Thinness is back in fashion, but has it ever really disappeared? | Eating disorders
I upholding the Halloween tradition of successfully sluttifying what on any other night would refuse to be sluttified. Going through the pictures last week, I saw several bitch ghosts, several bitch toy story characters. I’ve seen lots and lots of cleavage, one attached to a Minion, and I’ve seen Marge Simpson and Cinderella’s butt. But while I always applaud the mission, the one that never goes out of style, this year I was struck by something else – the thinness.
“Thin is back,” reports the style press, warily. When Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe’s old dress at the Met Gala, most of the reporting focused on the scandal of a disrespected museum piece. But for women, young women in particular, the real story unfolded in paragraphs four and five: It was the extreme diet that Kardashian followed, eating only the “cleanest vegetables and proteins”, in order to to tailor this sparkly dress. Similar diets were happening in student kitchens across the UK and shared online in well-lit hashtags and videos. It’s no coincidence that this shift in culture, those Halloween costumes with vast plains of stretched bellies, coincides with the return of Y2K fashion. With the return of baby t-shirts and low-rise jeans, many remembered how these clothes gave us the idea that it wasn’t that these clothes didn’t fit us, it was our bodies. which did not suit us. .
On TikTok, the popularity of searches such as “heroine body chic” led to other flimsy observations that “thinness is in” – low-rise jeans require a low BMI, baby t-shirt requires, well, no tea at all. The chic heroine, of course, was the fashionable 1990s body shape, her figure lightly drawn in charcoal, the curves of little caves, the sharp angles, the CK1 that smelled of liquid melancholy. Current beauty trends are going in the same direction: makeup tutorials show how to fake dark circles under the eyes or how to look like you’ve cried using light glitter and blush. Makeup speeds up the process, a kind of diet pill for the skin. In September, Variety published an article about the increase in demand for Ozempic, a diabetes drug that can cause dramatic weight loss. Today, in news that turns to sadness, the rush for the drug means there is a shortage for diabetic patients whose health depends on it.
And social media give and take – . In the same minute of scrolling, you can see, for example, both #WhatIEatInADay videos (one I watched was just “one watermelon”) and insightful comments from people like Iman Barbarin (Crutches & Spice on TikTok), whose viral posts warn parents that the increase in “thinspiration” content will not only lead to eating disorders, but could also lead their children to the “alt-right” internet; the path from “welfare to fascism” is now clearly well marked out. She points to the pandemic as a trigger: the “ideal body”, controlled and active, a place of health, has become an obsession for many.
That happens. Hospital admissions for people with eating disorders in England have increased by 84% over the past five years. Last January, an eating disorder charity To beat offered the most support sessions for people with eating disorders in a single month in its history.
Has the body positive movement had an impact? I wonder. If he failed, he failed because he never went far enough – he put all the blame for feeling that positivity on the individual, rather than interrogating the grossophobia, sexism, classism and racism that have leads to the often violent relationship an individual had with their body. The only place I really see its effects is where brands have quickly learned to replace the pursuit of thinness with the concept of well-being, or cleanliness, or empowerment, or employed a tall model size for their campaigns, sometimes forgetting to then create clothes in these “plus sizes” that its customers can wear. If slimming is back, and proudly, unmasked and without modern health or fitness caveats, it’s in response to the body positive movement. We sometimes slide backwards blindly, drawn to the possibility of control at a time when so little seems in our power.
Body image is a topic I come back to over and over again because it informs so much about the way we live, from our academic achievement to our mental and physical health, to the careers and relationships we have as adults. adults. But he does it softly, a small whispering voice, more like a whistle. And while I still itch to comment on these body tendencies, I do so knowing that giving them air is dangerous. Because whether it’s ‘thin thick’ or ‘celebrating curves’, the same seed is at the center of all of them: the idea that obesity is bad, that it points to immorality, or failure, or uselessness.
Nobody came so “big” for Halloween – some things are still too scary. This season, thin is in fashion. Which only makes sense, I guess, if you believe he’s really gone.
Email Eva at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman