Saturday, November 19, 2011

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

[T]hese perfect girls still feel we could always lose five more pounds. We get into good colleges but are angry if we don't get into every college we applied to... We win scholarships galore, science fairs and knowledge bowls, spelling bees and mock trail debates. We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans.

We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, witty, intellectually curious, always moving.
We are living contradictions. We are socially conscious, mutliculti, and anticorporate, but we still shop at Gap and Banana Republic.... 

We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins. We do strip aerobics, hot yoga, go five more minutes than the limit on any exercise machine at the gym. 

We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-agressive as our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers. We carry the old world of guilt- center of families, keeper of relationships, caretaker of friends - with the new world of control/ambition - rich, independent, powerful. We are the daughters of feminists who said "You can be anything" and we heard "You have to be everything." 

We must get A's. We must make money. We must save the world. We must be thin. We must be unflappable. We must be beautiful. We are the anorectics, the bulimics, the overexercisers, the overeaters. We must be perfect. We must make it look effortless.

We grow hungrier and hungrier with no clue what we are hungry for. The holes inside of us grow bigger and bigger. 

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin 

This was one of the most enlightening books I have ever read when it came out maybe 3 years ago. It is about eating disorders in our generation of women. I found this quote the other day that I had jotted down while waiting for my family law class to start in Paris in Spring 2008 and it still resonates. 

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