Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thinspiration: Trending #thinspo Amongst Women

Underneath the caption reads, "I want to be this thin."
The woman in the photograph is so light, balloons hold her up. The picture was taken off a social media site. Underneath the caption reads, "I want to be this thin." On many media sites #thinspo represents the "Thinspiration" movement. Young women post pictures of themselves, often without their faces, just their slender, lovely bodies in a secret and conspiratorial cult of skeletal waifness. They are networking to encourage each other to remain thin. Is this something that should spark our outrage?

Having been obese all my life, yo-yoing 12 times with extreme swings of weight gain and loss, I've resented the global social culture for embracing thin. In my mind I've racked myself with envy of skinny bitches for their beauty and apparent fullness of life. I know how important being thin is. For a woman it is the difference between life and death, between joyfulness and grief. The misery of a fat woman is to sorrowfully wallow in fat denial, while overeating to mute the pain of guilt. Fat becomes a god and supplying its maw and starving the soul becomes a living death. That was what it was for me.

Being overweight and/or obese is a physical hell. It is a never ending emotional self- torture. You wake each and every day overblown with guilt and the resolve to diet. The intent becomes a fait accompli because you never weigh yourself to get a baseline to begin, putting off the diet until a tomorrow that never comes. Guilt increases, self-hate escalates, cowardice and depression augments. The result? You eat more and get fatter.

So I understand how such a "thinspiration" movement IS FASHIONABLE amongst young women and many women who recognize all too horrifically how the culture treats fatties. These young girls, like their mentors in the media, crave to be beautiful on a galactic scale so that it hurts the viewers' eyes. To produce that result, since it is not necessarily the appearance of the face but "the uber thin body that is deemed beautiful," they deny themselves highly caloric foods, i.e. junk foods, fast foods, desserts, dinners, lunches, breakfasts, etc., or hit the toilet bowl with their vomit. They sample a few small bites of steak and four green beans to maintain their size zero skin tight jeans figure. They have no fat rolls, fat back, bulbous, sweat rubbing thighs, ungainly balloon boobs or crinkles of cellulite. And if they take laxatives, and daily exercise their fingers down their throats to be the bony pride and joy of brothers and boyfriends parading them as the status stunner? A BIG SO WHAT!

Taken from a Twitter site I stumbled upon: there is a reference made to being thin enough for a belly ring.
They have elected LIFE over FAT DEATH. And who are we to judge, condemn, criticize IF we live in this culture that celebrates such an existence? Of course, black is white, red is green, up is down and evil is good. I do not dispute what these young women have been compelled, almost to the extent of slavery to do. I dispute the culture that influences them through overt or surreptitious messages. Either they live the thin lovely or imperil their social existence. The culture places them in a horrific choice between Scylla or Charybdis. Die slowly as you starve yourself physically to appear beautiful: accepted, petted and loved. OR  Live and eat but choke and die socially, because you will be heavier than your peers and most likely be borderline overweight, even obese if you begin the indulgent wheel and woe of guilt, self-torture and muted pain that you have lost your edge in overweight oblivion. Is there a balance?
This was posted on a site to show how desperate and anorexic a woman was. Comments were underneath the photo. Young men thought this woman's body was gorgeous. Comment after comment of young men thought she was stunning and seeing the bones were great. They were serious. Finally the woman who posted the photo said this woman had anorexia and was very sick. She posted the photo that reason. Thinking otherwise was wacked. I agree. This is concentration camp time.
 Can one be just thin and eat? If one wants to look like the beauties in the media that are prized, lauded and celebrated. No. And that is where #thinspo comes in.

Thinspiration women are the most compelled and enslaved in our culture. The trend spans economic classes. Indeed, very wealthy women embrace thinspiration. They have chosen life and success, DUH! have they not?  #Thinspo women create a network of like-minded bonies who prevent them from falling into the statistical pool of America's obese and sedentary. Everywhere we turn, junk food and fast food restaurants corner us with fare that's cheap, plentiful, in your face delicious, highly caloric, and deadly for a woman's happiness quotient. This is the stuff that when ingested, is finger food vomited up. So to combat this war on the thin by the industrial food complex which encourages obesity, thin women post photos of skeletal women on their websites and pinboards with sayings underneath like, "Isn't this worth denying yourself for?"  And "better to starve and be thin than feel full and be a fat pig."
This is taken from a Pinterest page
Eating disordered? Well, the overweight think so, of course. But folks, these girls can look in the mirror and leap for joy. They turn men's heads. Their reflections in store windows don't hold an obnoxious surprise. They get boyfriends, lots of them. They cause the swarms of hungry male looks. They can go to a size 2 or size 0 clothing rack and select amazing outfits and everything they try on looks fabulous. They can sport belly rings on flat stomachs and see-through flimsy shirts with bra straps flying out and LOOK COOL. They are to be envied. They are beautiful. They are photogenic. They belong in advertisements on TV and in print. They have an edge. They are IT. Their bodies are supreme and the hot, super great guys want THEM and not YOU. You get the leftover guys who are a hassle to deal with, the pain in the ass, the neurotic, the economically deranged or the one who expects you to be like his mother.

