May 15th, 2001 --
In Snow White, the princess’ evil stepmother gazes into the looking glass, asking, “Mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” Here in the real world, a person who gazes into a mirror thinking, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I know I’m the ugliest of them all,” may be suffering from BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder - certainly something far more dangerous than the stepmother's vanity.
In a recent interview with Talk Magazine, even beauty goddess Uma Thurman admitted to struggling with the disorder - one that has its victims feeling that they are simply not attractive. The lanky 6-foot blonde admitted to "being troubled about her weight" ever since giving birth to her daughter, Maya, in July 1998. Thurman, whose beauty and bodacious body are celebrated world-wide, has recently been named the spokesmodel for Lancome's Miracle perfume. She also stars in a new movie released this week, Golden Bowl.
"I see myself as fat," Thurman confessed to Talk Magazine, adding that she has body dysmorphic disorder.
Thurman even reportedly threw a piece of bread back in the basket during her Talk interview, exclaiming in frustration, "I don't want to eat bread! Why am I doing it?"
But in an age where body and face have taken on extreme importance, Ms. Thurman is certainly not alone. The disorder has been growing in the past five years, to the point where qualified plastic surgeons are being trained to detect the tell tale signs of BDD, so they know when to recommend a psychiatrist rather than liposuction.
Repetitive mirror gazing is one of the symptoms of BDD. Unlike the evil queen who demanded reassurance of her beauty from the mirror, people with BDD are preoccupied with an imagined or imperceptible defect, which, they are convinced, makes them repulsively ugly. They typically spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, checking and rechecking their imagined flaw – or trying to camouflage it.
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