I don’t give a shit about chocolate at all.

I’ve got an example of the switcheroo that I’m not quite sure what to make of, although I think I smell some misogyny in it somewhere. I’m sure I’ll find it by the time I get to the end of this blog, which I’m starting with no particular plan in mind.

Have you ever found yourself standing in your kitchen at 3 AM licking a plastic bowl in an obscenely sexual manner? Me either. Even if the bowl did, at one time, contain some kind of chocolatey substance. I think the reason I’ve never done that is that a) I don’t starve myself, and therefore b) I’m not obsessed with food of any kind. Apparently that isn’t the case with most women, or at least that’s what Betty Crocker would have me believe with her commercial for her Warm Delights (TM – ding!) line of microwaveable chocolate cakes meant to be eaten before they cool down sufficiently. Watch this if you need to stretch whatever muscles keep your eyes in place with a good rolling.

The women in this commercial are nothing short of fiendishly lustful when it comes to their bowls of molten cake. Honestly, I’m glad the commercial ends when it does, lest I be forced to watch one of these women rub the bowl on her crotch while grunting. Imagine that the women in this commercial were to be replaced by men. No fucking way, right? It’d be the funniest thing on TV. So what’s the deal with this shit? Why isn’t it strange for a commercial to feature a woman fondling an empty dessert bowl like it’s Mark Wahlberg?

I used to work in an office. Pretty much every office in the known universe has at least one person, usually a receptionist, who keeps a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on her (I don’t want to generalize or anything, but it’s a her) desk. That bowl without fail attracts swarms of women who, wishing to get away from their desks and bullshit with coworkers but not wishing to take up covert pot smoking, will descend on the bowl of chocolates and guiltily wolf them down. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard some woman moan and groan over a piece of cake or candy, lamenting the “sin” she’s committing by eating it in the first place: “Oh, I’m so bad! I really shouldn’t have done that. I’m going to hate myself tomorrow, but I can’t resist!” The fact that women are experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse as a result of eating something is absurd and points to a few troubling (and, I’ll admit, obvious) problems with women’s relationship with food and their bodies, and possibly even their conception of morality.

Fascistic beauty ideals lead to some serious problems. I’m beginning to feel like a propagandist, what with how many different ways I’ve had to word this same concept, but here goes: when a culture tells women that their worth lies in whether men want to fuck them, they’ll do whatever they think they need to do to increase the number of men having inappropriate and objectifying thoughts about them. Considering the fact that sexual manipulation is one of the only sources of power women possess, their tendency to go along with the fuckabilty mandate isn’t all that shocking. The kind of woman men want to fuck, as represented in mainstream media, is roughly a size two, so the message is fairly clear: if you want any of the limited kinds of power and esteem that women can gain in this society, don’t eat anything, especially anything that tastes good. Hence the obsession with the opportunity to eat fattening foods and the fact that these cake-eating women look close to orgasm in this commercial.

It’s perfectly acceptable for these women to behave lustfully with regard to food, which is odd considering the fact that they aren’t permitted to do so when it comes to actual sex.  Really, what commercial have you seen in which women are expressing sexual desire for something besides a bowl of sugar? I suppose it really isn’t much of a shock; women aren’t allowed to express sexual desire without being labeled sluts, so it has to go somewhere. Best direct it toward something that doesn’t threaten men’s control over the realm of sexuality. Something like cake.

I suppose I’ve figured out where the misogyny lies in the Betty Crocker Warm Delights switcheroo, and it’s even worse than I suspected. Many women are so indoctrinated with the “be fuckable or die” (that shit’s copyrighted, dude) ultimatum that they’ve lost the plot. There is nothing immoral about eating something that tastes good, even if it does become apparent that you’ve done so after the fact. There is nothing ethically unsound about nachos (they make vegan ones, you know). What’s ethically objectionable is harming your health and removing all the joy from your life in order to increase the number of Coors Light drinkers who want to pork you. Feel guilty about eating meat, or buying gas, or listening to house music, or liking Family Guy, but eat the goddamned cake and tell the world you aren’t signing up for the starvation plan.


