HONG KONG (AFP) – Girls and young women are under pressure more than ever to achieve a perfect body in the oppressive world of social media that could never have been imagined by feminists in the 1970s, says psychoanalyst and bestseller Susie Orbach.
Forty years after the publication of its basic book, "Fat is a Feminist Topic," the British writer – who once was the therapist of Princess Diane – said that women had transformed their bodies while trying to adapt to false images that sold online beauty influences.
Girls aged six years were conditioned by thinking of cosmetic surgery, she added, along with a number of industries that fueled and profited from the insecurity of the body.
Faced with the reality of modern life, many women have turned inward, obsessed with eating and eating, or accepting excessive weight as a sign of rebellion.
"This is much worse than we ever imagined," said Orbach AFP on the sidelines of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, where he talked about his new book, "In Therapy: How Talks With Psychotherapists Do Actually".
Orbach has recently participated in a long-standing international campaign that has forced Apple, Google and Amazon to remove cosmetic surgery applications for elementary school girls in which cartoon characters can be altered by liposuction procedures.
"This is not just a problem for girls and women, and it is very profitable if you can destabilize human bodies," she said.
"There are all sorts of industries that create and feed those uncertainties".
Orbach, 72, said that the inevitable outcome would be to create a society where women would direct their energy and focus inward rather than trying to change the world.
"Now we are so self-conscious, we produce bodies instead of living from them. Your body is your product."
She added: "If you have just entered any conversation, the amount of mental space that people take with what they eat, what they do not eat, their yoga routine, expresses the level of harassment in our society,
"It's not about the contribution, but about how I manage the horror I personally live with."
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Orbach talked about the release of women who felt from the late sixties when they began to challenge the objectivation of the beauty winners and rebel against the expectations of the body.
But pressures then began later, not in childhood, AFP said.
"It happened in the 18th, it did not happen at six.You did not have girls and boys who say" I have six packs? "Or" I'm too fat "in six and seven years. they had girls thrown into the toilet bowl.
Real TV shows such as "Love Island", where individual men and women formed to join and win the prize money, were both the symptom and the cause of pushing the body image to the impressive young minds.
"Can you imagine that human energy is used for something else?" He was examining Orbach.
Even while the increase in physical insecurity, the arms expanded, she said.
Orbach laid down some of the guilt at the door of the food industry, pointing out that one obvious change in countries like the UK in 2018 compared to 1978 was the spread of fast food.
But she said that the crisis of obesity was also driven by the ruthless demands of living an impossible ideal.
"As long as you have one dominant image – tendencies, weaknesses, and beauty – that's everywhere, you will have people to rebel against it," she said.
"Sometimes the rebellion will turn into fat."
One of Orbach's major concerns is how the modern "concert economy" has created the world in which people are driven to the market.
"I think the coarseness of late capitalism is really a problem," she said.
"We see not only as a consumer center, but also as a brand. Young women are now encouraged to see themselves as brands and influencing people."
Dangers are even greater than in the decade following the publication of "Fat is a feminist theme," when Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan launched a new Polish political and economic period of action against feminism, Orbach said.
"It was a terrible time, but this is much worse because women are allowed and are in all jobs but they still have to look like dolls when they go to work and still have to worry emotionally for everyone to do.
"This is a very bizarre moment, I never expected this."