Truly, thinspiration girls are perceptive and realistic. They know how to go far in this culture which lauds uber waifs. They've seen how the fat kids are drubbed to the outer abyss, their egos so flogged they are shell shocked and debilitated for life. They know that fat is death and resignation. They know they must fight for the life equation to remain slender, young, beautiful. And who dares to tell them different is telling them a lie because the culture is reality. And THE REALITY IS HORRIFIC.

Only if we change the culture so that outer appearance doesn't matter, so that being thin is not equated with beautiful, so that being BMI 18.5 is not equated with an abundant life, can we stem the need for "thinspiration" woman. If enough women, with celebrities in the forefront stand up and refuse to be oppressed and enslaved by a soul annihilating culture which fosters the appearance of dealth-like skeletal women and touts them as goddesses of life, will the earth's axis tilt toward health, freedom and emotional balance. If enough celebrities and others decry the industrial food complex that promotes overeating and obesity with a legion of unhealthy, cheap food product, will wellness be restored and the alignment toward health be made. Then maybe, just maybe will  nutritious, non-processed, fresh and locally sourced food, (expensive and made to appear unappealing by the food complex) become more in demand and thus cheaper. And just maybe this elixir of life and wholeness will inspire the overweight and obese to trend healthy weight loss. And just maybe will we be able to expurgate corruption, modify our culture and shift the paradigm so that right is right, black is black, white is white.

FYI  Additional and related links and sources:


Amberr Meadows said...

I'm sorry, but these waifish thin bodies just look gross. A skeleton can be decorated with jewelry like that girl's belly ring, but it doesn't look good on one. My husband prefers me voluptuous and curvy, or we'd be divorced. Embrace the bod--whatever shape you are.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks for your comment, Amberr. I do hope women begin to take a stand against the skeletal images. Some are...many feed into it. I actually think it will get worse before it gets better.

Anna L. Walls said...

I never went for the diet stuff even though I gained a little every year, ending up at just over 200 pounds. With the life I lead, if a diet even mentioned eat right and exercise and this pill or whatever will help you melt the pounds off, I knew it was all bogus. Then my girlfriend who was well over 300 pounds tried this hcg stuff (she did the shots cause that's what was out first). It took several rounds (don't know how many), and some frustrating stalls, but she is now loads healthier and somewhere around 150 pounds. I haven't asked for a while so I don't know exactly where she is. Anyway, weightloss wasn't her only success with hcg but all that would make this comment too long and I want to share my success. I tried one session and lost 50 pounds. I didn't have the health issues my girlfriend had but I feel tons better. I also watch what I eat and have discovered some of my favorites that tick up the pounds so I have cut them back to the occasional treat. Over this winter, I gained back 10 of those pounds but paying attention to what I eat and what makes me tired has made a tremendous difference. Maybe I'll do another session this coming summer - maybe now. Time will tell. All I can say is it worked for me, and it worked for many other friends. But you can't just do a session and then forget it and go back to the way it was. Go really slow after you finish and watch your weight closely. If you eat something that makes you gain, stop eating it.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Hey Anna,
Thanks for sharing. It is difficult to maintain weight loss...I think even harder than to lose weight. So any weight that you have kept off is fabulous. What is the HCG that you are referring to?

I have lost 110 pounds. I started by doing the Master Cleanse to see if I had any allergies. Reintroduced foods in slowly and found that I was negatively impacted by all flour products, regardless if they were bleached flour or wheat, etc. Flour is like crack and it bloats me and makes me asthmatic. So now, I eliminate that and other things. After 2 years the weight came off and I have been OK. It's important to feel well. I am still angry that the culture pushes skinny down our throats...I don't know if I will ever get over feeling inferior because I was fat.

Again, thanks. I so appreciate your response. Maybe we can cross blog at some point. Will keep in touch.


tamylee said...

Wonderful write up! So sad that our culture continues to lead women down a self-distructive path, and that we as women follow them. Women who are skin and bone are unhealthy. I have known several who died way to young.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks, Tammy Lee. That is horrible that women died attempting to live up to a warped image. I am just so annoyed and furious about it. Pinterest is banning such pins this week, but I really don't know how they are going to police the ban. There are many pins still on boards. Twitter has no problem with it. So much more needs to be done.

Margo Dill said...

I second what tammylee said, and those photos are gross to me--especially the balloon one. PLUS I don't buy it. Cameras can do anything. But some young girls will. UGH! UGH! UGH! Thank you for your post.

Carole Di Tosti said...

