Weekly News Comment #7

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 15-10-2011


When I was a little girl, I had Barbies. I didn’t play with them very much, except to change their clothes once in a while. Then I left the Barbie’s hairbrush and shoes on the floor and my mom kept accidentally stepping on them. But I never took Barbie too seriously, and I knew she was not a “real” person.

The only time I was “fat” was when I was a baby. I had a little bit of fuzz on my head, like a baby duckling. My cheeks and arms were chubby. Other than that, I have always been thin as a rail. A female classmate in middle school wrote in my 8th grade yearbook, “You need to eat more.” and then signed her name. When I was in high school, some girls in the P.E. locker room believed that I had had an eating disorder. Eventually, I lied and said that I had, just so they would leave me alone. Sometimes in the hallway, I would walk past cliques of girls and they walked up to me and said, “You’re so skinny! OMG, you need to eat more!”  In my head I said, “Really? I didn’t notice! I couldn’t tell!” (sarcasm). Instead, I just stared at them in disbelief. Why did they say that? Were they concerned about me? Did it ever occur to them that maybe I have a metabolism through the roof and I never gain weight, and I have had body image issues because my dad always bugged me about eating enough vegetables and not eating a lot of sweets? Did they ever think that I might have feelings and that they were being insensitive bitches?

I had surgery when I was sixteen. It was for my left eye. After going to an eye appointment, the doctor told me I had a detatched retina. He said I needed surgery immediately, or I could go blind. The doctor was going to put a special buckle in my eye. I went into surgery five days later. I was in a freezing cold hospital room at 7 a.m. wearing a revealing, backless hospital gown and not much else.  The nurse put 5 or 6 different kinds of drops in my eyes. Then came the IV. I HATE needles. After waking up from surgery, I was given codeine and a peanut butter sandwich. I barfed up the sandwich soon after eating it. The doctor told me that I would have a gas bubble in my eye for the next 3 weeks. It would diminish gradually as the days went by. I remember leaving the hospital and the sunlight was overwhelming. I felt like someone jammed a 500 watt flashlight in my eyes. For the next few weeks, I had a white square of fabric covering my eye and I could see the gas bubble. It was so weird-like the bubble was in another world under my eye. I slept a lot, and didn’t eat very much.

The point to this story is that I HAD to have the surgery. I’m glad I had it, but I would have never gone through it for the sake of beauty. I really have to question the sanity of someone who would voluntarily put herself through 52 surgeries! Maybe she enjoys barfing and needles and embarrassing hospital gowns. I don’t know. What kind of messages did she receive about body image as a teenager? She is clearly a huge fan of Barbie. I wonder if she has any daughters. I hope not, because if she does, she is sending them a very unnatural attitude about self esteem and body image. How sad that this woman is so unhappy with who she is. How sad that our society has contributed to girls saying, “I’m not thin/pretty/sexy/ enough.”

Katie Halchishick, who modeled her proportions against Barbie’s, is on the right track. Mentoring teenage girls about body image will help them have healthy attitudes about themselves. But when fashion magazines quit selling “thin=sexy” on their covers and ads, and models on tv come in all shapes and sizes, then we will have achieved real beauty. I have seen the irony when magazines like Teen Vogue or Glamour have articles talking about changing societal attitudes about what beauty is. Then I turn the page and the model in the ad looks anorexic.

I think real beauty is inside.  Real beauty is not superficial; it goes beyond obsessing about fat bulges, crow’s feet, zits and gray hair. It comes out through positive attitudes, kindness toward others, confidence, strength and perseverance. These are truly beautiful attributes that young women should aspire to have.

2 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

fuglsang on 16 October, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

Nicely done, Emily.

Claire Elyse on 24 October, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

I loved this post.
That’s all. (: