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Book Review: Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

Good Girls Don't Get FatGood Girls Don’t Get Fat by Robyn Sil­ver­man
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

This book is absolute­ly amaz­ing, and I strong­ly rec­om­mend it to everyone.

Yes, I said every­one. If you are a human being who is read­ing this post/​review, you live in a first-world soci­ety and you inter­act with females. You will ben­e­fit from a greater under­stand­ing of what mod­ern social stan­dards do to young females and how they shape us for the rest of our lives, how they twist us into dis­or­dered think­ing that touch­es absolute­ly every­thing we do, from how we think about our­selves to our per­son­al and busi­ness rela­tion­ships, our spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, our health — every­thing. And you will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to change how you inter­act with females, par­tic­u­lar­ly girls, so that you are more of a pos­i­tive influ­ence rather than yet anoth­er per­son who is pulling her down and hold­ing her back.

I was already famil­iar with some of the research regard­ing the media and unre­al­is­tic por­tray­als of women. I knew that every mag­a­zine cov­er is Pho­to­shopped and air­brushed, that “nor­mal” mod­els rep­re­sent only 1 – 2% of real women, etc. I didn’t know that 5% of Amer­i­can high school girls have turned to tak­ing ana­bol­ic steroids in order to get a more toned, slim look, accord­ing to the CDC’s 2003 Youth Risk Behav­ior Sur­veil­lance Sys­tem, and that one out of every 14 girls in Amer­i­can mid­dle schools have tried steroids for the same pur­pose. I had heard that the pop­u­lar­i­ty of cos­met­ic surgery for young peo­ple was ris­ing, but I had no idea that it was as preva­lent as it is. I can’t remem­ber exact­ly how high, but it was frightening.

If there is a young lady in your life, stop for a moment and think — are you a pos­i­tive influ­ence on her? When young women in col­lege were asked about what they recall their par­ents say­ing about their bod­ies as they grew up, 80% of the respons­es were of neg­a­tive remarks. What will the girl in your life remem­ber you say­ing? If you’ve ever won­dered whether or not you should talk to her about los­ing a lit­tle weight, don’t. Believe me — the rest of the world has already beat­en that into her, and will go on doing so every minute of every day. There’s no way she doesn’t know that her body is unac­cept­able, whether she’s still car­ry­ing a lit­tle baby fat, is mor­bid­ly obese, or sim­ply has a slight­ly round face.

One of the things I admire most about Good Girls Don’t Get Fat is that it doesn’t just talk about how bad things are, it gives con­crete sug­ges­tions for improve­ment! That’s what we need.

The book is avail­able in any for­mat you can imag­ine. Pick it up. It’s an easy read, and wonderful.

View all my reviews

Europeans Continue Coming to Their Senses

About mod­els and the effects of the media on body image in their pop­u­la­tions, at least. Fol­low­ing Spain’s move last year that banned ultra-thin mod­els from cat­walks, France is act­ing. The “French parliament’s low­er house adopt­ed a ground­break­ing bill Tues­day that would make it ille­gal for any­one — includ­ing fash­ion mag­a­zines, adver­tis­ers and Web sites — to pub­licly incite extreme thinness.”

British researchers are also rec­om­mend­ing action. “With con­stant images of stick-thin, size-zero mod­els, tiny-waist­ed pop princess­es and actress­es is putting young girls’ health at risk and fuel­ing the rise in eat­ing dis­or­ders, accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Janet Trea­sure of the Eat­ing Dis­or­ders Research Unit at Kings Col­lege London.”

It’s a relief to know that, some­where in the world, peo­ple are pay­ing atten­tion to this stuff. It’s tire­some to hear the con­stant folderol about the “obe­si­ty epi­dem­ic” here in the U.S., with almost no bal­anc­ing coverage.

Spain bans unhealthily thin models

In a very unpop­u­lar move, Spain has banned appear­ances by fash­ion mod­els who’s body mass index is too low.

Italy is con­sid­er­ing fol­low­ing suit. The lan­guage in the leg­is­la­tion makes it clear that the pur­pose of the ban is to encour­age health­i­er media images, due to the grow­ing inci­dence of eat­ing dis­or­ders diag­nosed every year.

Frankly, I can’t begin to imag­ine the U.S. gov­ern­ment even con­sid­er­ing that kind of leg­is­la­tion. We do have a freer press here (on the sur­face, at least), but that doesn’t explain all the differences.