In his recent bestselling fiction novel Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe uses the graphic term “social x-rays” to describe the gaunt, transparent appearance of the high society women who have starved themselves to become thin despite their advancing age. Horror to the middle-aged wife who finds one of her husband’s male friends is now married to a younger, and thinner, attractive woman. One does not have to be an observant social scientist to note the culturally endorsed emphasis on thinness, and now increasingly, fitness. The amateur social scientist needs only to take a stroll through daily life to collect numerous examples of the cultural preoccupation with thinness, especially for women: commercials for designer jeans, Virginia Slims cigarettes (targeted toward women), “Lite” foods, the constant running battle between food, body weight, and the bathing suit in the Cathy cartoons, and lead articles on check-out stand newspapers boasting a new plan for “Ten Days to Thinner Thighs!” are but a few examples.
KeywordsAnorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Personality Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Borderline Personality Disorder
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 3rd Edition, Revised. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- American Psychiatric Association (1993). DSM-IV draft criteria. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Arbitell, M. R., & Mizes, J. S. (1988). Typographical and descriptive variables in bulimia nervosa: A controlled comparison. Paper presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Convention, New Orleans.Google Scholar
- Detzer, M. J., Leitenberg, H., Poehlman, E., Rosen, J. C., Hiser, J., Wolf, J., Catalano, P. M., & Tyzbir, E. D. (1989). Resting metabolic rate in bulimia nervosa. Poster presented at the 23rd Annual meeting of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Fairburn, C. G. (1985). A cognitive-behavioral treatment of bulimia. In D. M. Garner & P. E. Garfinkel (Eds.). Handbook of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa and bulimia (pp. 160–192). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Keys, A., Brozek, J., Henschel, A., Michelsen, O., & Taylor, H. L. (1950). The biology of human starvation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Mizes, J. S. (1993). Bulimia nervosa. In A. S. Bellack & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of behavior therapy in the psychiatric setting (pp. 311–327). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Rodin, J., Silberstein, L., & Striegel-Moore, R. (1984). Women and weight: A normative discontent. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Psychology and gender: Nebraska symposium on motivation (pp. 267–307). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Williamson, D. A. (1990). Assessment of eating disorders: Obesity, anorexia, and bulimia nervosa. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar