Demi Lovato's "bikini bod" Twitter pics sort of broke my heart. I had a bad feeling last month when her PSA for the project "Love Is Louder Than the Pressure to Be Perfect" debuted: The poor kid was barely out of rehab for an eating disorder, cutting. Making her the spokesperson was setting her up for a backslide, and it came in a desperate cry for public approval ("See how great I look in this bikini??").
I cringe to see a young girl go through this struggle under the media microscope, but in a way, this does make Demi Lovato the perfect anti-perfection role model: She's still struggling to make peace with herself, and that's a process every teen girl (not to mention grown woman) can relate to.
My only fear is that girls who are going through similar issues will forget about Demi's ups and downs and instead obsess over that bikini pic: "Are my thighs bigger than hers?" "Her stomach looks so flat and mine is so disgusting." In eating disorder parlance, photos like this one can qualify as a "trigger" (something that sets self-destructive behavior patterns back into motion). We all know how teens (again, not to mention grown women) endlessly, neurotically compare themselves to their peers.
Yes, there are pictures of ridiculously beautiful women in bikinis all over the place, but I'm afraid that the eating-disordered girls who identify with Demi will feel betrayed by her hot-bod shot. That they'll misinterpret a bid for attention as a declaration of health: "All better now!"
Again, Demi is just a kid and I do not think it's fair to burden her with role model responsibilities. But I hope the next time she's feeling bloated and blue, she'll tweet about that, too, so her fans can see how perfectly imperfect she truly is, just like the rest of us.
What kind of message do you think Demi's bikini pics send to teens?
Image via Live and Let Die/Flickr