Saturday, November 21, 2009

Facials, Kate Moss and About-Face

One thing that I really enjoy in life is a good facial. They are surprisingly relaxing and do wonders for moisturizing your skin :). I was getting a long overdue facial yesterday afternoon, and Angela, the greatest esthetician in the tri-state area (call Mina's in Chapel Hill to get an appointment with her- I'm a big fan of Mina's and apparently Tyler Hansborough is also, who I saw getting his haircut there once..) mentioned that she had been reading my blog. We had such a great conversation about the myths/misperceptions about eating disorders, and the way that our culture and the media deal with the issue of weight and appearance. It was so refreshing to hear her express some of her thoughts, and to hear a voice speaking truth about eating disorders as mental illness- because that is what they are.

As our conversation evolved, we began discussing the comments Kate Moss made recently in an interview that she has since been getting blasted for in the media for making (we were probably mid-facial at this point- haha). For those of you who are unaware of what she said, I hate to bring it to your attention- but when asked if she has a slogan which she lives by, she answered "nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Not only was this comment irresponsible, as she is a public figure whom society/the media/the fashion world has deemed beautiful, and who many women look up to and aspire to be like, she is a mother to a 7-year old girl. The implications of her comments are extremely damaging in more ways than I can count. This is a slogan which has inspired many pro-anorexia websites, and is just a very, very destructive way for anyone's thoughts or actions to be guided. Not to mention the values that such a statement reflects. She has since said that her words were taken out of context- and while I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt, I am not sure how those words in any context might mean something different.

Just to be clear, the point of this blog post is not to demonize Kate Moss. I guess it just got me thinking about the media's response to her comments-- I just googled her name and 'her slogan' together, and 487 news articles have been written since she made these comments a few days ago. What I find ironic about this is that the media, who has pretty unanimously rebuked her for making these comments and have said what a horrible influence she is for essentially encouraging and endorsing eating disordered thoughts and behaviors, is also the same source who made her a household name by splashing her unattainable and sickly image everywhere. I think its a very indicting commentary on the mixed messages that the media dispels. What it seems to me that the media communicates is that the explicit message (her slogan) is not acceptable, but the implicit message (how she looks, appears, etc) is. It is a very confusing dichotomy, and one that continues to perpetuate unhealthy body image and unrealistic expectations and standards for young girls and women of all ages.

If you recognize and identify with what I am talking about in regards to the confusing ways the media projects values, I recommend that you check out a website called About-Face. This is an organization whose mission is to "equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful messages that affect self-esteem and body image." This site is not solely for females- if you are a male, you certainly interact with females (as friends, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, etc) and would benefit as well. You can access the site by clicking here. For 10 helpful tips on ways that you can work towards challenging these mixed messages and empowering yourselves and others, follow this link.

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