Like me, you probably had no idea who Kenneth Tong is until last week. Apparently he was on Big Brother though I don’t think he made much of an impression. If you’re active on Twitter however, you will definitely have noticed what Kenneth Tong is currently up to, claiming that he has a pill that can shrink you from a size twelve to a size six in three weeks, and promoting what he calls ‘managed anorexia’.
Of course, this has caused upset and uproar and consequently, Kenneth Tong has achieved his extra few days of fame. Max Clifford is supposedly representing him but what immediately baffles me is that Max Clifford has a teenage daughter and so what inspired him to allow Tong to do this is a little beyond me – if that rumour has any truth at all.
I have suffered with an eating disorder off and on for a number of years (though luckily, have had the support to get help and go about recovery) and Tong’s ridiculously outrageous tweets such as “The beginning is always today. Managed anorexia is a lifestyle, not a diet”, isn’t something that necessarily got to me, as is clearly just a way of provoking reaction and he’ll probably say anything to cause more uproar and buzz, as sick as that is.
The fact is though, anorexia is something that manages the sufferer, not the other way around and although many people are pretty aware of the dangers of anorexia and eating disorders, you can never really understand it until you’ve been through it yourself, or are close to someone who has experienced it. It’s dangerous, lonely, destructive and devastating. End of. There is no way you can ever be anorexic and live a happy life. I’m pretty confident in saying that I don’t think there is one case to support that.
However, although Tong the ratty little ‘playboy’ that he claims to be has achieved what he set out to achieve, obviously it has caused huge reaction with the whole ‘curvesaresexy’ hashtag that I believe trended for a while on Friday evening. Anything that raises the issues of eating disorders and the dangers is a positive thing, but I really think the point that should be emphasised is that being happy and healthy is what is ultimately sexy.
Many women are naturally very petite and find it a struggle to put on weight, but can still be sexy - if they’re healthy and that being slim is part of their natural make-up. I don’t think that only curvy women should be labelled as ‘real women’. Every single female on the planet is a real woman, but what makes her sexy is her being happy within her own skin, whatever size that happens to be. That’s what we should all aim for. To be constantly calorie counting and stressing over munching a custard cream isn’t attractive in any way. Attractive is being strong, carefree and healthy. I doubt Marilyn Monroe worried too much about that extra slice of pizza – I know it’s a cliché, but you get what I mean.
The way Tong relentlessly tweets about how being a size zero is the key to happiness does concern me for others though, when I’ve experienced the sadness that this unrealistic aspiration leads to and the torment that goes with reaching a size zero - and then sustaining it. If curious and impressionable young people read this kind of stuff on Twitter, although it may seem stupid and ridiculous, it’s surprising how just a few words and an idea, no matter how outrageous, can grip you and spiral into terrible and sometimes long-term consequences.
One thing that is astounding, using Kenneth Tong as an example, is the incredible power of Twitter. I think the best way to deal with Tong is simply to ignore him. Though with an issue like this, he (or Clifford) knew that it would generate insane amounts of rapid publicity. People (and me included!) can’t help themselves getting involved and sharing their opinion. Numerous celebrities such as Rihanna have even expressed their outrage. This idiot’s fame will fade – he’s a wannabe who doesn’t realise the potentially disastrous outcomes of his actions. Let’s just not feed any more fuel to the fire and Tong can skulk back to the Z list reality star reject pile where he belongs.