Flockhart Calista 1964

A merican actress who is best known for her starring role on the television show Ally McBeal, which aired between 1997 and 2002. In 1998, Flockhart won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the quirky, temperamental lawyer—the self-titled protagonist Ally McBeal. In the late 1990s, because of the actress's wafer-thin appearance, she was rumored to have an eating disorder. Her extremely frail-looking body alarmed viewers and the media worldwide. Yet, Flockhart fervently denied these allegations. When asked whether she was "Karen Carpenter all over again," she replied that her thinness was an ideal, which made everyone else unhappy.

"So if you're thin, you somehow have it together, and that makes people mad. There's the ambiguity of this disease. It's twisted. Just because you're thin, and you're healthy, doesn't mean you're diseased. If you're thin, and you're healthy, there are certain people in the world who are going to be pissed off about it. It's discrimination. There's a double standard. In my life, a lot of people have said, 'Uchhhh! You're skinny!' As if they're just disgusted by it. But nobody would walk up to someone who's overweight and say, 'Ughhh! You're so fat!' It would never happen. It's a pathology."

(Snowden 1999)

She insisted that her skeletal stature was the result of the fact that "I was born with very tiny bones." Yet, the interview goes on to note her diet "consists almost entirely of low-fat, high-fibre foods, such as spinach and egg whites for breakfast" (Churcher 1999). The June 29, 1998 cover of Time magazine demonstrated what they called the "devolution" of the feminist movement into the "silly." It illustrated feminism beginning with Susan B. Anthony devolving into Ally McBeal.

Interestingly, Ally McBeal, a fictional character, is revered in many circles within American society as a feminist icon due to the way she portrayed both strength and softness. Moreover, "while Ally McBeal has been constructed in the media as the feminist 'ideal,' similarly Calista Flockhart . . . has been constructed-represented as the culture's 'beauty ideal' " (Leavy 2000). However, recently Flockhart has publicly admitted to having an eating disorder, although she does not specify exactly which one. According to the London Daily Mirror, the television starlet confessed: "I started under-eating, over-exercising, pushing myself too hard and brutalizing my immune system. I guess I just didn't find the time to eat. I am much more healthy these days" (Robertson 2006).

Flockhart is now considered one of the celebrity icons of eating disorders instead of beauty.

SLG/Jessica Rissman

See also Anorexia; Celebrities

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