Now the story becomes more difficult to tell. Now I’m recalling Meg’s anorexia: the anorexia that starts here but ends seventeen years later.
In November of 1990 Meg came home from college for Thanksgiving. When we left her in Boston that September, she weighed 126 pounds. Meg returned home weighing 114 pounds. 12 pounds in two and a half months. When I tried to talk to her about her weight, Meg just laughed and said, “Mom you worry too much. I’ve lost a little weight; that’s all. I’m just so busy at school and working.” So I dropped the subject — for now.
In fact, Meg worked for an exclusive jewelry shop in Copley Place, a posh mall in Boston. Like so many things, I found out much later that they hired Meg for her looks and especially for her thinness. Actually, the manager didn’t think she was thin enough. I presume Meg was there to appeal to a subset in our culture that still believes the tired cliché: You can’t be too rich or too thin.
Again Meg was rewarded monetarily by professional adults for her appearance, her thinness. When Meg first started working at the jewelry shop, she waited on costumers wearing their beautiful jewelry. The items Meg wore sold well; so the manager decided to reach people who might never step inside the shop. His “great marketing strategy” consisted of sending Meg out into the mall on shopping trips—shopping for new customers. Meg became a walking jewelry mannequin. While wearing the shops jewelry, Meg did errands, window shopped and ate in restaurants. When people asked where Meg bought the bangles she wore, she told them and of course added that she loved this shop's designs. So in essence, they used her as bait. Quite a job; quite a message.
Indeed, this message was communicated to Meg in her early adolescence when she was an outcast because she was heavy. Now that she was thin, Meg learned that thinness not only leads to acceptance but also to jobs, to money. This seems to be a micro example of a real disease in our society. The disease of greed. Use a young girl to make money who cares what kind of a message you're sending her or how she’ll interpret it. The ultimate goal is to make more money—right?