Keyword Analysis & Research: fasting girls


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What does fasting girl stand for?

A fasting girl was one of a number of young Victorian girls, usually pre-adolescent, who claimed to be able to survive over indefinitely long periods of time without consuming any food or other nourishment. In addition to refusing food, fasting girls claimed to have special religious or magical powers.

Do fasting girls really have stigmata?

In some cases, the fasting girls also exhibited the appearance of stigmata. Doctors, however, such as William A. Hammond ascribed the phenomenon to fraud and hysteria on the part of the girl. Historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg believes the phenomenon to be an early example of anorexia nervosa.

Why do girls fast in the Middle Ages?

In addition to refusing food, fasting girls claimed to have special religious or magical powers. The ability to survive without nourishment was attributed to some saints during the Middle Ages, including Catherine of Siena and Lidwina of Schiedam, and regarded as a miracle and a sign of sanctity.

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