From the minute they both walked down the aisle, Kate Middleton and her younger sister, Pippa Middleton, have received more than their share of public attention for their beauty and style, rivaling that of the late Princess Diana. Harmless royal icons? Maybe. But when their thin figures become inspiration—or “thinspiration“—on websites that promote anorexia and bulimia, idolizing these women becomes alarming.
In the months leading up to the royal wedding, tabloids were abuzz about the bride-to-be’s dieting. Once pictured in her slim-waisted gown, it became clear that the new Duchess of Cambridge had lost a considerable amount of weight—some reports even say she is down to 95 pounds (although there’s nothing to substantiate any estimates of her weight). Pippa drew just as much (if not more) attention that day in her slim white sheath, and has since remained in the spotlight with numerous social and athletic endeavors.
We can’t say whether either of these women looks dangerously thin, but when they are used as inspiration for other women to fuel eating disorders, there is a definite problem. In the past, other “thinspiration” celebs have included Victoria Beckham and Mary-Kate Olsen, but with increasing frequency, Kate and Pippa are popping up as “thinspo” on these online forums, social networking sites, and blogs.
Lynn S. Grefe, MA, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association, told MSNBC:
These sites are very, very dangerous. Eating disorders are biologically based psychiatric illnesses, and these sites promote being sick and staying sick … bottom line, they delay treatment.
Many presume eating disorders predominately affect teenage girls, but research shows an increasing number of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s face the disease too. In fact, one treatment center says they’ve seen a 42% increase in patients over the age of 35 since 2001. Mid-life stress and traumatic events can trigger an eating disorder and leave women struggling to try to regain balance in their lives. Eating or not eating becomes the one thing they can control.
Ironically enough, Princess Diana admitted to suffering from bulimia throughout her life. But there is no indication that either Middleton sister is facing similar struggles. So, are we making too big of a deal out of this? Are the Middleton sisters receiving so much attention simply because they’re full of beauty and charm? Or are their slender figures setting a dangerous example to women?
Tell us what you think.