I think the girl is being held up on a shelf, actually. The thing that is sad is that I got if from a live Twitter feed of anorexics that I stumbled upon. I don't wonder that Twitter doesn't join Pinterest and Tumblr who are banning such posts and pins???

Thanks for your comment, Margo. Is there any way this blog site can be kept open and others brought to it (our WOW blogging class???) Are you hearing from the others? Or am I the only dweebly good student? lolol

Unknown said...

Thank you for stopping into the VBT Cafe'. I am following you back and this was a great post! I too have struggled with my weight my entire life, and sometimes I think it's just in our genes. I will never be a size 0, but you make some awesome points. although, as an artist, I do love the girl floating via balloons in the art aspect :).

Thanks for sharing,

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks BK, for your post. I agree about the artistry of the picture a girl floating carried by the balloons. Of course, the comment underneath is unsettling. This is a tremendous allure...that light, light as a feather. I have to check Pinterest to see if they actually took down pins to #thinspo.

Take care...see you on the tour.
;-) Carole said...

Great piece. As the father of a young woman who is conscious of her image, I can only agree with your assessment. The peculiar thing, from a male point of view, is that we, as men, rarely find skinny women as attractive as those with some curves and flesh to cover their bones. It makes you wonder exactly who the advertisers are hoping to attract.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks for your uplifting reply. I wish every woman could internalize your words and not feel upset about her body image or be unhappy with one way or another. Advertisers like to keep women off their balance points to motivate them to buy product or "lose weight" to keep the profits coming.

Woman know this but are compelled anyway.

Anonymous said...

The pressure that is put on all of us with the appearance status is tremendous. It takes a lot of doing to concentrate on the healthy side of losing weight, ie. controlling bp and cholesterol. Even after I have lost 86 lbs now (and I am by no means "skinny"), I still have to wrap my mind around feeling healthier, not just the appearance issue. Just found your blog and will definitely follow it.

Carole Di Tosti said...

It is so true Katrin. I really feel for women who have to grow up in this environment. Congratulations on your weight loss. Let us continue to encourage each other toward health...and balance, not appearance.

Thanks for sharing your story and keep in touch. Let me know how you are doing.

Jenny said...

Hello and THANK YOU for drawing this out of the shadows. I have a beautiful friend who is wasting away and it scares me. I, on the other hand, have been obese for most of my life...I know why it happened and now, at 51 yrs old...I'm ready for the weight to come off. I joined Team Beachbody and am doing light exercises and am eating MORE food than I ever have before...on 1700 calories a day and vegetarian..I'm happy. It's comoing off slowly, which is what I want and I'm feeling stronger and am getting ultimate nutrition in a shake called Shakeology-...drinking that shake got me off my blood pressure about six weeks....I'm happy and wonder how these girls can think being skeletal is or angers me and I fear for their lives.

Carole Di Tosti said...

The culture is relentless and cruel and dual. On the one hand there is processed food/convenience food/junk food/pink slime and relentless advertising of convenience foods and cereals and desserts. On the other the culture of thin which promotes #thinspo and anorexia and eating disorders. For me it has been a terrible frustration.

But I am so proud of you changing your eating patterns and habits and becoming healthier and embracing good nutrition. It is never too late to become healthy. Congratulations. You have every reason to continue that you don't need the medication. That is fabulous. I was overweight or obese most of my life and only when I came to the end of myself, was I able to realize how and why I overate. Only then was I able to modify it very, very slowly and take the weight off in two years.

During the process, I also discovered an allergy to gluten and all flour products...deadly for me. It's like if I have two bites of bread or two bites of anything made of even whole wheat or whole grains, that it's like crack. My appetite sensors get fried and I'm clueless as to whether I'm full. I will keep on eating even if my stomach is on overload. Once I realized that...what a difference. Now I don't crave or want any flour products; I prefer fresh vegetables, fish, dairy (organic) eggs (free range) cheese (raw milk) with as little processing as possible. The processed additives played havoc with my immune system all these years.

Anyway, if you ever want to guest post about your experiences here, it would be wonderful. You are a success story. I am thrilled and I pray all blessings for you. The wonderful health and strengthening of you immune system will increase as the weight comes off and your strength and confidence that you can do it will lead you to completed success.

Keep in touch. You are an inspiration.

Thanks for sharing and connecting.
Ciao for now,

Anonymous said...

I am glad to be a large woman as I was slim when I was a young adult, due to my metabolism. (NOT rib-revealing thin then). I do like my body as ample too.
Now I need to lose some of my curves for health reasons. I find that when I live on my own, I can relax, take more time to prepare healthful food for myself, and don't need to eat comfort food, as I am at peace.
This is also due to more motivation to meditate, as I recently moved to a spiritual community. Decaf green tea and more salad helps too!

Anonymous said...

p.s. I neglected to sign my name for the comment from Anonymous.

