Then Imogen opens her eyes and comes back to life

Why do women still feel so hounded? The ideal body seems now attainable only by plastic surgery. The ideal woman has the earning powers of a chief executive, breasts like an inflatable doll, no hips at all, and the tidy, hairless labia of an unviolated 6-year-old. The world gets harder and harder. There’s no pleasing it. No wonder some girls want out. Anorexia itself seems like mad behaviour, but I don’t think it’s madness. It is a way of shrinking back, of reserving, preserving the self, fighting free of sexual and emotional entanglements. It says, like Christ, noli me tangere. Touch me not and take yourself off. For a year or two, it may be a valid strategy; to be greensick, to be out of the game; to die just a little; to nourish the inner being while starving the outer being; to buy time. Most anorexics do recover, after all. Anorexia can be an accommodation, a strategy for survival.

— Hilary Mantel

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