June 10, 2009

Do anorexics have better taste?

While traveling back to Maryland for a birthday party, I decided to indulge for a day and eat sweets -- four cupcakes and a pint of ice cream, to be exact. Not surprisingly, I immediately came down with the worst case of gastroenteritis I've ever had. I'd probably picked the bug up in the airport, but wouldn't have gotten so destroyed if all that sugar hadn't wrecked my immune system. On the plus side, though, I now associate the sweetness of cupcakes and ice cream with vomit, so there won't be much temptation to resist the next time around. And the contrast has never made dead animals taste so good.

I mention this recent bout of not wanting to eat anything because someone who recently left a comment here is not just anorexic but "pro-ana" -- that is, out-and-proud, flamingly anorexic. Awhile back I fleshed out some concrete plans on how a high school girl could seduce her math teacher, since someone had found this blog searching for such advice. And this pro-ana commenter, toastick, wrote:

hey! did you ever post a follow-up?

i think this is great!

Although the post was four months old, I knew which one she must have been referring to (Blogger does not tell you which post a given comment is for). With its two exclamation points in just three sentences, no capitalization, asking questions, and a general warm-fuzziness, this had to have come from another high school girl. And sure enough, once I followed the link to her blog, I confirm that she is (or at the oldest a freshman in college).

Unfortunately, there aren't too many posts there about how she longs to embroil her super-cute math teacher in an affair. In fact, they're all about her daily struggle to eat as few calories as she can, as well as a bunch of pictures of thin girls to motivate her. I'd heard of the pro-ana groups about seven years ago, but that was in the pre-blogging era, and most discussion forum websites are horribly boring. I decided to flip through a few pages of toastick's blog, and two things jump out:

1) Anorexic girls only eat carbs, and maybe a bit of fat from cheese or ice cream. Essentially no protein or fat, though. Here's an example:

breakfast:
crackers- 60 cal

lunch:
pretzels- 90 cal

snack:
yogurt: 100 cal

dinner:
pizza- 250 cal

dessert:
cake- 600 cal

If any of you girls are reading this, calories aren't as important as the amount of carbs you eat -- restrict them to 20 - 30 grams a day, and you'll lose weight. Even if you're restricting calories out of an obsession, eating most of those as carbs will thwart all weight loss attempts and will probably make you pack on a few, since insulin is the primary hormone responsible for storing fat rather than burning it. You can do OK on 1200 calories a day of protein and fat -- but will be consumed by hunger if you take in 1200 calories of mostly carbohydrates.

I kind of sympathize with how it feels to be on such a diet, since I tried it for a few days in college. Not because I wanted to lose weight or anything -- just to see if I could do it. I stayed under 1000 calories a day, probably much lower, like a couple hundred. To tell you the truth, I can't remember because my mind never felt like it was in such a fog in my entire life. Young people do all kinds of stupid things, and luckily I only tried this out for a few days.

2) Anorexic girls show incredibly good judgment when it comes to female beauty. This was the real shocker, since the stereotype is that anorexic girls want to look like wire coathangers, and that they idealize such women. However, this just seems to be a bunch of propaganda on the part of those who are hysterical about anorexia (as though obesity weren't an order of magnitude more common). You know, the "we've got to save the children" busybodies.

Looking through the pictures that toastick has posted as inspiration, I felt like I was looking at a guy's blog -- granted, a more arty kind of guy who likes somewhat more slender girls, but still someone qualified to pass judgment on female beauty. Most women are COMPLETELY clueless about who is or isn't good-looking, and trying to explain what's wrong with their preferences and what's right about ours never gets anywhere -- even if they really are open-minded and want to get it. They just lack the required brain structure, as I'm sure we do when judging other guys.

To provide some evidence, do a google image search for the following terms: "anorexic," "thinspiration," and "thinspo." The first will give you mostly results from the hysterics, and I find almost none of them appealing. They're the exposed skeleton types. "Thinspiration" is the pro-ana people's coinage for pictures that motivate them to eat less, and the term is popular enough for the hysterics to refer to it as well. The pictures here are pretty mixed.

However, "thinspo" is an abbreviated form of "thinspiration" that apparently only the pro-ana girls themselves employ in casual usage, e.g. when posting pictures on their blogs. So, this is what the girls themselves truly look up to. I clicked through the first 11 pages of these results, which means 198 pictures, and I only found between 5 to 10 of them to be the repulsive skeletal type. The rest were quite attractive. That's an astonishingly high success rate -- about 95% -- for females selecting other females as beautiful. Usually it's based on who's the most fashionable, chic, or popular -- or merely who most resembles the judge.

Not only do the girls look great, they embody bouncy youth and coy femininity, whose appeal to men most females utterly fail to appreciate. Impressionistically, I'd say over 90% of them were under 25, with around 30% - 40% appearing to be high school students. (I'll bet they would love the JailbaitGallery.com website.) I really have no idea what traits the anorexic girls possess that have endowed them with this unusual perspicacity, but the results don't lie. And btw, how many fell into the "MILF" or "hyper-aerobicized Hollywood power bitch" categories? About zero.

Therefore, at least judging from the out-and-proud anorexic girls, in general they don't hold a wire coathanger ideal -- those images come instead from the hysterics who want to shock us into action by telling us that lots of girls dream of looking like skeletons. Again, anorexia as it's really practiced seems to be a carb-fest, devoid of protein and animal fat, in addition to most vitamins and minerals, so I'm not in favor of it for simple health reasons. But trying to scare people into action only backfires and engenders cynicism once people find out that you were lying to them about the severity of the danger.

