The Times – Skeletal celebs like Cheryl Cole just bore me I’m glad the new role models such as Lily Allen think self-starvation is a passe hang-up Carol Midgley

I’ve never met anyone who genuinely lies awake worrying about the unhappiness of scraggy models and emaciated celebrities, but if you do, don’t bother, save your breath. These people do it because it benefits them and their career trajectory, not because they want to die. No one will ever convince me that these pinched specimens make other young girls anorexic: anorexia nervosa is a complex mental illness, not something you can “catch” like nits. True anorexics starve themselves because they want to be invisible, unnoticed. Celebrities do it because they want the exact opposite.

If I could install a little widget to detect when my readers reach the bolded part of that paragraph and then launch into a loud rendition of the Hallelujah chorus, I totally would.

So here’s my strategy for ending the cult of thinness: ignore it. Real anorexics deserve our sympathy but the other sort, the ones who wear their concave stomachs like Hermès bags and would tattoo their pancreases if they were told it was “on trend” just pretend that they’re not there. Look away when you see X’s “before and after” photos promoting her weight loss DVD, make it your business not to know how quickly Y lost her baby weight.

The fact is that times are changing anyway. The new generation of celebrity role models — Lily Allen, Peaches Geldof, Daisy Lowe — are healthy sizes and apparently regard self-starvation as a passé hang-up of the middle-aged.

And don’t shed too many tears for thin models. If you want to show you care about the health of the exploited worker, hug a cockle-picker instead.

It’s true, I think. The ugliest skinny women (especially in Britain, where the young girls walk and drink beer, making for good figures) are middle aged. I think it’s probably when they hit middle age spread and refuse to “succumb”, they’re determined to prove that they can overcome and and end up way skinnier than they ever were before. Then they end up wearing inappropriate clothes and making the rest of us notice the skin on their necks. Oh well.