Review of “Cultural Obsessions with Thinness: African American, Latina and White Women” by Becky Thompson (No link available)
Being a woman, reading a story such as this is horrifying and it brings forth a great deal of anger towards society for me. Society has brought about such pain towards people that there are grave illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa.
Thompson describes these eating disorders, whether binging or purging, as ways to deal with these problems because they just simply are. Some of these woman described eating as a way to relieve stress and anxiety and food was something that no one could stop them from. It is an easy way to abuse something without having to be dysfunctional in society, like drugs and alcohol do.
Food is always accessible to those who decide to binge and food is something that no one can take away from them. It is an easy escape from reality to eat. It satisfies them and it creates a sense of comfort and among a mind where anxiety and stress are high, this escape is something so precious to them.
It’s scary to think that the woman who have been sexually abused and then turn into anorexics do so due to the fact that they think something is wrong with them and this is why they were assaulted. Being sexually abused created the notion in their mind that they were assaulted because they were too thin or too fat. Purging was comforting to them because it was nice for them to know that no food was digested and in turn, their bodies would begin shedding weight or keeping off weight.
Families seemed to be a big influence on these women and their thoughts about themselves. It was said that thinness, even sometimes heaviness, was what society wanted them to look like and if they did not look that way, they would then in-turn be looked down upon. Being thin gave the appearance of elegance and being fat gave the outward thought that the family could provide well. It’s these twisted notions that create such chaos in a young woman’s mind.
The only girls you ever see on TV that are regarded as beautiful and flawless are 100 pounds and under, have big boobs and flawless everything. Unfortunately society nowadays only seems to look with their eyes and once it hits the brains pleasure source, most do not delve deeper than the fact that there is a beautiful woman in front of them. The truth is most of these woman couldn’t make their way out of a paper bag, however, it is still a problem due to the fact that these barbie-esque women are held in such high regard.
Women want to go somewhere in life and they want to be something and because Barbie gets all of the attention, self-esteem becomes an issue. Among all races there’s a significant problem with image and what we should look like and how we should act and what we should eat.
Personally, it used to bother me much more and I used to be jealous of these women that get everything they want just because they are flawless and they are what society wants them to be. Now, I have a much different notion on the topic. To me, I believe that beauty is not just how you appear on the outside but it’s the knowledge that you gain that is so much more beautiful. If I meet a girl and she is much more attractive than I am, and I can’t hold a conversation with her, then I don’t feel bad. Unfortunately, I see these women as just objects as sad as that sounds. But, beautiful women to me are those who are intelligent, informed and kind. There is no beauty like the beauty of knowledge and respect.
Thoughts © Maria Campagna 2011