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There is NO REASON to bleach your butthole.

I can’t even believe I’m writing about this shit. Actually, fuck that; I can’t believe someone came up with this. I thought I had heard everything when I found out about people cutting up and rearranging their vaginas (AKA labiaplasty), but now I’ve really reached a “holy shit, the world is going to end” moment.

Apparently, with the rise in the popularity of anal sex among today’s youth and the exploding popularity of anal porn (regular sex just isn’t sexy enough, man), the world has become increasingly aware of a serious problem that, luckily, chemicals can solve for us: the inappropriately-hued butthole. I’m picturing all sorts of scenarios in which this affront to aesthetics could come to light, and none of them are cute. They all revolve around a scenario in which a woman has been talked into “doing anal” despite her reservations about it, only to have the persuader stop and say, “Dear god, how can I be expected to do this thing that I made such a big deal out of getting you to do when your butthole isn’t even the right shade of pink?”

I know, that was gross. But don’t get mad at me. I’m not the one who has brought us to the point where men are demanding that women “do anal” and women are expected to not only acquiesce — whether it’s something they enjoy or not — but also to make sure their buttholes are the right shade of pink for the event, applying toxic chemicals to achieve that shade if necessary. I’m pretty sure this means that pornographers now completely control our minds. Otherwise there’s no fucking way a woman could go into a salon and say, “While I’m here having my pubes ripped out by the roots, could you please go ahead and apply some chemicals to my butthole?” The fucking ARROGANCE of these motherfuckers expecting women to not only let their bodies be used like objects, but to endanger their own health to make the experience more aesthetically pleasing to the person doing the using makes me so fucking angry that I want to start a nu metal band or something (OK, I can’t get that angry).

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse or anything, but the fact that this procedure exists should make it clear to everyone in the world that a) women in this godforsaken country of porn-crazed idiots are seen as nothing but sex objects, that b) our idea of what it means to be a woman is so distorted and warped that most men are now no longer attracted to women but rather to cartoonish facsimiles of women, and that c) a large proportion of the women in the world are completely brainwashed, because they just keep on accepting these new “beauty” and “grooming” requirements in the quest for male approval, basing their self-worth on whether men want to use them, which is just where these assholes want us.

I’m moving to Papua New Guinea.


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Plastic boobs can tell us a lot about our society.

Has anyone besides me noticed the strange goings on in the world of mannequin boobs? Aside from the problem that the vast majority of mannequins hover somewhere around a size 2 when the average woman in this country wears a size 12, there is something amiss here. It seems these days that if a mannequin’s breasts haven’t been grotesquely enlarged, they have at least been adorned with conspicuously erect nipples.

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If we must have fake plastic people in the form of mannequins and dolls, I’m all for anatomically correct representations of the human body, but I seriously doubt that’s the intention here. I mean, I know most of us have nipples, and that most of them have the capability of becoming erect, but I also know that that isn’t their default state. It takes either cold or sexual arousal to create an erect nipple, and something tells me these clothing stores aren’t trying to create an association between their products and a brisk winter’s day.

Then there are the new mannequins with the ridiculously large breasts. The makers claim that these mannequins are hot sellers because of the growing number of women with breast implants and the resultant demand for clothing designed to fit a size 4 body with 34 Z breasts or whatever the fuck these are.

 

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Isn’t this a symptom of the fact that our perception of what a woman’s body ought to look like has gotten away from us? That mannequin on the left looks like an anime character, not a human being. Mannequins purportedly represent an ideal (fascistic) body type, which makes this trend quite troubling. It means that breast implants are becoming so commonplace that the general public no longer thinks it odd for a female mannequin to have breasts six times larger than those that nature could provide a woman with. It means that the “ideal” body type is no longer something that can be attained without surgery. It’s distressing to me that porn culture (which is the source of the breast implant craze) has seeped into the mainstream to such an extent that the average woman now apparently doesn’t do a double-take when presented with a representation of the human female body that is so distorted that it reminds one of science fiction. In both the erect-nipple and the giant-boob incarnations, these mannequins are a representation of the fact that women’s bodies are, in all circumstances, to be seen as sexualized objects, and that mannequin makers have (probably correctly) surmised that women have internalized that idea to the point that they won’t demur when confronted with such oddities. Fucking sweet.

(This is kind of a silly aside, but what if some people in the future found these two sorts of mannequins and, knowing nothing of 21st-century American culture, attempted to construct some conception of our culture therefrom? I would really like it if people commented with what kinds of theories they think these future anthropologists would come up with.)

What Would A Dude Do?

I have a general policy that if something hurts, restricts my movement, or is likely to cause long-term health problems or discomfort, I won’t do it if that’s at all possible. I’m pretty sure that anyone who reads this will agree that this is a fairly sound policy, and one that dovetails with common sense and basic human instincts and tendencies. So why, then, do everyday women’s fashion and grooming practices seem to contradict such a simple set of guidelines?

I often wonder whether people will take me to be condemning women for choosing to wear revealing and/or restricting clothing and say that I’m adding to the problem of sexism by trying to add my own set of restrictions on what women ought to be doing. But that’s not really what I’m about. It’s my theory that, were it not for the fact that women are constantly inundated with the message that they are worthless if they aren’t sexually appealing, they wouldn’t wear uncomfortable and restrictive clothing anymore because the entire impetus for enduring the discomfort that wearing such attire entails would have been obviated. Really, why is sexiness the main criterion in choosing clothing, supplanting even utility and comfort?

I have a little test I apply when I stumble upon something I suspect is sexist or detrimental to women. If it’s media, I imagine that the woman being depicted is a man. If it’s a behavior expected of women, I imagine what a man would say to someone who suggested he do it. It almost never fails: if the switcheroo results in a sense of absurdity, I’ve found some sexist shit. If you think about it, fashion is kind of a catch-22 for women; men get to call us ugly (and therefore virtually worthless) if we don’t contort and torture our bodies in order to fulfill their standard of beauty, then they get to make fun of us for being insane when we do the things required to fit that model. Well, fuck that. I normally think this is a terrible idea, but when it comes to fashion and grooming, I’m advocating applying the test of “What would a dude do?” Here is a list of things that many women do regularly that most men would never consider doing, and that women should stop doing, with a handy little set of reasons why they aren’t cool and some alternatives.

 

  • · The problem: Pube (or any) waxing

° Why it isn’t cool: I’ve never done it, but I’m pretty sure it hurts, like a LOT, and that alone is reason enough not to do it. But if your own physical pain isn’t enough to override the insidious influence of the porn industry, think about what it means when dudes prefer women with no pubic hair.

° What you should do instead: Date people who are attracted to natural adult women, not children or plastic dolls.

  • · The problem: High-heeled and pointy-toed shoes

° Why they aren’t cool: Again, the main reason not to do this is that it causes physical pain, but it also restricts movement and causes long-term health problems. I used to work at a shoe store and I eventually got used to walking around for 8 or 9 hours in 4-inch heels with sharply pointed toes, but the sensation of wearing shoes like this for the first time should warn anyone off of doing it ever again. High-heeled shoes, especially those of the stiletto variety, vastly increase your likelihood of breaking your feet and ankles, and they force your toes into positions that will guarantee you bone spurs, bunions, and plenty of other heinous foot problems in middle and old age.

° What you should do instead: For fuck’s sake, don’t get your little toe shortened so you can keep wearing them. What would a dude do? He’d get some comfortable shoes and retain his ability to walk without fear of breaking his feet or incurring long-term damage, that’s what. Get some sneakers or flat shoes that at least somewhat follow the shape of the human foot rather than a garden spade.

