After reading this post on Jezebel this morning, I was moved to write a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Man, people are ignorant and thoughtless sometimes. The letter:
I am a survivor of binge eating disorder and a long-time women’s health editor—I’m currently a deputy editor at Redbook, and have served as the health editor for both Glamour magazine and Seventeen. As such, I was incredibly saddened, and yes, a little angered, by Alistair Macaulay’s comment about dancer Jenifer Ringer’s weight in his November 28 review of the Nutcracker. It is widely known that anorexia and other disordered eating behaviors are rampant in the ballet world, as young women starve to be as thin as “necessary” to be acceptable on stage. (Even actress Mila Kunis recently commented on how much weight she had to lose from her already slim actress frame to play the role of a dancer in “Black Swan.”) Macaulay says that Singer, who danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one too many of the treats. Yet he goes on to say that she was one of the few City Ballet principals who danced like “a grown-up.” Perhaps that’s because she has the healthy, strong, well-trained body of a grown woman, rather than that of an adolescent?
The timing of his comment is made even more egregious and unfortunate in the light of Ms. Singer’s recent open and honest admission in Working Mother Magazine of her own struggles with compulsive eating and disordered behaviors that led to her leaving the stage for a few years. As the founder of a support site for girls and young women with disordered eating and weight obsession, I get emails and comments every day from young women all over the world stuck in a desperate cycle of starving and bingeing. And it makes me sad—so sad—that a respected art critic in a respected newspaper would stoop to a critique of a talented and able dancer’s shape rather than her obvious skill. I’m disappointed in Mr. Macaulay for making comments that only serve to further the depth of what has become a terrible scourge on dance, and on our society as a whole: eating disorders and weight obsession. And I’m disappointed in the Times for printing it.
Sunny Sea Gold
If you’d like to send a letter, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always you can share your thoughts below.
For help getting over hurtful things you read about weight, you might want to check out this post.