Because of the incidents which started happening about a year ago, doctors at the Stockholm Center For Eating Disorders had to change its procedures for the walks that patients take outside the clinic. From UPI.com:
Doctors working at the clinic said talent scouts would approach girls after they exited the clinic to go on walks.
Many of the girls approached last year were teenagers and some had a body mass index — a measurement of a person’s height-to-weight ratio — of as low as 14. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9 for an adult woman.
What kind of message does this send to young women who are trying to get healthy? Who knows how each case varies? I’m sure not all of these young women went into treatment willingly. How do you help someone get healthy, while at the same time reinforcing the sick ideal that the emaciated body is a symbol of fashion perfection?
As someone who struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties, I can tell you that the positive reaction to the way my body was changing from everyone around me really drove my acceptance of the disorder. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I was doing. How could doing whatever possible to stay thin be a bad thing when everyone was noticing how “good” I looked and giving me positive attention? The actions of these modeling scouts targeting young women is deplorable.
I’m currently expecting my second child – a girl – in May. I have to admit many times I have thought I hope she takes after her dad – what with his long, lean limbs and his lightening-fast metabolism. Not because I would prefer that she was thin – quite the contrary. I just don’t want her to ever experience the body image issues that plagued me as a teenager – and led to bad decisions and some really awful health effects. Admittedly, I came from a household with a total body-obsessed mother. My child definitely won’t have that problem.
But back to these awful scouts:
“They claimed that they approach healthy, normally slim young people and that they never urge anyone to lose weight; that’s how they defended themselves,” care coordinator Chistina Lillman-Ringborg told the TT news agency.
“We think this is repugnant. People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin,” chief doctor Anna-Maria af Sandeberg told the Metro newspaper. “It sends the wrong signals when the girls are being treated for eating disorders.”
It sure does. I wish I could see an end to our weight-obsessed culture. I’m just not sure how any of this is going to change. I can only do my part by repeatedly trying to send a message of self-acceptance to young women – and raising my own daughter to love her body – whoever she ends up taking after.