  • · The problem: Make-up

° Why it isn’t cool: Women still make 70 cents on the dollar for what men make, so why are we spending 15 times what they do on grooming products? Make-up is not only a waste of money, it’s also a complete waste of time. Even if it only takes 5 minutes, it’s still too much. You could spend that 5 minutes reading my blog, thinking about ways to take down the man-chine, vandalizing misogynistic bus-stop ads, smoking angel dust, or sleeping. And then you wouldn’t have to deal with feeling like there was shit all over your face all day. Just imagine a situation in which your eye itches and you can just rub it, worrying not about exacerbating the problem by rubbing mascara flakes into your eye.

° What you should do instead: Not wear make-up. If your own money/time/comfort aren’t important enough to get you to knock off the face painting, just think about the fact that women have to paint themselves in order to be attractive. That situation ought to change, since it means that nature has been subverted and we are no longer born with what we need to propagate the species.

  • · The problem: Fake fingernails

° Why they aren’t cool: Let’s see… I can pay $30 to waste an hour of my life sniffing chemicals and making my hands less useful? Sweet! Although going to the nail salon does afford one the opportunity to get gossiped about in Vietnamese, it’s a waste of money and it isn’t good for you. The chemicals are carcinogenic, most salons aren’t sanitary, and they smell like a toxic waste dump. Plus, fake long fingernails make typing, dialing a phone, picking your nose, and… everything else you do with your hands harder. There’s a reason the only place you saw fake fingernails until about 20 years ago was in the porn industry: long fingernails are meant for people who do nothing but have sex and get looked at.

° What you should do instead: If you must have long nails, stick with growing your own pinkie nails out a la Chinese taxi drivers. But really, that’s also kind of stupid. Leave them short.

  • · The problem: Restrictive and impractical clothing

° Why it isn’t cool: Uh, it restricts movement. Anything that is so tight that it keeps you from being able to run, do the Kid ‘n’ Play, or step over things, and anything that will expose your private bits if you move the wrong way is a ridiculous imposition. And then there are impractical items of clothing like those fucking ridiculous short sweatshirts that leave the midriff exposed and those turtleneck tank tops. If it’s warm enough out to not clothe your midriff or arms, why the fuck do you need a sweatshirt or a turtleneck? What that means is that either a) you are suffering being too hot in order to wear the silly garment, or, more likely, b) you are suffering being too cold on one part of your body in order to sexualize yourself in spite of cold weather. Either way, it’s even dumber than wearing flip-flops with jeans.

° What you should do instead: Get some pants and a t-shirt.

  • · The problem: Plastic surgery

° Why it isn’t cool: The risks of death and disfigurement are pretty good reasons to not do something. I once had a neighbor whose friend had gotten a LOT of plastic surgery done all at once. For some strange reason, her body rejected the foreign objects she had implanted in her cheeks and chin, and didn’t respond well to having large chunks of flesh removed (imagine that!), so she ended up having to go through a year-long series of operations to try to correct the problems created by the first set, none of which were free of charge. She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and came out looking vastly less attractive than she had been in the first place. People think that stories like this are rare, but the truth is that they aren’t. A much too large proportion of cosmetic surgeries require what plastic surgeons euphemistically call “revision”. What that actually means is that they come out so fucked up that more surgery is required to fix the scarring, misshapenness, or other such deformity caused by the first surgery. It is terrifically disturbing that we’ve reached a point in which people don’t seem to think it unreasonable to have surgery, an option usually deemed a last resort when it comes to actual physical disorders, in order to make themselves more porkable.

° What you should do instead: Get counseling. If you’re considering having an operation for cosmetic reasons, you’ve absorbed the more nefarious messages of our distorted culture to the point that you’ve completely lost the plot.

 


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If Bratz dolls were real, Bill Maher would be dating 5 of them.

