This is Why Women Have Eating Disorders

January 25, 2010

This may be a bit off topic, or at least only tangentially related to my usual discussion of relationships. However, when I came across this story it struck me as speaking volumes about our culture and how it affects women’s self-esteem. It also affects men’s preferences, so it’s important.

The photos below are of Christina Hendricks, who plays Joanie in Mad Men. The photo on the right is the true representation, and the one on the left was altered by the New York Times.

But why? Here’s what columnist Cathy Horyn had to say about her the morning after the Golden Globes:

Not pretty Christina Hendricks in Christian Siriano’s exploding ruffle dress. (As one stylist said, ‘You don’t put a big girl in a big dress.’)

The Gothamist picked up on the distortion and wrote about it here, providing the photos above.

Suddenly, The New York Times altered the article with an update:

Update | 2:57 p.m. A number of readers raised concerns that the photo of Christina Hendricks at the Golden Globe Awards had been deliberately altered. The photo was slightly distorted inadvertently due to an error during routine processing. The photograph has been replaced.

And finally, Warming Glow, a blog about TV programming, responded to the “correction” in an article entitled Bastards!:

The Times has since corrected the mistake, calling it a result of “routine processing.” Really? Because I do “routine processing” on Photoshop all day long, and when I resize or crop photos, that never seems to happen. I could understand if a dog in a funny hat showed up in the picture, but that’s just inexcusable.

Why is this a big deal?

1. It’s inaccurate and mean-spirited.

I’ve always thought Ms. Hendricks is smokin’ hot. I confess that when I first began watching the show, I assumed that she was “padded” to give her a figure that would have been more appreciated in 1961. So when I started seeing pics of her out and about, or on the red carpet somewhere, I was delighted. She’s perfect, exactly as she is! Now, it’s true that I’m not a guy. But if I were, I’d want a piece of that over Kate Moss’ skinny ass anyday!

2. It’s written by a woman.

It’s depressing, though perhaps not surprising, to learn that in the world of fashion writers, emaciation is a religion. Here’s a picture of Cathy Horyn:

I’m pretty sure she’s actually Brian Dennehy:

In any case, no big dresses for you, Cathy Horyn!

3. The media’s treatment of women’s bodies is wreaking havoc with the way we see ourselves. And that wreaks havoc with the way we present ourselves.

This is a personal issue to me. Because I have been cursed blessed with Christina Hendricks’ body type. Growing up and going to high school in LA, I can assure you I was not everyone’s cup of tea. Most of the men I attracted when I was a teenager were the dads of my friends and the families I babysat for. It was pretty much a decade of fighting off the pervs.

Eventually, I matured into my looks and got guys precisely because I was curvy. I still wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I learned that there are plenty of men who are attracted to an hourglass figure. My husband still sees me as incredibly sexy, which is such a curse blessing!

Girl, whatever you’ve got, flaunt it. You are not for all markets, but there are plenty of men who will love your looks if you are secure in them.

Guys, weigh in here. Do you think Christina Hendricks is hot? Do you prefer skinny or voluptuous?