More Proof: Why It’s Not Right to Blame Men for Vices of Women (or Vice Versa)

24-year-old Noelle Nicolai is a really good case in point here.

Since 24-year-old Noelle Nicolai got engaged in early January, she’s been surprised that no one has asked about her plans for “happily ever after” or the details of the engagement. Instead, all the questions have revolved around one topic: what she’s going to look like on her wedding day.

“I’ve fielded a barrage of ‘What are you going to do with your short hair?’ ‘Do you have a dress?’ ‘What will your makeup be like?’,” says the Utah native. Although Nicolai has long prided herself on her ability to resist what she calls society’s “aesthetic obsession,” she says that less than a day after becoming engaged she found herself writing a to-do list of “shallow” goals that included teeth whitening, monthly facials, waxings, hair shine treatments and tanning. She went to a dermatologist for a regime of antibiotics, creams and cleaners to guarantee a blemish-free face by her wedding day at the end of June. She even pulled out her retainers from her high-school years to get her teeth back in “post-braces alignment.” At the top of her list: knocking 12 pounds off her already thin frame. (She’s got a Body Mass Index of 20—the lower end of the normal weight range.)

Good grief! She’s got a BMI of only 20, which is excellent (18.5 is the breakpoint for being underweight). Why does she need to lose more weight???

(Putting this in perspective: my BMI is 23–right in the middle of the normal range–and my body fat is teetering at 5%, which is almost too low in spite of my efforts to put weight on. So she’s pretty darn lean if her BMI is only 20!)

Her fiance is a better man than I, as, knowing only what I know from the article, I would run–not walk–from her. She is almost certainly a perfectionist, and–once she is married to me–nothing I do for her will ever be good enough.

And notice here that it is not her fiance’ who is bothering Noelle about her weight; she is the only one putting pressure on herself on that front. And if she loses 12 pounds, I’d bet money that she’d be underweight, which will only complicate her health issues later in life.

I mention this because a common mantra of the male-bashers to blame men for the prevalence of bulimia and other female obsessions with weight and figure.

Of course, regular readers of these pages know that my contention is that such things–eating disorders–are vices that are predominant in women, just as there are vices–such as porn–that are predominant in men.

Depravity is an equal-opportunity affliction.

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