THIN Obsessed with Thin: Has the Media Gone Too Far? By Hilary Rowland"The media create this wonderful illusion-but the amount of airbrushing that goes into those beauty magazines, the hours of hair and makeup! It's impossible to live up to, because it's not real." - Actress Jennifer Aniston for Vanity Fair, May 2001 These days, it seems as though not only during the summer months, but year-round, the newsstands are displaying magazines of which almost every issue has a thin, beautifully airbrushed swimsuit model on its cover. Your television is showing more and more unhealthily thin actresses. Bones are jutting out and implants are taking the place of real breasts. Most of these supermodels and actresses are so unnaturally thin that they risk infertility, osteoporosis and, ultimately, kidney damage. Jennifer Aniston's former trainer says "[Jennifer's] new figure did not come from working out with me. She lost body fat (seemingly all of it) by drastically reducing carbs in her diet - a way that's not healthy in my books." This obsession with thinness seems to be a sort of domino effect. One actress looses weight to please the media; next all her co-stars are loosing weight to keep up. Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith (size 4) has said that if she had not been on the [now-defunct] TV show Ally McBeal, she'd have been 5 pounds heavier--but couldn't risk it for fear she'd have looked 'big' next to her size 2 co-stars. "I would run eight miles, go to lunch and order my salad dressing on the side. I was always tired and hungry." says Courtney. Meanwhile, her famously thin co-star at the time, Calista Flockhart, preached the benifits of spinning (vigorous workouts on stationary bikes). "At first it hurts your butt, but you become addicted to it like a maniac." says Calista, who, incidentally, is size 2, 5'6", and 100lbs. Does anyone ever think about how the overload of these images in the media affects the averagewoman? Well, for most women it doesn't exactly have a positive effect. In fact, the idea of the media's (and consequently, everybody else's) "ideal" woman often makes "normal" woman selfconscious -- even if they have nothing to be self-conscious about. There is a definite impact these Hollywood role models have on younger viewers. For most teenagers, the ideal person they want to be is a famous model or actress - and the emphasis is very much on external appearance. Perhaps this is part of the reason that so many teenagers today are unhappy with their appearance and are often on a diet. Judging from what I've seen at the beach, not many men feel the same way. This bad self-image and shyness that many women feel, in most cases, can be directly linked to what they see in fashion magazines, on the runway, and in other forms of the media.