“I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina, but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.”
That’s how Lady Gaga answered a teen girl’s question recently when she was asked about her own body image issues at the Brentwood School, the tony Los Angeles prep school. As the Huffington Post reports, Gaga also spoke candidly about having been bulimic as a teenager, about her continuing struggles with maintaining a healthy weight and about the media’s distortions of how she looks.
“Every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you — they make you perfect,” she confessed. “It’s not real life.” Consider the magazine cover up top, in which Gaga’s image was undoubtedly digitally enhanced for the men’s magazine, FHM.
But that’s what girls are up against, as they inevitably compare themselves to the “not-real-life” images of celebrities.
And media distortion is, no doubt, one factor that has led to an epidemic of eating disorders among teen girls. One in 10 girls in the U.S. suffers from an eating disorder, says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the age of the girls is getting younger all the time. The results — including organ damage and sometimes death — are devastating.
Lady Gaga’s advice is simple enough: “The dieting has got to stop. Everyone just knock it off. Because at the end of the day, it’s affecting kids your age, and it’s making girls sick.”
In a culture that worships the skinny, that advice — solid as it is — will be hard to follow.