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Interviews with recovered anorexics in Tennessee, U. S. A., and Toronto, Canada, refute popular stereotypes and question anorexia's medicalization. Instead of adolescent girls literally dying for looks, putting anorexics in their life-world and life-course context shows youthful ascetics—male as well as female—obsessing over not beauty but self-control, a cardinal contemporary virtue. What makes anorexia into a medical mystery as well as a personal tragedy is how the Cartesian dualism of modern thought splits mind from body. Here anthropology can act as a cultural broker, translating a biocultural disease for today's biology-or-culture thinking.