Sadly, the cult of diet and exercise is the closest thing our secular society offers women in terms of a coherent sense of self. This being the case, anorexia is not a quirk and the symptom choice is not surprising. When personal and social difficulties arise, a substaintial number of our young women become preoccupied by their bodies and control of appetite. Of all the messages they hear, the imperative to be beautiful and good, by being thin, is still the strongest and most familiar. Moreover, they are caught, often at a very early age, in a deceptive cognitive trap that has them believing that body weight is entirely subject to their conscious control. Despite feminist influences on the career aspirations of the present college age generation, little has transpired to dilute the basic strength of this powerful cultural prescription that plays on both individualism and conformity. The unfortunate truth is that even when she wants more than beauty and understands its limitations as a life goal, the bourgeois woman still depends an enormous amount of psychic energy on appetite control as well as on other aspects of presentations of the self…
We need to offer young women an alternative philosophy of the self.
Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia. (via phacade)
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