Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The DIPE Dilemma

I learned a new term the other day while reading a New York Times article about the trend to have famously and notoriously thin actresses be interviewed at restaurants, a seeming effort to make sure that someone records their having ingested a few morsels at some point during the day.

And the new term???


Huh ...?

DIPE = Documented Instance of Public Eating

Hmmmm. Plenty to consider with that one, eh???

Now, in all honesty, I feel a need to offer some defense for those skinny girls since people often take issue with my weight and my appetite. For the record, I'm 5'8" and weigh maybe 120. I have such a small frame that my wrist is only 5-1/2" around, so I simply can't carry a lot of weight and I'm fortunate to have a metabolism which cooperates with that limitation.

But anyone who knows me can give you an abundance of examples of my own DIPEs. Although I strive to eat sensibly, both in terms of portions and also nutrients, I've got a pretty hearty appetite and can eat far more than most people would guess at first glance; I also possess not just one sweet tooth, but sweet teeth. So I feel as though the actresses in question must eat more regularly than is presumed despite their physiques, and may even truly enjoy junk foods like macaroni and cheese or fried zucchini, which were mentioned in the article ... everyone has their cravings, after all.

But it is admittedly difficult to consider how emaciated some of these women are, and then to reconcile that visual with the image of them eating high-calorie garbage. It should show on their skin, on their hips, somewhere!

Now, of course, these are women who earn good paychecks, who undoubtedly have personal trainers to whip them into shape and the clout to set their own schedules so that there are opportunities to exercise; peons like moi have none of the above, and are lucky to find time for a nice long walk or to do some yoga and push-ups. So the indulgence would show more on me and last longer, too.

Or is it, perhaps, that the actresses really don't have that much power, and that they've been instructed to eat publicly for the sake of documentation and to do so obediently? Bumble Ward, a blogger quoted in the NYT article, says “They’re so sure that people assume they have an eating disorder that they’re forced to wolf down caveman-like portions of ‘comfort food’ in order to appear normal. And worse, they feel they have to comment on how much they’re enjoying themselves."

So, rather than having publicists continue to earn their salaries by defending their clients' eating habits, the actresses have been cowed into timing their food consumption for maximum exposure ...?

Or, consider that this may be the only meal some of these women will eat during the day, supplemented by an energy drink or some nibbles at a glitzy party; by necessity, they'd need to load up on their calories then. But this isn't a healthy way to live, and I think if this were the case there would be periods of exhaustion and hypoglycemia followed by rumors about unreliability or unpredictability and the potential reasons for such behavior.

I don't know ... I admit that I look at some of these wispy creatures and say: "She needs to eat something. She's MUCH too thin!" (Good Jewish mama, here!) I also say it about some men, too, so everything's fair.

And yet, no one accuses the skinny guys of binging and purging, do they? No one accuses men of feigning affection for fatty foods merely for the sake of publicity. Men aren't expected to be thin while people scrutinize what they eat to either approve or disapprove depending upon what's being consumed.

Robert Redford was recently interviewed for AARP - The Magazine, and the meeting took place over lunch. "We sit at a small round table in a classroom at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Redford, known to friends as Bob, has requested Chinese chicken salad, water, and coffee for lunch. 'Mind if I steal an egg from your salad?' he asks, as if we're old pals."

Was there even a whisper about this in the New York Times article, that a man may have staged an interview in a restaurant? Is there any suspicion in anyone's mind that Bob picks at his food most of the time, but that he is making a public demonstration of eating for the sake of having the meal documented? Is there any questioning of his ordering a salad rather than a steak? Nope.

So why are the women being scrutinized???

Well, for one, Bob looks like he eats well on a regular basis. Some of our most famous actresses (Cate Blanchett and Keira Knightley were referred to in the DIPE article) look as though they eat well maybe quarterly.

And yet, what are the societal expectations for actresses, hmmmm ...? Are they frail and fragile because they choose to be? Because that's what theoretically looks best on film? Because that's the standard of beauty? Because that's what audiences demand of their movie stars? Men should be broad-shouldered and chiseled and muscular and sturdy, while women should be skeletal and then criticized for it ... this is the norm.

So then, the actresses are chastized for being too thin only to then also be chastized if they dare to eat. What's a girl to do???

Eat. Just eat! Enjoy yourself, stay healthy, have some fun while paying attention to nutrition, and be sure to exercise. But eat -- and not just as another acting job, pretending to be a woman who enjoys hearty helpings of fatty foods. Set an example for women who admire you and girls who will grow up emulating you.

Just eat, and eat well -- lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables -- whether you've got an audience or whether you're alone in your jammies.

Clearly, the world is watching you ....

Image by Cool Text: Free Graphics Generator


TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

Great article! I have to take defense for some of those ladies being 'documented' too. This is the absolute wrong way to deal with the problem. You can't 'force' someone to eat that is careful about what they eat. It will counteract it all. Thank you so much for sharing, very interesting!

Unknown said...

I wonder all those things too. And, I guess, until we know one of those girls, we'll have to continue to wonder and guess! As long as you are eating and enjoy it... right? Let them starve their bodies of good foods... just means more mac and cheese for me!!!

Cranberry Morning said...

Good post. I'm reminded of my daughter when she was a teenager and would tell me that her friends had Diet Coke for breakfast and Diet Coke for lunch. I told her it was insane and that she, my daughter, looked lovely and healthy. 'Mom, pleeeease don't tell me I look healthy!'

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Well said Mary!

Laura said...

Ok, while watching the TV, I've been known to shout out, "EAT A CHEESEBURGER!" to the latest skinny actress on TV. LOL! Great post.

Robin said...

Hollywood is a rough place. Great article. It is really sad that women have such a tough time in this industry. Remember when they shot pics of Jennifer Love Hewitt in a bathing suit showing off her cellulite on her thighs? She was really pissed and came back with the fact that she already wore a size 4 or something like that. The poor girl probably weighed somewhere between 100-110 pounds. All that accomplished was putting an overworked person in the position of being more stressed. She undoubtedly cranked up the sessions with the trainer and (likely) ate less. In order to make it, you have to be a size 0 in this bizz. That is sheer crap. I am a size 4 and 103 pounds right now and I look like I could disappear when I turn sideways. No binging and purging. Just migraines. And nausea. Lots of that. And lying in bed in a dark room. Oooh the fun.

Well, this is a bad cycle. This DIPE. People need to give these girls a break. And I mean everyone. If we all stopped judging, it wouldn't be such a big ole deal. Just sayin'. More love. More kindness. That's what this here world needs.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's true that some actresses really just eat something when there are people with cameras around, just to display their 'healthy' eating habits...and as soon as they are alone again they shove a fnger down their throat.
It's sad, it really is.

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