"I Love Anorexia" T-Shirts: Tongue-in-Cheek or Tasteless?

Artist straddles the thin line between snark and heartlessness

I have a white tank top that proclaims, “I’m too pretty to do math.” I’ll wear it around the house in the summertime when I’m feeling sassy (although I’ve been known to venture into Boystown in it as well). To me, the shirt is clearly tongue-in-cheek. The statement it makes is less about proclaiming my adorableness and more of a playful social commentary. Plus, it makes my husband smile and, truth be told, I have actually called him at work to ask him the sort of basic math questions a fourth grader could rattle off (this, despite having aced grad school biostatistics.)

Snarky T-shirts have a time and place.  But these new “I Love Anorexia” tees by artist Alexsandro Palombo are just tasteless. On his blog, Humor Chic, Palombo has been featuring a smattering of doodles lionizing anorexia. Rachel ZoeFirst Lady Michelle Obama, even Snow White have all received the bony treatment, being depicted as skeletons.

The images are accompanied by how-to copy: "Want to become a perfect Skeleton fashion victim but you don't know how?" Palombo asks. “Every day just eat a nice apple for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure it’s always a glamorous red one, it gives the idea of substance. Surround yourself with all gay friends and convince yourself the fashion is made up of nothing but gays. That’ll give you a real explanation for why men are not making advances to you. Do a lot of yoga, it’s a great way to forget you’re hungry. Don’t drink water, an apple contains enough liquid. Replace it with champagne and lots of coke.”

Um…ha? I think Palumbo considers his doodles to be witty social commentary, but they just come across as depraved and sophomoric. I’m not sure I think these shirts will actually cause women to develop eating disorders, but they’re certainly not doing much to promote healing.

These are hardly the first snarky ED-themed clothing items to make headlines.

- In June, Urban Outfitters ruffled feathers with its "Eat Less" top.
- A month before that, Perez Hilton started selling tees proclaiming “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels!”, a quote from supermodel Kate Moss. Public scorn caused him to pull the shirts, replacing them with a new, but hollow, motto.
-And, of course, we’ve all seen the so-funny “I Beat Anorexia” tops, usually worn by an obese man.

Here are some T-shirts we can actually get behind:

-This “i am beautiful,” T-shirt has the words printed upside-down so when you look down at your body, you’re greeted with a positive motto.
- A“Curvy and fabulous” maternity top.
- A T-Shirt with a little beauty haiku.
- A onesie for the confident baby in your life.

What do you think of the "I Love Anorexia" T-shirt? Chime in below.

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