The "heroin chic body” is back?!
I’ll repost the question here: Question
HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE BACK TO THE SAME SKINNY MINNY BODY NORM THAT USED TO PREDOMINATE WHEN I WAS A TEEN?
Or, phrased with less CAPS and hair-pulling, why is “heroin thin” popular again? What makes us culturally attracted to bony babes who look like they could fall over in a strong gust? And why do I find myself wishing to be skinny like them?? I’m a fat lady Christian feminist who believes in body positivity! Why??!!
I think the article nailed the reasons for the return to the thin ideal: thinness (especially "pretty" thinness) has always given people more power. Sure, there's been a bit more acceptance in recent years for bigger bodies, but most of them still have snatched waits to go with the curvy hips and big breasts. There's still only a small percentage of the population that can attain even the curvy version of ideal because there's still a nod to thinness.
I think this extreme thinness is back because that's what beauty trends do: they swing in one direction until "too many" people are close-ish to the ideal and then they swing back to something that feels "fresh". Because, guess what, capitalism needs people to keep chasing a new body so they'll buy more. People who've achieved the perfect "snatched waist, big butt, big breasts" look will now invest time and energy into wasting away. And women are products in our society. Objects to be manipulated to whatever is deemed beautiful on the whims of society.
I do fear for the young women (and some older ones) who are more susceptible to buy into the belief that their bodies must visually represent the whims of society in order to be valued. As a fat woman myself (though a decade of near-starvation gave me a taste of the privileges of being thin-adjacent), it's only been in the last couple years that I've been able to work through my fatphobia and accept that my body has value regardless of how it looks. The damage that fatphobia did to my mental health for most of my life, though, lingers. I fear this new trend will raise up a new generation with the same internal hangups I've had.
I hate watching young girls (and boys) walk toward the quagmire we managed to kind of scramble out of. I have teens in my life whom I love and invest in, but bringing it up is a delicate matter because chronic illness has blessed-or-cursed-me with the sought-after thinness, and that kinda changes how my words might be received. I remember well-meaning but very pretty 20-somethings kindly telling me that beauty didn't matter when I had a faceful of terrible acne as a teen. I appreciated the effort, but my lizard brain said "that's easy for you to say, lady."
I want to be careful about complaining about being too thin when so many people in my life struggle in the other direction. It continues to bring home how twisted our priorities are, though. Once after leaving the doctor's office having dropped a few more pounds, I was cat-called by a couple of guys who specifically said, "Looking skinny, darlin'!" I whirled around, marched toward them, and said with increasing volume, "Yeah, that's because I have a serious chronic illness that has made holes in my stomach and I have at least four kinds of parasites that are literally eating me from the inside out, think about that before you CATCALL SOMEONE THAT WAY," which caused one of them to call me a b**** and the other one to apologize and maybe learn something. Then I walked away and burst into tears, whereupon two very nice girl persons walking by asked if I was okay and gave me hugs. Portland ME, your hug-givers outweigh your cat-callers and I love you.
I digress. The point is, they equated skinny with attractive. It made me so mad even as I struggled to walk back to my car amid post-doctor-appointment anxiety and rage adrenaline.
Also, I gotta make clear how much this bums me out that Gen Z, in particular, are falling for the same old marketing ploys. 🥵😱 And why are we using these same ploys?? Ugh!
I fear a move toward the skinniest possible version of women will be terrible for female mental health across the board… cause the reality of a “heroin chic” bod is so severe and unattainable for most.
Or perhaps it comes from an already raging mental health crisis?