A central feature of early modern women’s self-starvation, evident throughout Arbella’s story and those of the other women featured, is that people focused on and debated and responded to someone’s perceived psychological state, their grief or madness or wilfulness, rather than the physical symptom of self-starvation. Food refusal, however interpreted by onlookers, offers means of articulating, actualising and ultimately effecting that resistance, ‘arrest[ing]’ the ‘move towards the future, towards the living present’. Whether early twenty-first-century bodies are criticised for being overweight or overskinny, ‘patriarchal discourses present our often distressing experiences around eating and body weight as a problem of individual pathology rather than as a consequence of social oppression’. The normativity of physical hyperawareness and weight concerns in twenty-first-century culture problematically perpetuates dysfunctional sociocultural ideologies in medicalised discourses of anorexia and other eating disorders. Early modern female diarists such as Lady Margaret Hoby appear to regard themselves as strongest and most successful in terms of service to others and religious devotion.