This past weekend's The New York Times Magazine features an article written by a Harriet Brown, the mother of a 14-year-old girl diagnosed with anorexia. Ms. Brown's personal account of healing her daughter describes the Maudsley approach, a family-based approach for treating anorexia, and pays tribute to the genetic factors associated with eating disorders. Brown cautions us against socio-cultural explanations: "If this were true, though, millions of American girls and women would become anorexic instead of the roughly 1 to 3 percent who do. Clearly there are other factors involved." Brown's point is well-taken--a number of factors have been associated with the development of eating disorders; however, when you turn the page after the article's end, it's hard to discount the critical role that cultural images and dialogues play in women's thoughts about their bodies.
(Lest there be any uncertainty, the image illustrates a Times feature subtitled, "An Artful Homage to this Season's All-Important Acessory: The Hat.")