Anorexia is the new cocaine someone told me. At first one cannot see the correlation between a drug and an eating disorder, but the more you observe the ‘Ana-Girls’ as young anorexics like to refer to themselves as in blogs online, you begin to see how the self-destructive habits of those girls mirror those of junkies.
But what makes anyone reach that point? Are they really seeking the perfect body? The frightening revelation is that most anorexics truly believe that if they’re able to reach their (often distorted) image of perfection, everything else in their life would be perfect. They tend to see their bodies as the reason behind why they achieve their goals. That is why they begin to manifest a love/hate relationship with their bodies, one where they’ll spend hours attempting to look meticulously perfect but then will punish themselves with weeks of fasting on end.
Is the media really to blame? Some claim that the image of beauty that the media presents is unrealistic but that many women will still strive to achieve at all costs. Every era has had their beauty idols, be it Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett, Pamela Anderson, or Kate Moss. Women have always wanted to emulate the beauty idols of their time leading us to think that it isn’t a recent phenomenon.
Art is deceiving as photographs and videos are photoshopped, airbrushed, and manipulated in ways to make the artist appear taller and more beautiful than they really are in real life. I discovered this when I met some of these so-called beauty icons at a festival a few years ago. In photographs and videos women like Jessica Simpson, Geri Halliwell, and Britney Spears all appear slimmer, taller, and with flawless complexions. Such isn’t the case when they’re not gracing the covers of magazines or appearing in seductive videos. The beauty idols that the Ana-Girls starve themselves to death trying to emulate in reality are shorter, chubbier, and have blemished complexions. Clearly there’s something wrong with this picture.
Maybe the problem isn’t the speculation of a distorted body image that the media tries to sell but rather the chimera that these idols are indeed perfect. Idolization is a bigger crime than one may think. Perhaps the Ana-Girls should be educated on the fundamentals of the Hollywood dream. Anyone can appear bigger than life when the miracle-workers lurk behind the scenes.