The Matron is amazing. Watch while she sums up her entire 278 page dissertation in a single blog post (okay, that statement is mildly unsettling).
To prove her eventual point, she must ask you some questions: "What is anorexia, who are the primary sufferers and what are the contributing factors?"
Big round of applause! You know every single answer!
But there's no other equivalent mental illness in which the entire culture is so well-versed. Could you answer the same for alcoholism? Schizophrenia? Borderline Personality Disorder?
Of course not.
The Matron's main point was that American culture requires cement-solid definitions of 'disease' when it comes to female eating. Why? Because if medicine --and the beauty industry, fashion, athletics--can say "this" (anorexia) is disease, everything else is 'normal,' sort of by default.
Focusing our attention on one type of body and despair, allows us to forget the rest. All of us 'normal' eaters.
The Matron wonders what 'normal' eating is in a world where the female body is the primary vehicle for sales, of all sort, and sexism not only endures, but is institutionalized to the point of acceptance. Consider Hustler or Playboy or even the current Democratic presidential campaign (remember when someone yelled "iron my shirt" at Hillary? What if that was "shine my shoes" at Barack?) as one tiny examples.
How many men do you know that tend to their bodies with female precision: calories? glycemic index? past the lips, forever on the hips? do these pants make me look thinner? can't eat a brownie because I didn't jog today OR okay, I get to TREAT myself because I did the treadmill.
The Matron considered these issues today while listening to psychologically sound mothers discuss their daughters bodies. The entire conversation was all about the girls' happiness: isn't it hard being the chubby one? Poor Greta! She feels fat next to all her other friends.
There was talk about tummies, thighs and who was 'rounding out' and who remaining beanpole thin. The Matron was a participant in this conversation, mind you, not an innocent bystander. But she noted -- as the women discussed the burgeoning female bodies -- that this type of conversation happens from time to time regarding the daughters, but not the sons.
Once Scarlett asked the Matron why some people were fat and others were skinny and how to stay in Category Number Two.
The Matron said: "Eat until your tummy feels full and make mostly healthy choices."
Now, the "healthy choices" part annoys the Matron. In his new book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan posits that 90% of what we call food, isn't. Most of what sits on the American shelf--from Ramen noodles to Trix to Hamburger Helper -- are chemicals masquerading as food. He keeps a perfect-looking 5 year old Twinkie at his side as example: real food rots.
Now consider the alluring, appealing Matronly nails that top this post. See the slight yellow lining? The stain? That would be from the Matron's preferred chemical pleasure -- Old Dutch Cheese Popcorn!
The Matron ate that popcorn TEN DAYS ago.
She has showered. Bathed. Soaked those nails. Yet the yellow lining remains, much like Kool-Aid can ruin a rug.
Did you know that fast food chains add 'scent' to their food? Yes! There's burger smell and chicken, added because the real aroma is long gone.
This is the brave new world our children are living in - the daughters? They better be thin. Yes, we are still singing that song! The beauty standard remains (often, pretending to be all about health when really, we are still talking beauty) at the same time the food 'standard' has been all but obliterated.
Today, this entire situation, annoyed the Matron.