Did British supermodel Kate Moss just come out in favor of anorexia? asked Jim Farber in the New York Daily News. That’s how many critics are interpreting her comment to Women’s Wear Daily last week that “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Eating-disorder activists “were quick to jump down Moss’ throat” for seeming to promote the idea that thinness is more desirable than health and nutrition. Moss didn’t coin this loathsome slogan, said Cathy Burke in the New York Post. Go online and you’ll find it’s a favorite mantra of the desperate, desperately ill young girls who frequent “pro-anorexia” websites, which preach that anorexia and bulimia are lifestyle choices and not eating disorders. But thanks to Moss, those tragic creatures now have “a horrifying endorsement of starving your way to supermodel thin.”
Oh, please, said Mark Rubi in the New York Examiner.com. The notion that “legions of young girls will now leap headlong into a lifestyle of anorexia and bulimia” because Moss let slip that there’s a connection between caloric consumption and weight loss is absurd. I’ll go further, said Giles Coren in the London Times: Kate Moss is right. As a restaurant reviewer, I can tell you that there really is no gastronomic delight so succulent that it’s worth the health risks and low self-esteem of being seriously overweight. If more of us shared Moss’ “willpower and strength,” our society would be better off. Last time I checked, the Western world was in the grip of “an obesity crisis, not an anorexia crisis.”
Tell that to an anorexic, said Laurie Penny in the London Guardian. As someone who as a teenager walked around with the now-infamous pro-anorexia slogan written on my hand, I can attest that being “skinny tastes of nothing at all.” Life with an eating disorder was “a bland, cold, joyless experience”—a living hell in which I starved myself not so much to be thin but as part of a “violent strategy for exerting control on the body when life felt beyond my control.” To be sure, one supermodel’s comment isn’t going to make much difference to the thousands of young women and girls in the grip of an eating disorder. But the way forward for them, as it was for me, is to realize that there are plenty of things in this life that taste better than skinny feels—among them, first and foremost, “the sweeter taste of freedom.”
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