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The feminist philosopher Susan Bordo deplores Western media’s obsession with female thinness and dieting. Her basic complaint is that increasing numbers of women across the globe are being led to see themselves as fat and in need of a diet. Citing the islands of Fiji as a case in point, Bordo notes that “until television was introduced in 1995, the islands had no reported cases of eating disorders. In 1998, three years after programs from the United States and Britain began broadcasting there, 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting” (149–50). Bordo’s point is that the Western cult of dieting is spreading even to remote places across the globe. Ultimately, Bordo complains, the culture of dieting will find you, regardless of where you live. Bordo’s observations ring true to me because, now that I think about it, many women I know, regardless of where they are from, worry about their weight. . . .
One day, I went to buy something for my dad at the shops, and I heard a song by Nat King Cole called 'Stardust Melody.' It was like I went into a trance or something. I forgot all about my dad sending me to the shop. When I got home, I explained to him what happened. I thought I was going to get a whipping, but he understood.
I had studied Irish history. I had read speeches from the dock. I had tried to fuse the vivid past of my nation with the lost spaces of my childhood. I had learned the battles, the ballads, the defeats. It never occurred to me that eventually the power and insistence of a national tradition would offer me only a new way of not belonging.