Responsible role models

Responsible role models

When celebrities know they have the eyes of millions of young girls looking up to them, how much responsibility should they take for their actions? Is there a point where they should draw the line being too fat or too thin and, more importantly, should they even care what others think?

One female who has captured the world’s attention in recent times is Kate Middleton. Everyone watched intently as Kate, a humble girl next door, married the most desirable man in England and became the Duchess of Cambridge. The buzz surrounding Kate has continued relentlessly post-wedding, with millions following the royal couple’s every move.

In the lead up to the wedding many were concerned about Kate’s plummeting weight, reportedly as a result of the high-protein, low-carb Dukan diet. While most dismissed the weight loss as part of normal bridal routine and even somewhat attributable to stress, she failed to regain the weight post-wedding. Instead, her weight has continued to fall – so much so that she is now being used as “thinspiration” on pro-anorexia websites.

Kate several years ago

Although I don’t like to admit it, as a teenager I occasionally found myself searching pro-anorexia websites for weight loss tips. I can tell you now that being used as “thinspiration” is not a compliment. To be put on a pedestal by sick young women hunting for tricks to further starve themselves is not a good thing. They do nothing to help these women get better.

The “thinspirational” women who feature on such sites are usually anorexic models and their stories often have fatal endings rather than successful ones. Other public figures commonly found on such sites include Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and the Olsen twins.

Isabelle Caro: an infamous anorexic model who died last year at the age of 28; still used as thinspiration

Kate reportedly weighs 43 kilos which, at a height of 178 centimetres, is scarily small – even more so considering she makes petite women such as Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon look soft in comparison.

There are fears that Kate is following in the unhealthy steps of her mother-in-law since being thrust in the limelight: Princess Diana admitted to suffering from bulimia from the moment she became engaged.

Kate is not the only Middleton to have cemented a place on pro-anorexia websites: Pippa too possesses a body those with eating disorders want to emulate, with pictures of the younger sister now popping up alongside the Duchess on these sites. Personally, I have never understood the hype around Pippa – to me, she seems like a plain-looking girl who wore a tight dress that showed off her bony butt. This alarming phenomenon only confirms my view that she is in dire need of a sandwich.

Not only is Kate famous; she is a princess – something most little girls dream of becoming. At what point does Kate have a duty to set a positive example? How can she balance the pressure to be thin against a consciousness of being a role model? As someone who is always going to be in the public eye, should she feel a greater responsibility towards the young girls worldwide who idolise her? Or should we just accept that people are always going to scrutinise her weight, whether she be too slim or too heavy?

I have felt pressure to be thin, and never used to find muscular women sexy. To me, thinner was better and I did everything I could to shrink my muscular legs. Now my mindset has completely changed: I would never, ever want to be as thin as someone such as Victoria Beckham. However, I do accept that there may be other reasons for Kate’s weight loss so I will try not to judge her too harshly.

I wish more women were inspired by images like THIS!

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