I have nothing against Nicole Richie.  Really.  I actually thought she was pretty cute in those reality shows with Paris Hilton.  And Nicole was pretty funny.  And a hundred times more interesting than that dopey Paris Hilton.  I’ll even admit that I had a couple of Lionel Richie albums.  I liked him.  And I loved him when he was with the Commodores.

So, please stop emailing me, saying how I hate Nicole Richie.

The problem started with this post:

And then this post:

I didn’t mean to pick on Nicole Richie.  She was just the skinny actress du jour.  She is more a metaphor for skinny actresses everywhere.

If you look to the right on the page, you’ll see that I use a WordPress plugin called "Most Popular Posts."  The plugin uses some complicated formula based on hits and comments to come up with this list of most popular posts.  I don’t make any of the choices.  As you can see, "Too Skinny" is my most popular post.  It is also my worst post.  It isn’t particularly funny or interesting or touching.  But tons of people come to read it.   At first, readers came to make jokes about these skinny women.  Then, some people sounded sad about what women do to their bodies.   But then the tone changed, after I was linked by some pro-ana sites.

I had no idea what pro-ana was until I looked it up:

Pro-ana websites were first developed to counter the many support websites which encourage recovery from anorexia. Many anorexics believed that the desire to achieve an unnaturally slim figure was not a mental illness, but an alternative lifestyle. Doctors who treat anorexia see pro-ana as a life-threatening danger to current and potential anorexics.

These were young women who were advocating excessive skinnyness — calling anorexia a lifestyle — sort of like being gay or a Teamster is a lifestyle.  The whole concept of ana seemed pretty silly to me, until I started getting angry emails.  Most played the victim card:  

"You would never call someone fat in public.  Why do you feel it is OK to call someone "skinny?"

Yes, that guy on "Lost" is fat.  So, there.

Here’s an "ana" forum that discusses one of my dumb silly posts about Nicole Richie, Teri Hatcher, and Mischa Barton.  Here’s one of the comments:

Has anyone noticed that most of the people complaining that the three were too skinny were chicks?  I thought that was kinda amusing. i think its stupid how chubby people complain about how girls should be more womanly and all that jazz but secretly they themselves want to be just as pin thin as the supermodels, but won’t admit it.

I hate having that "Too Skinny" post as my most popular one.  I’ve tried to cheat the system by hitting some of my other posts dozens of times, hoping to push them up the list.  But every time I do that,  ten more people come to read about "skinny woman."

And each day, I get an email telling me how good Nicole Richie looks since she lost the weight.


On a related note, he is an amazingly touching post about a lifetime of weight isssues written by Kristy.

And to start the weekend right, here’s another gag at Nicole Richie’s expense, via Justin.