A Japanese acquaintance of mine, a gynaecologist in Osaka, told me something that happens at her clinic more and more often lately:
“A mother arrives with her teenage daughter, betwen 15 and 17 years old. The mother asks for a pregnancy test for the daughter, who has missed her period once or twice. I do the test, but I know just from looking at her that she’s not pregnant and couldn’t be. The test comes back negative, of course. The mother breathes a huge sigh of relief, and the girl gets fidgety and waits to leave. Then I always ask the daughter what she eats for breakfast.
“They usually don’t eat breakfast, or much of anything else. I check her weight, and then explain to her that women are so evolved that they stop ovulating if their bodies are too underweight or do not produce enough nutrients to sustain a fetus. If, in effect, the woman is malnourished. If you eat properly and get more nutrients, I tell her, you’ll start getting periods again.
“Some mothers and daughters are thankful for this information, but there are other mothers who nod impatiently as I’m speaking and then say, ‘So she’s definitely not pregnant?’ I tell her definitely not. On the contrary, her daughter couldn’t get pregnant now if she tried. ‘Well, thank you,’ the mother says, and she and her daughter leave, and rarely come back for a follow-up.
“So lately I’ve been dealing with mothers who are more worried about what the neighbours might think about a teen preganancy than they are about their daughter’s obvious eating disorder.”
With that anecdote in mind, my vote – in a crowded field – for the Stupidest Remark of 2009 goes to supermodel/bonehead Kate Moss’s “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Skinny and healthy are not synonyms.
NB: (Click here for an article in The Japan Times for more about this)