Photo Credit: steven lawton/getty images
Lady Gaga started a storm of discussion online when she tweeted, “Just killed back to back spin classes. Eating a salad dreaming of a cheeseburger. #PopStarsDontEat #BornThisWay."
The responses fall into a couple of categories. One camp seems happy that at least she’s being honest about the amount of exercise and restrictive eating that is required to keep her shape (this camp is generally suspicious of the parade of very thin stars who claim that they eat whatever they want and never exercise).
The other group is concerned because Lady Gaga has 22,674,199 Twitter followers -- some of whom may be kids who want to grow up to be pop stars and would take her advice to heart, leading to unhealthy behaviors.
The fear that girls will develop an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise and their bodies is not an idle one. According to the non-profit National Association of Anorexia and Associated Eating Disorders, 42 percent of first-to-third grade girls want to be thinner and 81 percent of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat. This is more problematic because University of Minnesota research has found that dieting behaviors in adolescents predict eating disorders and long term weight gain -- they do not produce long term weight loss or “normal weight” adults at all.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus was also criticized for not eating (but smelling) a cheeseburger this week. Seriously. Apparently she has gluten and lactose allergies and said "I can't eat it. So I'm just gonna smell the s*** out of it!” The eating disorder accusations soon followed.
I think that we’ve taken our eye off the ball. The problem occurs when we try to eat and exercise to manipulate our body size rather than to achieve other goals -- our singers should worry more about their ability to actually sing than their ability to be perfect. Seriously, think about how obsessed we are. Is the fact that Miley Cyrus smells a cheeseburger, or that Lady Gaga doesn’t eat one, really news?