An anonymous fashion-industry insider was shocked when she found that something from her column — which she'd intended as a call-out of her colleagues' unhealthy attitude towards food — showed up as a tip on a pro-ana website.
As the anonymous author explains, her column is designed to expose "the atrocities taking place under the banner of 'normal' conduct in fashion." A recent example? What she terms "cake-sniffers," her nickname for "the workmates who smell cake rather than eat it. They take a big sniff of sweet indulgent treats and then dump them in the bin - avoiding ingesting any calories." But what she intended as an example of skewed normalcy later showed up, a friend informs her, as a link on a pro-ana site, intended as a weight-loss hint.
In a sense, this is the dilemma that comes with any discussion of weight or size, but in the context of fashion it's especially fraught. In an attempt to expose the worst, do we all risk just isolating behaviors that can be glamorized? As the author puts it, "There are nice, normal souls who work in fashion, but I never write about them. There are too many entertaining super egos, and twiglet space cadets to make fun of. I consider it a strike back for all those whose self-confidence has ever been dented by the onslaught of images of perfect smiling models everywhere."
Of course, if someone is ill, if his or her vision is distorted, one cannot guard against warped impressions. That said, the author brings up an important point, and one we don't expect to see in the Daily Mail: the necessity of recognizing normalcy, of celebrating it, of realizing that one can succeed in these worlds with a healthy self-image in tact. The irony, however, of the fact that this piece is flanked by a link to the items "Battle of the Big Brother Bikini Babes" and "Has Sarah Palin Had a Boob Job!"(which we do expect to find in the Daily Mail.) demonstrates eloquently that when it comes to women's body images, any notion of "normalcy" is relative.