Kenneth Tong, Simon Cowell, and Managed Anorexia


My head is spinning a bit here.  Sarah Arrow pointed out to me a guy named Kenneth Tong,  billed as a “Hong Kong playboy” who spent six days on the cast of the British version of “Big Brother” back in 2009.   He also advocates what he calls “managed anorexia” and is getting ready to sell a miracle pill that will get you from a size 12 to a size 6 in three weeks.

Really?  WTF?

His Twitter link takes you to a closed Facebook page so who knows what happens there.  But here’s a peak at some of the messages on his stream:

If I managed to give one person “food for thought” as opposed to them snacking on Crisps or Chocolate, I’d be more fulfilled than you.

@JoleneDillon Personally read your essay. Well done on wishing to be size zero but had your anorexia been supervised, you’d have been fine.

Do hope the youth read my Tweets. Weight-loss can never start too young and snacking can never be allowed to begin.

To not be thin is a sin. I’m singlehandedly brave enough to champion this size zero agenda, which you’ve all oppressed for far too long.

Glad my size zero message is being heard globally. Honestly, to have an imperfect body is to have an imperfect soul…

Only the thin truly win. My Size Zero Pill will change lives, it’s like the modern day Schindler’s List. Will I be your salvation?

Really?  Using Jewish people subjected to the Holocaust as an example to aspire to?  WTF?  I’m reticent to write this post; I’m pretty sure it’s what he wants.  He’s definitely enjoying the attention and has even managed to drag Simon Cowell into this.  Thank you Simon for your responses:

Just been informed about @MrKennethTong. has a new village idiot… In fact he doesn’t even deserve the village. He’s an idiot.

@MrKennethTong You keep telling people to lose weight… The only weight people should lose is you. You’re not worth my time.

Basically this guy refuses to have sex with anyone who’s not a size zero (I guess you’re gonna have to show him your dress tags) and thinks that if you’re not a zero, than you are a zero.

So I did a little digging.  Some statistics:

  • Size zero is “vanity sizing,” a made-up number by U.S. clothing manufacturers; in the U.K. it’s equivalent to a size four.
  • A size zero’s measurements are 30″ – 22″ – 32″ or 84 – 64 – 89 centimenters.
  • A 22″ waist corresponds with the average pant size of an 8-year-old.
  • Marilyn Monroe’s measurements according to her dressmaker were 35 – 22 – 35.
  • The average U.S. woman is a size 14 today.  Those measurements are 39 – 31.5 – 42.5 .

There are certainly women out there who are naturally and happily a size zero.  There are also women out there who put in a little bit of effort to maintain a size zero and are happy with where they are.  The vast majority of the rest of us can’t even conceive of doing this.

The Argument

Of course Tong advocates that being a certain dress size is the ONLY key to happiness and to dating stud muffins such as himself.  If I read one of his tweets correctly, he referenced having 104 “dates” last year.  Who wants to sleep with a guy who might have some sort of venereal disease?

I believe the pill he is “developing” is an asthma medication for horses that has been banned pretty much everywhere because it kills people.

Is there such a thing as “managed anorexia?”  Nope.  Can any girl who wants to become a size zero safely use a “little bit” of an eating disorder to get there?  Nope.   Would you want to sleep with a guy who’s so ridiculously superficial that he rules out 99% of the planet as possibilities?  Nope.

A Piece of Celebrity

It’s easy to get caught up in the fabulous lives of celebrities.  While we all don’t get to achieve the dream of attending red carpet events, we can dream of fitting in to their tiny dresses.  But the reality is eating disorders are a slippery slope.  You might think you have control for a while, but you don’t.  You never did, and it’ll end badly.  It always does.

For the teenage girls who are vulnerable, let’s give ‘em lots of love and support the bodies they’ve got, which are lithe, graceful, and strong.  For our teenage boys, let’s teach them that beauty comes in all sizes and the most beautiful asset a girl has is her confidence.

Do Looks Matter?

I’m not Pollyanna-ish enough to say there’s no such thing as physical attraction; I have a thing for tall guys and always went for the tallest guy in the room.  (I know, it’s dumb; trust me, my friends always gave me a hard time about it and I know they’re right.)  But I’m happily married to my 6’2″ husband and I’m glad that when I wear 4″ heels, he’s still taller than me.   I avoided dating blonds too, go figure.

Sarah, who’s the Mom to a teenager, has some great perspective on all of this at Birds on a Blog.

What do you think?  Should we get up on our soap boxes and drum this guy off the internet?  Or just ignore him and his bullypulpit and hope he goes away?  Is this a teaching moment to our teens about body image?  Do we really have to worry about them falling for this crap?

Let’s start talking,