|My so-called diet: Thinspiration, 1994|
"Satire doesn't stand a chance against reality anymore."
— Jules Feiffer
"The core idea of Poe's law is that a parody of something extreme can be mistaken for the real thing, and if a real thing sounds extreme enough, it can be mistaken for a parody."
— TV Tropes
When you consider Poe's Law, it was inevitable that, with The Doll Project having satirical elements, that it would be misinterpreted by some people. But what saddens me is that some of those people happen to be anorexic and bulimic, and look to my images as a source of "thinspiration." I know this because of what I discover when I find out what sites are referring people to mine. And it breaks my heart. So in this post, I want to speak directly to the legion of pro-Ana and pro-Mia readers who are out there.
It was never my intention to create material that would "trigger" people to starve themselves, though satirizing and exaggerating the kinds of images put forth in fashion magazines, catalogs, and ads could have that effect, unintentionally. It saddens me that my images are being shared for such destructive reasons. I use dolls with skeleton bodies to symbolize the absurdity of the fashion industry's fetish for extreme thinness. The skeletons also symbolize the fact that eating disorders are a slow suicide. It's a reminder and a warning, not another ideal to aspire to. Yes, bones are beautiful, but you shouldn't be able to see yours so easily. And if you care anything about them, don't starve yourself. Do you really want to have to start taking osteoporosis medicine in your 20's?
Your refusal to seek help also saddens me. To use an example not related to eating disorders, it reminds me of Amy Winehouse's song, "Rehab." Every time I listen to it now, I get chills. If she hadn't been so defiant in her refusal to get treatment for her alcoholism, she might still be alive today. I also think about Ned Vizzini, whose book and film It's Kind of A Funny Story recount his brief hospitalization for depression as a teenager. He tried to downplay the seriousness of his condition. And then last year, over a decade after the events in his story took place, he took his own life. Eating disorders are just as deadly, if not more so.
I'd like to close this blog post with the dedication from the Doll Project book:
This project is for all the real Anas, Mias, and Edies out there. I pray that you will someday learn to give yourselves the nourishment you deserve, that you will stop using food (or the lack thereof) as the tool of your own self-destruction, that you will find the strength that only comes from cherishing yourselves, and that you will come to see the beauty within yourselves, which is the beauty that truly matters.
Also, here are a few links where there are people who can actually encourage you to get better instead of getting worse:
National Eating Disorders Association