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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Personality Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Borderline Personality Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Scott Mizes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, MetroHealth Medical CenterCase Western Reserve University School of MedicineClevelandUSA

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