Everyone kind of already knows that hardly anyone is anorexic, so the emphasis from hysterics has shifted to the anorexic or thin ideal that the media broadcast to all females, damaging a whole generation psychologically when they realize they can't live up to it. In reality, the skeletal ideal is just propaganda from advocacy groups, whereas real anorexic girls worship an ideal that is youthful, feminine, and all-around good-looking, but just somewhat on the slender side -- something that no guy would consider disgusting.

I can't say I'm too surprised that the message coming from one of those "providing a voice for the voiceless" groups was a bunch of bullshit, but still. One upside to the internet is that you can actually see what makes these "voiceless" people tick. Sometimes they're even more fucked up than you'd believed -- most pundits, for example -- but other times you see that they'd just gotten a bum rap.

Let's end with a little thinspo:

10 comments:

  1. 20-30 g of carbohydrates per day? That's it? I'm a college-age girl trying to lose weight, and my body tends to have a bad insulin response, so when I realized that I cut back carbs to about 100-150g per day (as opposed to the 250+ per day that I realized I was eating before). Any lower and I thought it would be dangerous because of ketosis, plus the long-term effects are unknown, and I read somewhere that it might actually slow down your metabolism.

    I think there's some confusion around the term 'anorexic.' I wouldn't call that girl anorexic, and no way is she a "real anorexic" (real anorexics really do want to be those skeletons, b/c their self-image is that messed up), but I agree, 'real' anorexia isn't as common as the media hype makes it out to be. This girl is more like a typical unhealthy skinny-fat teenage girl.

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  2. wtf. whyyy does this girl eat so much cake and cookies???

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  3. 100-150g per day is still a ton of carbs. Massively increase your fat intake; it will smooth out your blood sugar and satisfy your appetite without copious carbohydrates. Eat things like fatty ribeye steaks, and douse your vegetables with butter and olive oil (minimize vegetable oil intake). Organic valley pasture butter is available this time of year at Whole Foods and is particularly delicious. The most important thing is to avoid anything containing sugar. It is nothing but slow-acting poison, even if it is tasty. The 20-30g of carbs should be complex carbs, and are just enough to avoid ketosis.

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  4. One could even ask whether anorexics are more realistic. Notice the girl asking advice on getting a man instead of a boy. When I was in high school the shop teacher married a senior as soon as she graduated. At least with a man, there is the possibility of the relationship leading to something vs. with a boy, guaranteed no future.

    That diet however needs to be informed by nutritional sense. Don't want calories or carbs? How about some veggies? They fill you up and have at least some vitamins. Even some milk to add vitamins and minerals. That way she at least gets to eat. My friend calls it the 'nothing white' diet. No bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. I have also seen the shopping strategy of only shopping the sides of the grocery, not the aisles. Basically, produce, meat and dairy.

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  5. One thing I noticed about the "thinspo" pictures is that a great number of those girls fall into the popular "scene" category. I've always kind of liked that fashion style: waif-like, feminine, bouncy, and pop-ish. I'm a teen and have dabbled in it, but not to the hair-dying extreme. :P And I agree with the first anonymous - that pretty girl you posted doesn't look anorexic exactly, just quite skinny. :)

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  6. I would have to argue with the first anon who claimed that "real anorexics really do want to be those skeletons, b/c their self-image is that messed up." This really is untrue, this is negative stereotyping to the extreme! No girl with anorexia WANTS to look like the ones you see in the "help this poor girl" ad's. Depending on the severity of their addiction, if it is an extreme case, they will inevitably end up this way, but they usually never have the intention of looking like a walking skeleton! Most girls imagine a Audrey Hepburn like, feminine appearance, and cutting calories without much exercise will give you softer curves, than the girls who are addicted to exercise....who wants to look like Madonna..*blech*

    Skeleton girls are simply the result of taking an addiction one step too far, not the result of a desire to have every single bone show. Just some, like the hip bone and a couple of ribs ;).

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  7. So anorexics have terrible taste in food and good taste in women? Interesting.

    Oh, and just to annoy anyone reading this: I'm losing fat on over 3000 calories a day, including plenty of carbs from milk. Hooray for fast metabolisms!

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  8. I'm a teen and have dabbled in it, but not to the hair-dying extreme. :P

    Yeah but I'm sure you tease it out so big that people can't see around you in the halls, right? So rude, so rude...

    Most scene girls are really cute, so I mean a little poofy racoony hair won't hurt them. Until they're like 40 and then suddenly they're the mom from Mean Girls, only scene.

    Most girls imagine a Audrey Hepburn like, feminine appearance,

    And they love Audrey Tautou, too. Like I said, great taste.

    who wants to look like Madonna..*blech*

    Thank you! She was nice and soft and girly up through 1984 / 85, though.

    And sure, even guys need to have some of their hip-bone showing. It accentuates those lines along the lower ab muscles toward the center. The girls I know who like that call them "penis pointers."

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  9. Many of the "thinspo" pictures are a better ideal of beauty than I thought anorexics would have (more feminine), but there still is a highly unattractive tendency of them being sickly thin and/or prepubescent looking (no hips, butt, or boobs). Not my thing at all, and I think most guys would agree.

    My preference is for feminine girls anywhere from healthfully slender to on the thick side (not overweight, but with ample hips/butt/boobs and slim waist). While I don't have a preference for slender girls in particular, they can be very attractive.

    I must say the JB.com girl pictured here is quite the cutie. Nothing at all wrong with being healthfully slender, feminine, and youthful looking (yet obviously sexually mature). Which I'll further illustrate with this feminine softcore nude model, going by the names of Marina C, GG, Angela, among others.... who while being very slender and very youthful still has womanly (albeit petite like the rest of her) curves. She's confirmed as nearly 22 years old, although I'd guess her 15 (give or take a year) if I didn't know better. This link is not work safe and contains nudity --->>>> http://board.freeones.com/showthread.php?t=216719

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