OPINION - Ozempic is resurrecting the nightmare of toxic skinny

 (Natasha Pszenicki)
(Natasha Pszenicki)

At some point a few years ago, the smell of the Nineties wafted back into the air. It has lingered ever since. You can smell it in the mini-skirts, low-rise jeans and beaded necklaces now commonplace on our high streets — and yes, in the return of the toxic cult of skinny.

But while the revival of Nineties fashion has largely remained true to its OG form, so-called heroin chic 2.0 has adopted a darker and more dystopian form.

Hollywood appears to be firmly in the chokehold of Ozempic, a diabetes drug instead being used for rapid weight loss. It works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone, GLP-1, to repress hunger and slow stomach emptying.

Welcome to the post-food era, apparently. While the drug was rolled out in the US in 2018, it was thrust into popular consciousness last year. There were rumours that Kim Kardashian used it to fit into that Marilyn Monroe Met Gala dress (denied by Kim, who said she just crash dieted…phew!).

Celebrities like Elon Musk, Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea Handler have admitted using Ozempic or similar drugs. Social media is ablaze with talk of it — #ozempic has more than 600 million views on TikTok.

The craze is not just the penchant of LA elites either. UK high street pharmacies are gearing up to offer a similar drug in stores too.

It gets darker. The US Food and Drug Association has warned that Ozempic, which costs around $900 per month, has caused thyroid tumors in rodents and can be dangerous for those who have a history of pancreatitis or thyroid cancer (as well as creating shortages for diabetics who actually need the drug).

Forgive me for being naive, but weren’t we meant to have moved past all of this? Even though the body positivity movement of the 2010s was far from a revolutionary rejection of confining beauty standards (I’m looking at you, Brazilian butt-lifts), surely we can all agree that the days of 30 grams of Special K instead of meals, and “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” a la Kate Moss, were Not Good?

It seems not. Yes, women’s bodies have long borne the scars of whatever body “trend” is in vogue. But we are hurtling towards a dangerous new frontier. I don’t think we are ready for what could lie on the other side.