Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day at the Beach


Thesuperficial.com recently posted a bit on Kelly Clarkson's six-month battle with bulimia in high school. Accompanying the text was a newer photo of Clarkson, snapped at the beach.

As of this writing, 249 comments poured in, and I had the chance to scroll through some of the them. I sometimes forget, writing a body-friendly blog, about the angry, hateful voices that surround us. True, the domain name should have warned me, but some of these (original writing preserved) were still quite alarming:

"Beached whale!!!"

"From the looks of that picture, she should think about starting up again."

"She looks like a very thin and unattractive woman that was stretched fat. There is no shape to her such as an hourglass figure and she definitely is fat. It is quite remarkable that she is so tubby yet not at all curvaceous. That body does nothing for a man. Sex with her would be a fitting punishment for minor crimes."

"I think this pic was snapped just as she started to hurl. Way to go Kelly! There is a thin you trapped somewhere in there."

"Wow! Kelly Clarkson bullimic? yeah right! if she was ever skinny, then i was a girl in my previous life. which i still am...only i have no boobs, an extremely large penis and...well, Long Story Short, im a guy. but in other words...i'd still do her. with a bag over her head of course."

One commented. . .

"She is NOT FAT at all. I dont see cellulite, rolls or a belly. she's just not super skinny. Part of the reason people become bulimic is because of comments like this."

. . . but was quickly rebuffed:

"I don't think so, celia. the reason people become bulimic is because they take extreme pleasure in overpowering and torturing people, namely, themselves."

Inaccurate.
Hurtful.
Angry.
Violent.
Misogynistic.

It's a dangerous world out there.

Or, as one commenter noted:

"Wow. Do most of you peeps have lives of your own? I'd love to see how you measure up against an incredibly normal-looking human being having fun at the beach. I love this website, but man, so many of the commenters have really fucked up views of what is good/beautiful/acceptable/normal. You're all so brainwashed to think that women who are so Hollywood thin are normal. They ain't. Kelly looks incredibly normal and healthy there. If she wants more in the boobage area, there are nice padded bras to wear. When you're having fun at the beach, who gives a fuck? And who should, frankly?"

Well put.

19 comments:

PalmTreeChick said...

Clearly, many of these commenters have no clue what EDs are all about.

Charlynn said...

I hate that website. Whenever I click on a link to that place, the comments always astound me. People are so hurtful and ignorant.

Sarah said...

oh, wow. that makes me really sad. what a bunch of ignorant creeps.

Anonymous said...

OK, I may live under a rock but I don't even know who the hell Kelly Clarkson is (sorry, I know, sadly uninformed...). But if that's her in the picture, I think she looks GREAT! Or maybe something is wrong with my eyes as well.

Rachel said...

I've never heard of the site and from those comments, I'm not missing out on much.

These men (and women) act like its Clarkson's duty to project a sexy, wanna-fuck-me image for their own gratification. What narcissism!

Jennifer B. said...

I used to frequent that site a while ago, before I knew about the nature of many of the comments made there. Ironically enough, I was one of the few people who consistently tried to offer what I felt was a voice of reason to their sensationalism. I mostly only "spoke out" about the ED/race-related issues because those are the ones where people's fangs really come out, and many comments are just completely devoid of any logical or factual...anything.

Of course, I was endlessly taunted and basically added fuel to their fire.

They really seem to just thrive on posting the wittiest, most hurtful, most creative, more horrid comments about people. Which is sad, because one of the main reasons I stuck around at the site so long was because I could tell that many of the more veteran posters had such a sharp mind. After a point, it doesn't matter much, though, if all they do is sit around playing online mercenary on the "famous" because "well baby, it's the Superfish, we can do that here."

They can have that site.

Every once in a while I'll go back to see what they're saying, because as much as I might dislike their comments, I can't shake the feeling that a LOT more people in the US feel the exact way these people feel about the two issues I mentioned--they just don't have a vehicle to voice their opinions. And they might not be as snarky. But the underlying, say, misunderstanding or willful ignorance regarding EDs? I've encountered that more times than I care to relive.

Jennifer B. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bliss Chick said...

I love Rachel's comment, and i agree, why should she be any certain way for us.