There are a lot of things wrong with Bratz besides the stupid fucking “spunky”, “hip-hop” use of Z as a pluralizer (what if I started using a Q to make all C and K sounds?). I don’t suppose I’m breaking any new ground by discussing the Bratz phenomenon, but I’m going to talk about it anyway because my take on Bratz is probably more coherent than anyone else’s: Bratz dolls are a tangible distillation of the fact that American girls are expected to grow up to be materialistic, fashion-obsessed, boy-crazed, manipulative sex objects and nothing else. I’ve never seen a more brazen celebration of shallowness, vapidity, materialism, and lowered expectations than Bratz dolls and all of the merchandise and media that accompany them. If you aren’t familiar with Bratz, or even if you are, I’ll break the whole thing down for you here.

Bratz dolls are supposed to be the new millennium’s answer to tired-ass and cliched Barbie dolls: they aren’t all blond, they don’t all have the same hue of tan, and they … uh… don’t hang out with guys named Ken. They also have new-millennium rap-video dancer (or porn) names like Jade, Yasmin, Tiana, Ciara, Noemie, and other shit that gets a red line out of my spell-checker, and they supposedly resemble more closely the diversity of appearances represented in America than the Barbie line (more on that nonsense later). The line includes Bratz Babyz, Bratz Kidz, and the standard Bratz, but even these make Barbie look old as hell, what with their affluent-but-jobless club-hopping teenager vibe.

We all know that Barbies were a bad influence on girls; they gave us the idea that a) life revolved around fashion, being beautiful, and fashion, that b) we could play sports and have jobs, but only if we stayed beautiful the whole time, and that c) if we wanted to be beautiful, we’d better figure out how to be blond, 5’10”, 110 pounds, and have a 13-inch waist, giant boobs, and size 4 feet. Kind of a shitty message and one that I’d be glad to see go the way of Cross Colors.

So are Bratz really different from old Babs? Uh… NO. I would be stoked to see toys on the market for girls that offered more inspiring, or at least less limiting, messages than Barbie dolls did, but the makers of Bratz have somehow found a way to make a line of dolls that offers an even more constrained and unrealistic set of options and expectations to girls, all while creating the illusion of offering more options. It’s really fucking sinister, and it’s a brilliant example of just how insidious marketing and product development have become.

In broad terms, the Bratz world is limited to fashion, being into hip-hop or pop music, and that’s about it. No jobs, no sports to speak of (more on that later), no hobbies: Bratz are here to shop, do their hair, get dates, and be fucking snotty. But wait, you’ll say, they’re better than Barbie because they’re, like, multicultural and shit! It’s true, some of the dolls are a little browner than those in Barbie’s crew, but the vast majority of them are still white, and the ones that aren’t uphold a beauty standard in which non-white women are judged by how closely their hair and facial features resemble those of white women deemed “beautiful.” If there were actually any kind of diversity here (I’m talking about actual, not just ethnoracial, diversity), the dolls wouldn’t all look like clones dyed different colors; they’d be different heights, weights, and body types, they’d have different facial structures and hair textures, and they’d have different interests, talents, skills, and backgrounds. Arguing that these dolls are a progressive force because they come in different shades of do-able is like saying that racism is over because sports talk radio fans have agreed that they’d be willing to fuck Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, and Lucy Liu.

And speaking of that… the most disturbing feature common to Bratz dolls, even some of the Kidz and Babyz, is that they are completely and totally sexualized. I’m not a sociopathic marketing asshole, but I can see the hand of one in the faces of these dolls: giant collagen lips, huge half-closed eyes reminiscent of a cooing Playboy playmate, massively dilated pupils (which I have heard are a sign of sexual arousal), more make-up than Brett Michaels, long and (somehow) promiscuous hair, and completely stripperific clothing and shoes. Look at the lip liner on the one in the middle. She looks like Pamela Anderson. Honestly, the vast majority of these dolls look like porn “actors” on a day off.


