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Do you know what’s going on in this picture?

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmeline_Pankhurst]

What about this one (copied from http://gma.yahoo.com/k-e-diet-brides-using-feeding-tubes-rapidly-080053646–abc-news-health.html)?

In case you don’t, I’m going to tell you. The first photograph shows an early-twentieth-century convicted English suffragette being force-fed with a tube because she went on a hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment in prison. The practice of such tube-feeding was common during the fight to gain women’s suffrage in England and has since been used on other incarcerated persons such as those held at Guantanamo Bay. It is said to be an unpleasant, if not outright torturous, procedure.

The lower photograph shows a woman named Jessica Schnaider, who is getting married this summer, with a feeding tube going up her nose, down her throat, and into her stomach. She’s not exactly on a hunger strike; she’s just trying to lose ten pounds so that she can look better in her wedding dress. According to an article on the website for the ABC network morning program Good Morning America (“The K-E Diet: Brides-to-Be Using Feeding Tubes to Rapidly Shed Pounds,” April 16, 2012), she paid $1,500 to a Florida doctor named Oliver Di Pietro to have her feeding tube inserted.

Schnaider is quoted as saying, “I don’t have all of the time on the planet just to focus an hour and a half a day to exercise so I came to the doctor, I saw the diet, and I said, ‘You know what? Why not? Let me try it. So I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.”

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Meanwhile, here is a person with a real weight problem (copied from http://www.ffl.org/emergency-relief/world-hunger/):

Dear Ms. Schnaider. Poor, misguided Ms. Schnaider. I am sorry to be so judgy about your big day. Believe me, I do understand how we can internalize dangerous and ridiculous images of women to the point where we think they are real and attainable. I understand how the pressure to be thin can make us do stupid, self-destructive things. And I understand that a nervous young bride often will feel that she must be perfect on the day she marries her best friend and true love.

But the article says you are 41 years old. I understand what that’s like too, because I am 43. We are old enough to have had enough experiences in life to discover our integrity and self-worth. To want to be known and remembered for something other than how we looked in a dress that, truth be told, we really have no business wearing in the first place. You and I know that we are not going to look like freshly plucked peaches no matter what we do. We are old enough to know better and then some.

And so, my spiritual sister, since you seem to have no shame, allow me to be embarrassed on your behalf.

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