Friday, October 5, 2012

is a "skinny gene" to blame for women's desire to be thin?

like me, you may have heard about a "fat gene" or a strand of dna that pre-disposes people to carry more weight than others. but have you heard about the gene that gives women a drive or desire to be skinny?

i didn't believe it at first when i read the title of this news article (as shared with me by my sister on g+, thank you!). according to university of michigan research, women posses "skinny genes" which control their desire for a slim figure, also called "thin idealization." this means that some women may be more genetically wired than others to have the "need" to be thin.

think about that for a second.

did it give you some sigh of relief? because it did for me. i had the "maybe i'm not as crazy as i thought i was if i am genetically wired for this uncontrollable and sometimes illogical need to be slim."

but having another "reason to blame" isn't the point of the article, and i shouldn't feel relieved. in reality, women that may posses this gene are at higher risk for eating disorders and body image disorders (which could explain a bit about how i was susceptible to them). add on social pressures, bullying and the media and you've got yourself a wicked recipe that could take a woman with this gene into a downward spiral. however, the good news is that if this gene is easy to find and recognize, we may be able to help women who are identified as being more susceptible to eating disorders and body image disorders. that would be a big plus.

the other thing i find interesting about this study is that it alludes (actually, it specifically calls out) to the idea that media may not be as much to blame for "thin idealization" as we think. granted, i'm not putting media off the hook because the exploitation and defamation of women in the media is out of control. but media's slander might not be the only thing, as once assumed, that is leading women to constantly crave a change in their body type. a big shocker for me. i really liked blaming the media for everything. ;)

what i'm curious about is where in the evolution of women did this gene start to pop up? i find it very hard to believe that it has existed since the beginning of human kind - was there any need or thought about skinny versus fat when human existence was mostly about survival? i don't know much about genetics, so i could be totally wrong about my hypothesis, but it just doesn't seem likely that this gene has existed all along. or, maybe it has existed all along and the media we have today has caused it to come out of dormancy and make women with the gene more susceptible to "thin idealization" than they would have been centuries ago when the existence of media was null (or not nearly the same as it is today).

the discovery of this gene seems to be in its early phases, and as they mention in the article, there are numerous factors that influence a woman's body image. but i hope that they pursue the idea further, especially in other cultures outside of ours to identify differences, similarities, causes... the more we learn, the more we may be able to have a full and effective solution for how woman can move their body image into a positive space. i'm all on board for that!

what do you think of this study? do you think this "skinny gene" has always existed in our bodies? would love to hear your thoughts!


1 comment:

  1. Wow. That is such an interesting thought. I hope it's true, because like you said, it very well might offer lots of women relief. I know it did for me! Thanks for sharing!

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