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Anorexia Nervosa

Changing Ideal of Beauty or insane Obsession?


A new standard for female beauty?

Not all that long ago, the standard of beauty for the female body – and it was a healthy standard – was this:

An old-fashioned but not so old standard of beauty for the female body, "The five Senses", paining by Hans makart
Hans Makart (1840-1884)
Die fnf Sinne (The five Senses)

Relatively unchanged, the standard evolved to the reality of the late 1940's and early 1950s.

Painter Fortunio Matania at Work (painting a nude)
Painter Fortunio Matania at Work
(Photo by J. Chillingworth)

An anorexic women, a living skeleton, posing for a photoToday many women have become obsessed with thinness. They often engage in excessive and destructive dieting to gain the newly desirable ideally thin body, even though many women and especially teenaged girls are today far more likely to be obese than was ever customary.  Psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors struggle in vain to determine what drives women to choose what is in these women's' own words a chosen lifestyle: anorexia nervosa.

The photographs of the anorexic women in this article are from a pro-anorexia Web site. The reproductions of the paintings of The Five Senses shown above are intended to serve as an absolute standard for beauty against which the fans of anorexia nervosa can measure themselves. After all, if they have nothing useful to compare themselves to, how will they ever know how much progress they made toward the objective of making themselves look ugly? Weigh scales and diaries just aren't good enough for that.

Weight is not a valid indicator of beauty. If it were, none of us would love to look at flowers or at the splendor of a sunrise.


The next page discusses the failure of anorexics to achieve the body of their dreams — nightmare is more like it.

Back to Anorexia-Nervosa Index Page

Back to Index of Health Issues

White RoseThe White Rose
Thoughts are Free

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Posted 2001 08 28