. Ever since I’ve been working next door there has been one woman who is at Starbucks at least once a week and stays for several hours at one of the outside tables.

I can tell that she’s drinking a diet Tazo green tea because of the watery, almost sickly color it has. My manager has seen her put just two Splenda no-calorie sweeteners in it, and has also heard from her hairdresser that this woman only eats three Peach Rings a day. The Starbucks Woman is always smoking, or at least has a pack of Marlboro Reds ready to go beside her, and she’s often writing in a lined notebook. None of this is particularly remarkable, but the thing that draws the eye is the woman herself.

She’s an anorexic.

I’m not saying that she’s skinny, and I’m not saying that she just looks sick. No, this woman is no more than skin and bones, and she is clearly on a down-hill road to death. I’m not exaggerating when I say she looks like this:

Isabelle Caro

Isabelle Caro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Above is a well-known picture of French model, Isabelle Caro, who died in 2010 from complications as a result of her anorexia nervosa. Frankly it terrifies me.

It scares me that this woman has become so pathologically obsessed with her weight that it’s killing her.

It scares me that there are countless other men and women in this world who reach this point and are unable to return.

It scares me that I could one day have a daughter that I won’t be able to save because society tells her that she is only beautiful if she is thin.

For Christmas I received Portia de Rossi‘s memoir, Unbearable Lightness, and I found it both poignant and frank. I’m a big fan of her anyway as a result of Arrested Development, and it was truly inspiring to see how she had been able to reshape her life as she stopped reshaping her body. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of how women can take pride in not eating. I’ve been guilty of it, just as millions of women across the world have been guilty of it.

I hope beyond hope that the Starbucks Woman doesn’t die, but I’m scared that one day she’ll just cease to appear outside with her tea and cigarettes. What is she writing? A memoir? A letter to friends and family? Or is she calculating her caloric intake for the day?

Eating disorders (especially anorexia) are often considered among the most difficult psychological disorders to treat, as success requires the motivation of the patient to gain weight, something they have spent a great deal of time and effort getting rid of. The mind of an anorexic patient has been twisted by the disorder so that they truly see losing weight as a necessary part of living. There have been patients committed to hospitals that must be restrained to their beds so that they don’t do sit-ups in the middle of the night.

Society doesn’t help, as it uses women’s bodies as a canvas on which to mold the ideals of beauty. With idealization comes extremes, and those extremes are what scare me the most. But society can’t be completely to blame. Eating disorders are just that: disorders. Disorders that need more research, more dedicated scientists trying to cure them, and more understanding of those suffering from them.

If you’re interested in learning more about eating disorders and anorexia nervosa, watch this documentary, Thin by Lauren Greenfield. Though the treatment practice may be somewhat controversial (in my opinion) the perspectives of the patients are invaluable in understanding some of the mechanisms underlying the condition.

If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, look here for help: National Eating Disorders Association

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