Graceful

Premiere showing right here at MSU!!

Principal Dancer for New York City Ballet, Jenifer Ringer, maintained her poise and charm as she responded to remarks about her body by a New York Times critic. In her conversation with Oprah Winfrey, aired last week, Jenifer recalled, “It was horrible to read something like that. It made me feel bad…it was embarrassing.”

Jenifer talked about her struggle with eating disorder. “I’m not sure where it started but somewhere in my teenage years, I started hating my body. I think it was because I knew I had curves and that is not what I should look like as a dancer.” At that time, her response to not fitting the stereotypical mold of a ballerina was to vacillate between not eating and eating compulsively.

Now as a 34-year-old mother at the height of her career as a ballerina, Jenifer admitted, “My first thought was, ‘It’s happened—this is my worst nightmare. Someone has called me heavy in the press. And lots of people are going to read about it.’ But my next thought was, ‘It’s happened and I’m okay, and I’m fine the way I am and I have survived it.’” Jennifer had evolved from self-loathing to self-loving.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to be the target of wounding words. Body criticism, rampant in the media, has become commonplace. We do it to others and ourselves.

I was grateful for Jenifer Ringer’s public response. She demonstrated for all to hear how she reacted initially and then how she responded thoughtfully. She countered the remark with positive self-talk. The criticism was out there. That could not be undone. But the power of words was broken in terms of the influence she allowed them to have.  Bravo, Ms. Ringer!

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 20-27, 2011. One of the featured events is the showing of America the Beautiful: Health for Sale. Join filmmaker Darryl Roberts as he previews his sequel to America the Beautiful–right here at MSU! Darryl examines “all things health,” most specifically targeting the American obsession with dieting. This is an opportunity to consider the question “do we really understand what it means to be healthy?” 

Join us Thursday February 24 in South Kedzie Hall S-107 at 8 pm. Admission is free, seating is limited–doors open at 7:30 pm.

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2 comments so far

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    • MSU Moves on

      I appreciate you asking. Yes, you may quote articles with credit/link to The Joy of Eating.


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