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 V.15 No.31 | August 3 - 9, 2006 

Thin Line

The Thin We're In—Morally superior robots should read no further. This one's for the rest of us who find ourselves almost unconsciously turning the pages of the likes of Life & Style, a weekly gossip rag.

Someone somewhere said you can tell a lot about a house by going through its trash. Life & Style gets down and dirty to the tune of about 600,000 copies a week. With nearly satirical awareness, tabloids guide us through the lives of celebrities, gleefully catching the rich at their trashiest.

Like when they turn into lollipops.

What's that, robot? "Lollipop" does not compute? A lollipop is a celebrity who's gotten so thin, her body appears smaller in width than her smiling, symmetrical head. Tabloids love to sink their teeth into a good photo and alternately mean-spirited/faux-concerned caption on a skin-and-bones celebrity. That's the juicy stuff. That's meaty drama. That's a woman in ruins, shrinking and frail.

The July 31 Life & Style features a spread called "Look Who's Getting Healthier," an examination of stars coming out of their lollipop phases. She went from 88 pounds to 92. At 5-foot-6 and 36 years old, so-and-so decided enough was enough and bulked up to a whopping 104 pounds. "I'm a true waif," that one says, claiming that even at her thinnest she consumed calories by the thousands.

Truly, can anyone be surprised that these women have eating disorders? If your career and fortune were tied to thinness, wouldn't it be easy to get carried away?

We wish it weren’t so, but trash like this certainly feeds eating disorders. The level of specificity in this skinny feature is disturbing. Two photos, one then and one now. Her height. What she used to weigh. What she weighs now.

It's not OK to be 5-foot-6 and 104 pounds. Clearly, then you have a problem. But chub out to a whopping 113 pounds, and you're in the clear. Never mind that according to most medical weight charts, on the low end, a 5'6" woman shouldn't climb on a scale and see a number smaller than 120.

There are parameters here. It's a guide. Here's socially acceptable frailty. Here's where the line is, somewhere between 100 and 110 pounds.

Sadly, the stick-like celebrity debris washes up in these disposable mags and flies off the rack. It's the junk food of reading. And it's all in good fun until we find ourselves shifting uncomfortably inside the skin we're in.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. E-mail marisa@alibi.com.

 
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