Here are some good statistics about Jews: 77% voted for Barack Obama! And now here are some totally depressing ones: according to an online survey conducted by Jewish Women International, half of Jewish educators and social workers have encountered disordered eating among the teens they work with. According to the Huffington Post's Leslie Goldman, eating disorders are the "'addiction of choice' among Jewish girls." Goldman notes that Jewish Women International was not shocked by the high incidence of eating disorders among Jewish teens because of their "prevalence among upper middle class, high achieving populations." However, as a former Jewish teen, I have another possible explanation.This is entirely unsupported by evidence beyond anecdotal, but I wonder if eating disorders among Jewish women are high because we're trying to attain a beauty ideal that we can almost capture, but not quite. I've experienced that many Jewish women feel that being told they "look Jewish" is not often meant as a compliment. Traditionally Semitic features — prominent noses, dark curly hair — are not considered beautiful by the American culture at large. However, by being exceptionally thin, Jewish women have one way to be closer to that narrow idea of attractiveness. Obviously the causes of eating disorders are far more multifaceted, but perhaps that plays into part of it. Then there's this news about Israel's "Fat And Beautiful" contest. On one hand, it's great that these women are reveling in their figures, but on another hand, isn't the ghettoization of women over 80 kilograms (the minimum weight to enter the pageant) just reinforcing the idea that their beauty is "other"? That it's sort of a sideshow instead of promoting the idea that a wide range of looks are beautiful? Jewish Vote: Obama 77-22 [JTA] Jewish Girls And Self-Destructive Behaviors: By The Numbers [HuffPo] "Fat And Beautiful" [Reuters]