Monday, August 07, 2006

Role Model

Mara Reinstein is an entertainment writer for US Weekly, who last year, was diagnosed with enteritis, a “bacterial disease” that resulted in significant gastro-intestinal stress. Due to the disease, the normally thin Reinstein lost weight and was surprised by the reactions she received. In a recent issue of Glamour magazine, Reinstein asks, “‘Why was the outside world so thrilled with my ravaged body?’” It seems that friends and family celebrated her 11-pound weight loss, which resulted in her being significantly underweight, and which, incidentally, also resulted in her inability to hail a cab, keep color in face and ample fluid in her system, or sometimes, even, simply, to sit up.

What I find inspiring about Reinstein’s Glamour piece is her surprise about people’s reactions, as well as her commitment to re-gain her weight (and health). Reinstein writes: “‘It took a life-threatening illness to make me realize how much my peers value being ultra-thin. Now I understand why some celebrities succumb to the allure of jutting ribs in string bikinis: Their bizarre habits are rewarded with compliments from their handlers, friends, and fans.’”

Reinstein reports that she’s re-gained her weight, but has “‘never felt better about her body.’” While it may be hard for some women to identify with someone whose baseline is a Size 6, I’m happy that Reinstein wrote this piece and even happier that she can provide a different (read: healthier) perspective for the entertainment/celebrity industry. As a staff writer, maybe she can convince US Weekly editors to reduce the magazine’s features on ultra-thin women (do we really need another piece on Keira Knightley?), or maybe she’ll just hesitate to write such pieces herself. Baby steps. . .

6 comments:

PalmTreeChick said...

That's the problem when people lose weight. They hear how great they look from everyone which just makes them want to lose more weight, they get obsessed and become anorexic. I mean, who doesn't like to hear "you lost weight. You look good."

It's a little different when you have a physical illness and aren't trying to lose weight. She was just fighting to be healthy, not trying to lose weight and that's all others saw...the weightloss. It's sad.

We'd probably need everyone in the media to experience what she went through to see the impact these types of things on people and how important a "healthy" weight is.

(I think I talk out of my bum a lot of times. I say all of this stuff that probably makes no sense and I would never apply to myself.)

ps22 said...

Great find and glad she is sharing the information. How sad. Once again, the dirty details of the behind-the-scenes affirms why I'm thrilled to be a nerd who would never be in the entertainment or fashion industry.

wading through recovery said...

I don't think Reinstein's experience is that unusual (perhaps her subsequent reaction is, however).

I remember hearing from women in treatment/group settings how becoming ill and the resulting weight loss followed by positive comments began and/or contributed to their continued path into eating disorder land.

On a similar note, my roomie's sister came over to pick something up this weekend and appeared noticeably thinner. My roomie said that her sister had been ill/stressed earlier this summer and dropped some weight. To her credit, my roomie flat out told her sis that she looked better with some meat on her bones (her sis was on the thin side to begin with, probably much like Reinstein). But unlike Reinstein, her sister said there was no way in hell she was putting any weight back on...

Haley-O said...

It's definitely refreshing to hear such a story from an US writer. I guess it's not surprising that her story was published in Glamour and not in US magazine. (Well, I guess not surprising because she's not exactly a celebrity.) But, US needs to smarten up. They're definitely perpetuating the ULTRA-THIN ideal. ...But, it's making them money, so screw the ramifications, right? (that was sarcasm, of course...).

Maya said...

Thought folks here might find this recent article from the UK Sunday paper, The Observer, interesting:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/woman/story/0,,1835485,00.html

Maya

drstaceyny said...

ptc--you're right, and in fact, a lot of times, it happens unintentionally (you lose weight b/c you're sick or stressed or happy or distracted) and people praise you, starting the process. . .

ps--me, too!

wtr--I agree, but I do think her reaction is different. Good for your roommate--I hope her sister's ok.

haley--touche!

maya--thanks for the lead--great article.