Starving to combat skinny chic

A British documentary will follow female journalists as they attempt to diet down to a size 00.

Published September 29, 2006 4:10PM (EDT)

A group of British female journalists are filming their attempt to starve themselves to a size 00 to warn audiences of the dangers of super-skinny ambition. Apparently, actual cases of long-term health problems or death from crash starvation aren't illustrative enough. The documentary will air at the start of next year on British television, and producers say the show will look at how anorexia chic "is spreading to the U.K. and question whether it is spawning an extreme, collective eating disorder." (Note to producers: The fact that journalists are deciding that voluntary public starvation is a neat idea might be one clue that a collective disorder exists.)

In Britain, the average dress size is 14 -- a U.S. size 10 -- and the journalists will aim for six dress sizes smaller -- the equivalent of a size 00 in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Luckily, the women who volunteered for the feat will have "full medical support and expert guidance at hand." But Britain's Eating Disorder Association is worried that there is still the potential for serious damage to the women's health. "It could be very difficult to eat normally again after this experiment is over," spokesman Steve Bloomfield told the AP.

This may just be another insignificant exploit in stunt journalism, but it also has potential to encourage super-skinny pursuits. Ultimately, you have to wonder about the show's real intent. If the point is to advocate for women's health, why put perfectly healthy women through bodily warfare? Why not instead note the number of women who die after following a strict liquid-and-greens diet? Maybe it's the pessimist in me, but this documentary seems a base attempt at catering to a cultural taste for gawking at -- and fetishizing -- emaciated women.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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