Suzy Paluzzi here!

Anonymous said...

AND, I also forgot to mention my blog, as we were taught in Margo Dill's class. : ) (W.O.W.)

It is


(And thanks for this forum about our body image.)


chickangell said...

As a tween I battled with body image. At the time all the girls were talking about (I can't believe I'm 83 lbs," and I couldn't remember weighing under 100 lbs! What I did not realize at that age was that I was nearly half a foot taller than these girls. I was a C-cup when these girl's were padding their bras. Looking back, I had the perfect figure. But I thought I was fat and started cutting back calories. I was eating an average of 800 cal a day for just over a year. Then I realized that I was borderline anorexic (not in the weight, just calories) and tried to eat "healthy" and got fat. The next fifteen years were spent yo-yo dieting and getting bigger every time. Today I am 6'2, just over 300 lbs and consume an average of 2,000 cal a day (trying to recover my metabolism) What is important is not how much I weigh, but the fact that other than my weight, I am the picture of health. I work out every day, I am active with my kids and husband. I have more energy (and muscle mass) than most guys. I am proof that you can be fat AND fit.

Carole Di Tosti said...

Thanks so much for your reply. I agree with you that you can be fat and fit, well to a certain degree. I played tennis during the times when I was fat. It helped and I did not look as heavy as I was. But I couldn't go up 5 flights of stairs without panting. I was winded on the courts. How do I feel now? Much, much better. I do not get winded climbing stairs. I do not get winded on the courts. I feel 100% better. The most important thing for me was how I felt. I, unfortunately, was very, very depressed being overweight and fat. That's me. That is not everyone. So I am so thrilled for you that you feel great, you are fit and are happy with yourself. That is THE most important thing. The last thing about me was that I was an addict...with breads, flour, pasta...and after I ate it I felt sluggish and would sleep. Turns out I discovered an allergy. Now, I stay away from the more asthma, thank God. So you see, my issues were different from yours. ;-)

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see women become enslaved to these illusory forces. It's also ironic that you can starve yourself as a choice in a 1st World country

Carole Di Tosti said...

You are so right. It is immoral to starve oneself, it seems, by choice for appearance sake though one has money to eat. I could understand if it were for religious or political reasons to force powers to relent, much like Gandhi did, but in this way it's an irony as you said and very sad. Thanks for your observations. Thanks for joining blog.

DTaRelle F. Tullis said...

Wow this is such a wonderful and thought provoking discussion that more people need to be involved in. This is one of the reasons why I am starting out with children and helping caregivers provide their children with a foundation in healthy eating, an enjoyment of getting their bodies moving( not just exercise ) and developing a healthy self esteem and self confidence.
I am really hoping and praying that this preventive method will create happy, fit, smart and confident adults that will not feel the need to be presssured by the constant bombarding of images that are not healthy to obtain or maintain.

Carole Di Tosti said...

What you are doing is vital. I wish you and I and others could continue. If I knew where to begin I would create a petition or start a political action committee that would promote healthy appearance and end the photoshopping and fake Barbie "doll" look, embracing the Everywomen. Women are not "dolls." I don't really know what to call it...Down with False Images, Up with Health," or whatever. Don't really have a lot of time, but in any case, whatever you can do to help young girls and women feel better about themselves is great.
Thanks for sharing and for your kind words.


Anonymous said...

All of the comment show that 90% of you have so many issues with live not just your weight. I am of a very normal weight. 5" 7" and 125 lbs. I am 53 years old.
I prepare all my meals at home. I only eat 1200 to 1500 calories a day. Take a few vitamins. Do some walking. That is what I have done since I was 16. What my Home Economics teacher taught in the 1976. No junk food. Eating is only what I do to say alive. It is not the focus of my life.

Carole Di Tosti said...

You are very fortunate. I unfortunately was raised on pasta and I have a flour allergy...and addiction. I found it out after obesity and the age of 59. You do not have that problem. You probably have other issues you must cope with. No one gets out of life walking between the raindrops.

But in any case, it took me a very long time to discover what I had to do to get around the problem. I finally learned and I can say I am finally free. It's like I've been released from a prison where I was tortured every in the film Midnight Express or like the film Papillion. I can only use the image of prison to say what it was like. And you have helped me strike the metaphor to remind myself of what it was to try to convey it to you
Thanks for that and thanks for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

First I think you're too kind to these thinspirational sites.

What do you really know about the webmasters? Some will say they are about self improvement and all forms of beauty. Hogwash.

Girls are cajoled into posting pictures of their bodies so fat men can have fun. Don't kid yourselves.

Jeanne said...

I'm sure my personal trainer in Perth would not approve of this. It is sad that the society places skinny women on a pedestal when in fact there are serious health risks acquainted to it. But like any other trend, let us hope that this will soon end.