“Ess, ess, mein kind.”
“Eat, eat, my child.” Ah, the traditional Jewish mother. It is no wonder she wants you to eat. Historically, thinness is associated with disease. More recently, gauntness resurrects memories of Holocaust victims.
So, it is fair to assume that to Jewish people heaviness could be linked with health and liberty. But within the constructs of this “Ess, ess culture” Jews, along with millions of other people across the planet, are imprisoned in a “Diet, diet world.”
When the Nazis fought to engrain negative ideas of Jewish people in the world, they also aimed to define a negative Jewish body image. Newspapers, such as Der Stürmer, presented caricatures, illustrating Jews as sub-human and disfigured.
When speaking with young Jewish girls about body image – girls who have never even seen these caricatures – clippings from Der Stürmer hauntingly spring to mind, as the children illustrate themselves as sub-human and disfigured.
Some children today even yearn for “six-packs.”
It would be upsetting were they talking about beer, but it is alarming because they are talking about abs.
Anecdotal evidence suggests a higher incidence of eating disorders per capita among Jewish adolescents and adults. Granted, there are no conclusive studies that argue Jews are afflicted disproportionately.
Still, most studies maintain that the Jewish culture and its focus on food, combined with its focus on “Focus!” and the pursuit of perfection may render Jews particularly vulnerable.
Can it be the juxtaposition of an “Ess, ess culture,” against a “Diet, diet world” that is to blame? Perhaps it would be different were the “Ess, ess culture” the world ideal. You be the judge.
Here’s an excerpt from my stage play “Zer0” to help you imagine such a place:
I hate my body. I hate my life. Why can’t I just be normal like everyone else? Wear a muumuu! One-size fits all – sure but it doesn’t fit nothing. Seriously, you don’t know what it’s like to be a size-zero in a world like this.
Guys make fun of you. "Nice butt. Did you leave it behind?"
And girls can be so mean. "I'd let you borrow my sweater, sweetie, but I'd have to draw you a map in case you got lost in it."
I hate my body. I hate my life. Why can't I just be fat like everyone else?
“Accept yourself.” Whatever.
Accepting yourself doesn't fit into trendy sweaters, or call to ask how your day was.
Accepting yourself only befriends the genetically gifted fat girls. The girls who can stuff their faces for hours at a time without getting sick. The girls with underactive metabolisms and hormone imbalances. The girls who can go to the gym - day in and day out - and still gain weight!
Everybody admires them. I hate them. I’m the one trying to work my butt on, constantly eating and not exercising. And I’m still a zero.
I blame Hollywood and the media for this whole Superblobel ideal.
Yeah, we’ve all heard the size-16, or even better, size-22 actress say, “Accept yourself. I have.” Of course she accepts herself. She’s loved by all, makes millions, and has the perfect fat body. If I were her, I too would accept the fat.
But, you’ve gotta wonder how much lipoinfusion she goes for, and how many carbs she gets force fed a day. Hey, I may not have the perfect carbolicious, lipoinfused body, but at least I can form sentences with multiple polysyllabic words.
Boy, just watch the guys line up. Well, who wouldn’t want to caress my vocabulary and cuddle with the voluptuous, witty repartee that streams from my cerebellum?
Ya know, I am working myself up to a six. Sure, it’s not size-16 or anything, but I’m starting to develop love handles! Well love handle, but if you look closely there is a small crevice forming the second one.
And the best part is that now when I sit on the toilet, my thighs almost touch!
Euh… what’s the point? I’ll still never be fat enough.
Did you know there are countries in this world – I just can’t name them ‘coz I’ve never heard the media use their names – but I’m sure there are places where things are reversed and fat girls are the ugly ones. And in those countries, it’s the fattest girls who are the zeroes.
So, what is the ideal world? A simple formula may provide the answer: Divide reality by perception and multiply by zero.
Ess dus, mein kind. Eat that, my child.