I think enough people have taken their shots at Alastair Macauley's behavior on this issue, so I'm just going to say that - if you've read this blog or know me at all - I think you all probably know what I think of Mr. Macauley.
I would like to add something in rebuttal to Mr. Macauley's statement about a ballerina's appearance not being irrelevant to criticism, and that is simply a photo of Jenifer Ringer, the "fat" ballerina he criticized:
|Jennifer Love Hewitt|
I have a sister, Ashley, who is younger than me by 15 years. As I watched her grow up, I often wondered about how she saw herself in the mirror compared to the images she saw on television and movies and in the Barbie dolls she played with - some of which I bought for her.
I have an idea for The Music Man which throws out a lot of the conventions often associated with the musical (though not inherent to the story). Some of the ideas are about the characterizations and "look" of the show, but some do have to do with stereotypical body types. I think it makes the story more rich and poignant. Will I ever get to make this musical? So far, nobody's been interested. If I do find a producer, will audiences respond to the show the way that I hope? Who knows? I'll be working against a lot of ingrained imagery.
Ten million women battle eating disorders in America, and so do one million men. Almost seventeen thousand people die every year from eating disorders. If you break it down, that's over three hundred per week and roughly two every hour. Forget swine flu or E. coli or Mad Cow disease. Eating disorders are the deadly epidemic in this country.
Now, you may be wondering why I have peppered this column with images of celebrities. Do they have eating disorders? I have no idea. Do they have body-image issues? Probably. They live on this planet. They're human. But, again, I honestly don't know.
This is not about throwing around judgments or trying to make you or myself feel guilty for harboring stereotypes. It's about acknowledging that they exist and thinking about what we can do to change them.
Finally, I will leave you with the story of Andrea Smeltzer:
Eating Disorders Can Be Deadly--But Healing IS possible! Become a Friend of Andrea's Voice from Doris Smeltzer on Vimeo.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, here's a number you can call:
National Eating Disorders.org