Friday, October 2, 2009


"Thin" is a photography/film exhibit put together by artist Lauren Greenfield.  Right now, it is living at Notre Dame's Snite Gallery, which is where I happened upon it.  As you may guess, its subject matter is eating disorders.  Greenfield spent time at a clinic in Florida where she conducted interviews, was present for treatments, and filmed/photographed her experiences.  At first, I was disappointed by how literal the photos are.  They are very un-pretty: exposing cutting scars, ribs, and under-eye circles.  It is obviously made to make the viewer react strongly, which, it was successful at.

What the exhibit really succeeded at was telling the women's stories.  While it might have been a little cheap to show grotesque females to get a reaction, I believe, that paired with the individuals' stories next to the photos, it became appropriate.  As a woman, not only could I sympathize, but understand.  While never having a severe eating disorder myself, I am obsessed with my body, as I believe most women are.  And I don't mean obsessed as an egotistical term, but obsessed as in I think about how horrible I look all the time.  I don't want this to be a personal whine fest, but I think it's an important issue that we all deal with, and it's important to discuss it.  I remember being 6 years old and being in an outfit my mom was so excited to put me in, and all I could think about is that my belly stuck out over the pants and I thought I was fat.  I didn't last an hour in this outfit.  At 6 years old...which leads me to believe that it's not just our screwed up society that makes us so uber-critical.  I grew up with strong (although sometimes emotionally unstable) women influences who always told me I was beautiful.  No matter how often our mothers, sisters, and boyfriends tell us we're beautiful, it takes one glance at a girl in a bikini without any bulges or a reflection of ourselves in a glass door for us to go back to self-loathing land.

Needless to say, the exhibit affected me greatly.  I think that it would be a good idea for anyone who has been affected by their appearance or has been in a relationship with someone with low body image to check this out.  It's a good call to attention to the issue.  If we have the power to try to rise above this and prioritize our thoughts better or if we unfortunately do not, it's empowering to see what these other women have been through and seeing their fight to live.


  1. I will check that link out. My earliest memory of being self conscious of my body was when I was about 12, and I was in a bikini with a friend, and she poked my belly. When I looked down I noticed for the first time that my tummy had "flab". Before that moment, I don't remember ever thinking of myself as "fatter" or "thinner" than anyone. Six years old is pretty young to have that realization, my friend. Do you ever walk down the street and watch the women that are walking by you, and notice how most of them discretely look at their reflection in the store windows? Ugh - I know I'm guilty. I'd say maybe 5% are admiring themselves, the other 95% of us are definitely critiquing. My heart definitely aches for the girls that take those thoughts to the extreme and end up struggling with these disorders their entire lives. Love you darling.

  2. This is why I belly dance. It makes me appreciate my body for what it is, and what it does. It also puts me in a situation with a lot of other imperfect women learning to appreciate the same things.
    Seriously good vibes. The opposite of the time I was in standing with a group of girls in the fifth grade and one girl was telling us what kind of butts we had. (Mine was wide and flat, if you care to know.)

  3. RIght it's like we're all out to get each other as women. Little tactless girls aren't the only ones who talk like this. I wish we could be like men and just say it doesn't matter. So why does it?