In her 1998 survey, taken 38 months after TV came to Nadroga, Fiji, 15 percent of girls, aged 17 on average, reported that they had vomited to control weight. By contrast, only 3 percent reported this behavior in 1995, just after TV was introduced. In addition, the proportion of schoolgirls who scored high on a test indicating risk for disordered eating was 29 percent in 1998 and 13 percent in 1995.
I find this very disconcerting in itself. Fijian culture places great value on robust eating, and healthy (by their standards) body size. They are a solid and well-muscled people. If you look at pictures of the people of Fiji, you will see that though some of the women are plump, few look morbidly obese. They look healthy. The thought of Fiji teen age girls being subjected to our culture of body self-consciousness and unhealthy obsession with weight just makes me sad.
But here's the part that made me angry -- the article states:
Becker and her colleagues found that 84 percent of village women in their sample were overweight or obese.
Where did the journalist get this data? It's not in the original journal article, which I've also read. And by whose fucking standards did they judge "overweight or obese"? They probably used BMI, which is a useless tool when applied to people of color. It irritates me NO END that this tool is being used by all our medical professionals today. Until they take several thousand Fijian people and dunk them in a tank of water to get an average rating of lean body mass to adipose tissue, there is no way I will believe that our White Ass developed BMI charts can even be applied to the Fiji people. How totally ethnocentric of this journalist to even bring this topic up, as if to say, "Well, these girls are now making themselves gag because, you know, they really are big fat pigs!"
I wish I can say that this rant made me feel better, but it didn't.