Tuesday, May 27, 2008



I just read this article about "thinspo/thinspiration" films - designed to inspire the viewers to reach their "goals"... and this paragraph jumped out at me.

On a formal level, thinspiration rejects the conventions of propaganda and advertising, instead borrowing devices from two other forms, one traditional and one digital. The traditional form is women’s confessional poems and diaries, including the work of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and Louise Gl├╝ck. A woman who is furtive, prolific, deeply melancholy, proud of her sacrifices, furious at her family’s various offenses, frustrated with her body and protective of her supreme right to destroy herself — this persona, in America, at least, was the invention of poets like Plath, whose teasing and savage voice, even now, is every bit as bracing as the thinspo videos. The cacophony of female archetypes in Plath’s work — little girl (“Daddy, daddy”), avenging Cassandra (“Do I terrify?”) and wan martyr (“the long gone darlings”) — turn up in the thinspiration videos, too, which feature women looking alternately like schoolgirls, madwomen and saints. Sarcasm and assonance characterize thinspo poetry: “Eat no evil.”

Yes it said protective of her supreme right to destroy herself. This... sentiment... feels so familiar. It is like a protest against the gaudy twittering greedy loud gluttonous interfering blinding obese consumerist excesses that have taken over society and hence on some level justified - honorable, cleansing... protestant? And perhaps... maybe... it is an extreme reaction to precisely that over-consumerism in society. Maybe to get rid of anorexia, we have to get rid of obesity?

Or maybe it's just a physical manifestation of the self loathing (self sacrifice?) guilt (conscience) we are brought up feeling. The self sacrifice, the promotion of simplicity, the rejection of excesses are all honorable sentiments. It's when you practice it in excess that it becomes a problem :)

Depression can cause you to over eat to fill up the emptiness.. or starve yourself to punish yourself. Both sides are caused by a feeling of uneasiness. We are just trying to feel whole and in control. You control the emptiness by making it complete or you go on the impossible quest of getting rid of it through consumption that is never enough. You try to feel whole. Whole-y empty or Whole-y full. I dont know if this is really about body image.

It goes on to say:

Setting aside the mystifying proposition that anorexia be seen as a lifestyle choice (as some extremist pro-anorexia sites maintain), as well as the age-old riddle of whether popular culture can produce mental illness, what seems most significant about the thinspiration videos is that they’re not propaganda or even entertainment, but an effort, however misguided, at art.

Food for thought.

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