Diets and Motivation
A close friend of mine is the last one in her class to be still single at the ripe old age of twenty. It doesn't even matter that not all her classmate's marriages are happy ones. She's an alta maidel and her classmates aren't. That's what matters. Her parents feel that this horrible situation is due to the fact that she's not ultra thin. As a result they are forcing her to go to Weight Watchers with promises that once she looses the weight her chosson will magically appear.
She is a very bright, sweet, intelligent, extremely talented, attractive girl that would make a wonderful wife for any bochur. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers myself, I can tell you that the first thing that any lecturer tells you at meetings is that you have to want to lose weight only for yourself. Not for your parents, fiance, husband, relatives, friends, or any other reason. Otherwise, you will fail to loose weight or just gain it back with interest.
Its also sending a very bad message, that the shallow, baser values of Hollywood and Madison Ave, R"L, that concentrate primarily on the external, are seeping into the most heimish homes and communities, regardless of how insulated they appear to be.
Another major pitfall of this is that its likely these girls will tragically just marry someone who is mostly attracted to them for their looks, and after one or two children, when there is a lot more of you to love, serious Shalom Bayis problems will emerge.
Its very prevalent that girls who have such pressure placed on them by their well-meaning, but misguided families have poor self images and very low self-esteem. As a result many tend to end up in abusive marriages. Furthermore, years of obsessive dieting can sometimes cause fertility problems and/or miscarriages c"v.
All this considered, why are young girls torturing themselves to be ultra thin? Why are supposedly loving parents tormenting their poor daughters to conform to some shallow bochur's adolescent fantasies? Why are some of the mothers of these bochurim encouraging their sons to demand ultra thin girls? Why aren't those who have influence with bochurim speaking out against this ridiculousness?
I wish I had the answers to these questions. All I know is wonderful girls like my friend deserve husbands who will appreciate them for themselves and not what dress size they wear.