This makes me sick. I was going to post a similar thing about her on my blog, because of a post over at www.theskinnywebsite. Where whether or not Kelly is a "healthy" role model (their quotes not mine). I decided not to post about it, because I didn't want to add fuel to the fire. It's all pointless. she is a singer, way should this matter. She is a beauitful women and we need to leave her weight alone.I hope she does not read those gossip blogs.

Not everyone is attracted to the same thing either, but for the record, i have a male friend who can barely contain himself when he sees images of this women, she is just that attractive to him.

Teresa said...

What is wrong with people! Just because you're not a stick figure you're obese. This is so sad.

Anonymous said...

I came across the Superficial about two years ago and read it for awhile, since it was one of the wittier pop culture sites. Then I started reading the comments and quit the site. Haven't read it since. The viciousness, the deliberate nastiness is just too unhealthy and depressing. Life is too short to expose yourself to so much toxicity.

said...

The worst part of sites about that one is that they normalize those sorts of comments.

I worked for a website for an enthusiast group briefly. I found out first hand that if you're female, and in any sort of position of power in a group online, you now can expect this sort of treatment. Any time our site members got angry with me they'd post pictures and discuss how fat and ugly I'd gotten. Needless to say that job didn't last long and any wishes I had for doing ANYTHING that would EVER put me in ANY sort of public spotlight EVER again completely died.

Trisha said...

My name is Trisha Gura and I am author of “Lying in Weight: the Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women” (Harper Collins, May 2007). I am concerned not just about Kelly and other American idols who are getting criticized about their bodies but also the millions of fans who identify with the idols. What's the message? Start dieting and picking up behaviors like overexercise, chewing and spitting out food, and vomiting. The behaviors lead to eating disorders. And they don't stop with adolescence. About 2/3 of individuals with eating disorders do not fully recover. The illness, or some remnant of it, remains, triggered by stresses and huge life transitions, i.e. marriage, pregnancy, parenting, mid and late life. This kind of commentary is where it all starts.

Trisha Gura
www.trishagura.com
trisha@trishagura.com

ania said...

Dear Dr. Stacey,

It's extremely difficult to read those comments quoted in your post. In this space. Your space.

I know it's honest, and out there. Believe me. But, the extreme malicious nature is unsettling to see here. Especially if someone perceives their body in the image of Ms. Clarkson.

However, this is your space, and as I know that your goal is toward awareness and healthy thinking, I absolutely respect your choice to share information that you see fit to share.

But, I just really felt moved to share my visceral response.

With respect....

Alyssa said...

The sad fact is that the internet gives us all an anonymity we never used to have. So it's easy for people to fall into the mob mentality, and to say things they wouldn't normally say in person It gives people a place to spew their venom. And, yes, it is definitely worse when it's directed at a woman.

Amani said...

I don't even know how to respond to this post. As someone struggling with an eating disorder, it makes me immensely sad for the women like Kelly Clarkson who are constantly under the critical gaze of the media. She always seems strong in her interviews - I hope she can use that strength to ignore the comments like the ones made on that website.

Melissa said...

I recently saw a picture of her with horrid comments about her body size. She was laying on a deck chair and the two women on either side of her were thin to the point that I was uncomfotable.

Anonymous said...

Some websites for women are really promoting so skinny images...

Anonymous said...

If anyone has seen the other photos in this set, she looks absolutely incredible. Fit, curvey, super sexy.

I realize that this isn't the point of the blog but I thought that it bares mentioning that this photo is simply unflattering. Big deal. No one looks great after getting nailed by a wave and almost losing their bikini. She's having fun in the water.

I feel a bit ashamed, as a guy, on behalf of all of the stupid posts made. Please remember that stupid people are often the loudest. There are many many guys (and girls) that are more turned on by a person who is comfortable in her skin, fit, smart, and self- and sexually-aware than anything else. Not to mention those who simply love healthy curves, including (but not limited to) soft bellies, thighs, and bottoms.

Sheepy said...

I think it's fantastic that she doesn't feel the pressure to be super skinny because that's just not natural!! Real women have curves and any man that thinks otherwise has some serious issues that need to be worked through. I don't see how some men can find celebs like Victoria Beckham attractive because they don't even look like adults let alone real women.