Friday, January 14, 2011

Dying to be thin

"How do they stay so thin?" It's a question I've been asked a thousand times since moving here 9 years ago .. The truth, I believe, is that the French are generally lucky in the gene ( and jean) department with slender hips and frames, they smoke incessantly and really do keep an eye on everything that goes past their lips. They also indulge in slimming aids and tablets. Alot. They are obsessed with their weight and openly talk about what procedures they have had done, what diets they are on and what pills they are popping.

Isabelle Caro, a French actress and model whose skeletal photos shocked the world in 2007, tragically died in late 2010, another victim to the desire to be skin and bone. Caro obtained a certain amount of fame around this time as she spoke out about her struggle with her eating disorder and campaigned to increase awareness about anorexia.
However, her photos had the adverse affect and many pro-ana sites blossomed in line with her notoriety. Pro-ana websites are pro-anorexic dedicated sites and are quite frankly, scary places to visit where anorexics cheer each other on with every ounce lost. Caro has become something of a heroine here, a martyr to the ultimate goal of these , predominately, young girls.

The drug "mediator", given in France to obese people and to people with diabetes is now known to be responsible for at least 500 deaths. Prescribed to healthy women as well, who wanted to lose a few kilos, this drug, with lethal side effects, has been widely available in France for the last 30 years. The minister for health pressed panic buttons in late 2010 when he recommended that anyone who had taken the drug must immediately visit their doctor.
There are legal proceedings commencing against the pharmaceutical company and it looks like this scandal is only going to get bigger and nastier as time goes on.

En France, one can never be too rich or too thin? Not much good if you're 6 feet under though..

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