|Pictured in Elle magazine: Models in Canadian designer, Mark Fast’s spring 2010 collection. The young women’s sizes ranged from 0 to 14.|
Deep, deep breath. . . think about the backlash. . . OK, jump right in.
Here goes. . .
In all the interviews I did about my book — not the ones in the book — I was surprised by the one question no one asked me. That question would be: “What, after all the years you’ve lived in France, do you think is almost every woman’s primary beauty concern?”
It’s her weight.
Being slender, sometimes on the very, very thin side of slim, is her obsession.
One of the nutritionists I interviewed for the book came right out and used the word “obsession” pointing out she had normal weight women — of all ages — coming to her for help to lose as little as two kilos (4.4 pounds). In those cases she saw herself not as a nutritionist, but rather a sort of authority figure to whom a woman felt she must obey and not disappoint.
Then there were the women who wanted to lose much more, but they were already thin. “Their psychological reasons are complex,” the nutritionist told me, “and I try to help them understand why they aren’t happy with the way they look. But, at the end of the day, I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist.”
A friend of mine sent me this linkwhich “pushed me over the edge” to finally write this post. I’ve been thinking about it for months, if not years.
Many argue the complexity of the issue. France issynonymous withfashion after all and the question that hangs in the air is, “Must one be slender to make the most of fashion?”
|As I’ve mentioned before, our doctor says the trick to weight loss and maintenance is “the decision and apples.” He does not recommend them as meals.|
A French journalist acquaintance of mine told me about the wife of one prominent politician who only ate four apples each day, plus lots of water and coffee. “When she attended official dinner parties, she ate normally,” she told me. “She always looked fantastic in pictures which was her goal.”
|An Azzedine Alaia dress that fits like bondage.|
I’ve heard of the lengths some women will go to slither into an Alaia dress. A doctor I know chews nicotine gum to appease her appetite. Being a doctor, she can write her own prescription. She’s apparently getting all the hunger suppressing benefits of smoking without the side effects.
As far as I know my French friends eat normally, but are extremely careful about what they consume. At this point in their lives they tell me it’s completely natural to choose a clementine instead of an eclair for example.
I’ve been thin and I’ve been not thin and the proof is still hanging in my closets. I wish I could still fit into those beautiful clothes, I suspect that would make me quite happy. (Well, those were the days when I had some amazing clothes as well as the occasions to wear them.)