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And look at the fucking Babyz! They somehow have floor-length go-go dancer hair, the same heavy-lidded sexual stares as the regular Bratz, and the same plumped-up lips that remind one of the gross reason why men like Angelina Jolie, all at the age of 6 months! Did I mention that, in addition to the baby bottles they wear as fashion accessories, they are all wearing bathing suits? I truly would not be shocked to find one of these Babyz wearing a thong diaper. Seriously, have you ever seen sluttier looking babies?[1]

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If kids have to play with miniature plastic humans, it’d be cool if they actually reflected a little bit of reality and gave girls something to think about besides how to get people to want to pork them. As it is, every single one of the dolls fits into the Bratz Fashion Slutz model. Even the obligatory sporty line (which of course includes a Z in its name), the Play Sportz collection, consists only of a doll who SCUBA dives in a silver wetsuit that looks more like the outfit of a Duran Duran back-up dancer, a doll that is into hip hop (which I didn’t know was a sport), one that has a silver hula hoop, and, of course, a fucking cheerleader (who apparently cheers for the pink team, judging by her ridiculously pink uniform). Sporty. Outside that perfunctory nod, the makers of Bratz dollz, gamez, bicyclez, underwear, televisionz, hamperz, lampz, suitcasez, chairz, and moviez are pretty comfortable with their message: being a girl means being overtly sexualized, being way into pink, being popular with boys with date-rapist names like Jordan and Skyler, and being a little asshole about it. The unfortunate part is that only about 1 in 100 girls gets to be a stuck-up sexbot. The rest just get to feel completely worthless because they don’t measure up to such a lame and vacuous standard.

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The picture above pretty much sums up the the vibe Bratz are laying down and is a pretty succinct visual distillation of Bratz ideology. I hope people will comment with what they think these three would be saying if they could talk.


[1] Note: I use the term “sluttier” here for rhetorical impact. I don’t call people sluts, but I do recognize that that is one of the two default identities, the other being prude/wife material, that our culture allows women to assume.


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Milton Bradley to kids: Plastic surgery is a normal part of life.

I played Life when I was little. It was kind of a fun game, especially because it had a little 3-D wheel and exciting little game pieces that set it apart from plain ol’ flat game boards. I know that the message of the original game was a little uncool; it revolved around going to college, getting married, having kids, and amassing a fortune with which you were expected to buy a house, insurance, and stock, all before retiring as a millionaire if you were lucky, or going bankrupt (and then what?) if you weren’t. Apparently, any experiences that don’t follow this trajectory aren’t considered “life,” or at least won’t make you a winner in the game of life. I suppose it was already gross enough that the game gave children the idea that life revolves around getting married (and being straight), having kids, and money (not to mention wearing pink if you’re female and blue if you’re male), but the new version really takes unthoughtful participation in American consumerism and general tomfoolery to new heights.

One of the squares on the new version of the board says, “Have Cosmetic Surgery, Pay $100,000.” WHAT THE FUCK?! Have we actually reached a point where a room full of adults, when trying to decide on what to add to a children’s game to bring it up to date, would land on plastic surgery as the best option? I realize that the practice of allowing yourself to be put under potentially lethal general anesthesia and cut open, rearranged, and stapled back together has become more and more mainstream in the last few years, but I wasn’t aware that it had gotten to the point where the general public didn’t think it was inappropriate to suggest it to children who are still too young to know that their worth as human beings will someday be decided by how many people want to fuck them. Fucking unbelievable. And not only do the Milton Bradley people think that having plastic surgery is a normal part of life, they also think that a HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS’ worth of plastic surgery is nothing to blink at. Do you have any idea what kind of damage you can do to the human body with $100,000? That’s enough money to turn RuPaul into Danny DeVito.

