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It's Fashion Week in New York City. Everyone is talking about which celebs have been to which shows, and of course, how skinny the models are. ("She's so thin" is a common saying this time of year). In an attempt to address the issue of eating disorders, and substance abuse, the Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has updated their “health guidelines” for fashion models. But the CFDA is quick to back off being the Figure Police, saying, “The CFDA Health Initiative is about awareness, education, and safety, not policing. Although we do not require a specific body mass index to work, we do recommend that models receive regular medical care to ensure their well-being.” How’s that for a soft landing? So now, underage, underweight teenage models have to show I.D. and not show signs of an eating disorder. Funny, visible rib cages didn’t make the list.
I never thought I’d be giving props to Lady Gaga, but lo and behold the pop star and style icon is actually saying basta! to all this get-super-thin hype that can often lead to an eating disorder. Last weekend, as a surprise guest at the Brentwood School in Los Angeles, she sat down with Maria Shriver for a Q&A session with high-school girls. When the topic of body image came up, Gaga admitted being a recovering bulimic: "I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina, but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.”
As a curvy Afro-Latina, I can totally relate. I, too, am a recovering bulimic, triggered in college. From fifth grade on, I tried every crazy diet -- from the Cabbage Soup Diet to the Oprah Liquid Diet -- to combat the effects of heaping plates of rice, avocado and some kind of pork, not to mention my own meaty DNA. Nowadays the message to lose weight is still everywhere you turn: On any given TV channel, Janet, Mariah and J.Hud are all yell-singing at us to join their incredible (incredulous) weight-loss journeys. To which Gaga said, “The dieting wars have got to stop. Everyone just knock it off. Because at the end of the day... it’s making girls sick."