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Are they skinny or just right?

September 20, 2008

THANK YOU for the excellent article on the way, way too thin actresses and the ubiquitous tank tops ["They're Showing a Lot of Skinny," by Mary McNamara, Sept. 18]. One of my pet peeves is also how the characters on some shows dress even when not in tank tops -- in particular, the fact that every female character in every lawyer and police investigation show wears a top cut to show her cleavage (even Marianne Jean-Baptiste on "Without a Trace").

I have practiced law for 31 years, mostly representing cities. I can tell you that, in all that time, I have never seen a female lawyer or detective wear anything like those tops. In addition to the distraction of wondering whether the actress is going to faint from hunger, I also find myself wondering who in the world decided that's the way to depict a female professional.

Just kidding, of course -- I know the answer to that question: the male producers. That, too, is not setting a very good example for younger women.

Stephanie Scher

Los Angeles

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THANK goodness I am not the only one thinking along the same lines. I watched "90210" with my 16-year-old daughter, and about the only thing we could focus on was the absolute skeleton bodies of those two girls. They have the bodies of 8-year-olds. What could the producers be thinking?

It feels like the more we move forward as women, the more we go backward. It is so sad, especially for our girls today -- between the shows, the magazines, the models, my heart goes out to them.

Elizabeth Deneny

Oak Park

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THESE women that McNamara is picking on are in fact normal. They have BMIs in the range of 20-22, which insurance industry data show to be associated with the best health. Because she is surrounded by the usual obese Americans, McNamara no longer knows what is normal.

The biggest public health problem in America today is not skinny actresses; it is obesity, which has taken over from cigarettes as the leading unnecessary cause of morbidity, contributing to an epidemic of diabetes, a situation in which more than half of the over-60s are hypertensive, the inevitable heart disease and a dire shortage of orthopedic surgeons to replace all the worn-out joints.

Praise the skinny women (and men).

Peter Marx

Glendale

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