I should have seen this coming. Remember that show The Swan? In that show, the producers paid for several women to have multiple cosmetic procedures, starved them, forced them to work out all day for like 6 weeks, then put them in a beauty pageant to prove that all but one of them still weren’t good enough. Then there are shows like Nip/Tuck, which, aside from offending the senses with some of the worst writing in television history, attempts to make entertainment out of women who are so obsessed with increasing the number of men who want to have sex with them that they will put semen on their faces and have a million dollars’ worth of plastic surgery. Then there’s Dr. 90210, probably the creepiest show on TV, in which we get to see just how unethical and ego-maniacal plastic surgeons can get. That “doctor” can frequently be seen urging women to go with breast implants 2-3 cup sizes larger than the size they say they want, and he can also be seen pushing surgeries on body parts these women didn’t even know they should be ashamed of yet. I rarely hear anyone even mention how unbelievably creepy these shows and what they represent are, so I suppose Milton Bradley execs are just more in touch with where the general public is at than I am. They’re the ones with the marketing department and the focus groups.

So, I guess that’s it. It’s now officially pathological to not look like a porn star, and kids ought to get themselves prepared for the eventuality that they’ll need surgery to correct nature. Good looking out, Milton Bradley.


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Have an eating disorder? Don’t expect any privacy.

I was just having a look at the Consumerist, where there’s an article about a court ruling in which a judge required that the families of New Jersey girls suing Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield turn over records of all the things they had written about their battles with anorexia on MySpace and Facebook, and to turn over records of e-mails that included discussions of the disorder. Apparently, the insurance company refused to cover the girls’ illnesses, claiming that anorexia and bulimia aren’t real diseases. So, since the girls’ diaries might provide evidence that their eating disorders were caused by emotional problems rather than biological factors, the company, under New Jersey law, is not required to cover the treatment that the disorders required.

I don’t think anyone thinks that there is a biological cause behind eating disorders. But are they purely psychological? I’m pretty sure that when you have a psychological disorder that causes you to do something that physically harms you, you’ve moved beyond the psychologist’s office. Still, as a joke, let’s say that anorexia is just a psychological disorder. When someone has gone so long without eating that their organs shut down and they have to go to the hospital, should the treatment that they receive be covered by health insurance? Guess not. These young girls who have been told from the second they were born that the only thing that matters about them is how closely they resemble an increasingly unrealistic and distorted beauty standard are now apparently to blame for a disorder that stems entirely from their attempt to control their lives in the only way that they see available to them.

This case points out some serious problems in American institutions and social structures. First, what the fuck are we doing when we are warping girls’ minds to the point that their desire to fit into the beauty mold is so strong that it overrides the instinct toward self-preservation? Eating disorders, along with plastic surgery, are the most striking examples of how distorted and grotesque our ideas of beauty, femininity, and sexuality have become. We now have an entire generation of young women who believe that sexually titillating men should be their priority numero uno, and that the way to do that is to look as much like a cross between a concentration camp inmate and a Bratz doll as possible. Fucking awesome. Second, we’ve allowed insurance companies to gain such a firm grip on our medical system that it has become nearly impossible to get proper care. That’s self-evident and I don’t think I need to go into it. Third, our medical system has somehow fragmented to the point that our minds, which reside in our brains, are considered entities completely separate from our bodies. Of course, that development is also a result of the fact that insurance companies control our access to medical care and will cover only that which will keep us alive (sometimes) and save them future expenses. But it also stems in part from the long-standing idea inherent in western culture that the body and the mind are indeed separate entities, and that the body is on a permanent quest to lead the mind astray. But despite adages like “mind over matter,” people seem reluctant to believe that the mind has the ability to cause dysfunction within the body. We really need to rethink the way we are treating the interaction between mental and physical disorders. Finally, it’s pretty clear that the law in this case is really not protecting these girls. The original order stated that the girls would even have to turn over their own personal writings, including their diaries, to the insurance company’s attorneys. I’m pretty sure having their innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears dragged out before scores of fairly unsympathetic strangers isn’t going to help these girls overcome whatever they need to overcome in order to get well again.

Overall, it seems like a lot of big institutional and cultural forces have lined up to make things suck as much as possible for these girls, and that those forces are created and perpetuated by, that’s right, the motherfucking patriarchy.


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