vendredi 10 janvier 2014

In The World Of Celebrities With Eating Disorders There's More Than One Kind Of Disorder

By Mickey Jhonny

Late night talk show hosts and indeed a host of other satirists make them the object of continual jokes. Whatever you think of whether such jibes are in good taste or not, it's clear that many celebrities, particularly female celebrities, engage in dieting practices fueled by the very sort of driven personality which likewise enables them to achievement greatness in their craft.

It's common to blame the glitz of the lifestyle and the superficial and sexist attitudes of the general public who consume the mass media images. However, such glib and politically correct assessments too easily gloss over the fact that everything in the lives of successful actors, musicians and other media personalities is colored by the driven personalities that allow them to succeed.

It should hardly be surprising then that once they turn their attention to weight loss, they can get a little carried away. Christina Ricci, in her usual irreverent style, suggests this personality driven aspect of celebrity eating disorders with her remark to the Guardian newspaper in 2004 that hers began while watching trash television. "At the time that I was starting to diet and stuff, I saw this TV movie, and I thought, 'Ooh - anorexia. I could probably do that.'"

Other celebrities, for instance, Geri Halliwell of Ginger Spice fame, point out that the real cause of celebrity eating disorders can be found in the challenges of coping with life's usual ups and downs. It's debatable whether or not celebrity contributes to heightened daily stress. When you consider the occupations of many others that seems kind of improbable. But, even if you do believe it, whatever the pressures involved, they don't dictate the specifically chosen coping strategy.

A flash point for the politically correct game of media blame was the backlash against the innocent, ironic tweet of Lady Gaga, in 2012. It was typical of the victimizing strategy employed by the self-appointed morality squad. For never doubt or forget, young girls everywhere are at perpetual risk of the corrupting pressures of mass media messages. So it happened that poor Lady Gaga, who was already on the public record, urging her young fans to strive for healthier body images, couldn't innocently joke about the challenges of resisting her craving for a cheese burger without the busy bodies' morals police turning it into a federal offense. (And this is to entirely ignore the odd operative assumption that a cheese burger was somehow a better meal choice than a salad.)

So let's try to be real, here. If they're going to crucify a celebrity who it just so happens, by the way, is already on the public record as cautioning her young fans toward vigilance against potential dangers of eating disorders for an innocent witticism regarding her own freely chosen dietary decisions, what is up? Why this strange obsession with denying celebrities the freedom to be responsible for their choices. There's an uncompromising imperative that they be shown to be victims. I'm no mind reader, but I'm guessing the motivation behind this silliness is to legitimize the automatic treatment of any and all admirers of those same celebrities as also victims. Who though reaps the benefits from this relentless victimization?

Obviously the lesson here is not that only celebrities need worry about eating disorders, but rather that such disorders are a product of the determination and resilience of the individual experiencing it. Of course environmental conditions can create relevant pressures, but at the end of the day the bulimic or anorectic are the ones who are making the choices to conduct themselves in the way that they are.

If this seems unfair, blaming the victim, maybe this is seeing it in the wrong light. If the cause of celebrity eating disorders really was the Hollywood glamour machine, the only solution would be to leave Hollywood. The great number of success stories, of celebrities who overcame their eating disorders, without needing to retire from their careers, shows that just as the cause of the eating disorders lies in the celebrity, so too does the solution. This should be encouraging to everyone who suffers eating disorders: however difficult your own circumstances may be, the very strength and determination that holds you to the strict regime that leads to your eating disorder, is also there in you, that same strength and determination, to draw upon, to change your life.

If celebrity idolization is somehow mandatory, there are many different kinds of celebrities to idolize. You can choose. And better still, why not be the celebrity of your own life. It's your choice how to live your life; you've already proven the strength and determination of your personality. It's up to you how to use it. You don't need facile excuses about social pressures and mass media indoctrination. Take responsibility for your own life. Be the star of your own story.

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