No. 1 feminist issue? Fat

October 29, 1998

The Philadelphia Daily News said in an editorial Saturday:

ALLY McBeal, the character played by Calista Flockhart on the Fox hit television series, was tagged by Time magazine last year as proof that feminism is dying. Indeed, Ally's iconic status among young women is troubling. Her short skirts, barely covering her bottom, apparently have pushed a major trend toward smart, educated women reveling in . . . not liberation or accomplishment, but quirky self-absorption.

And that was only in the first season.

In this one, Ms. Flockhart's cadaverous appearance -- as well as reports, strenuously denied, that she is anorexic -- add to her image as a symbol of women's anxieties at the millennium.

But if eating disorders, in some venues, are more dangerous to teen-agers than drugs or drink, what is to be made of recent reports that as many as 20 percent of kids are overweight?

No wonder kids are confused. They're urged to watch their weight to be healthy, but scrutinized for being thin.

It is a century and a half after the female revolutionaries meeting in Seneca Falls composed the "Declaration of the Rights of Women" and yet it appears that fat remains the feminist issue. That sound you hear is Lucretia Mott turning over in her grave.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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