The Glamorization Of Eating Disorders And Why That’s Pretty Sh*t

Not long ago, as many of you probably know, a delightful blog dedicated to shaming gays, fat people, sluts (who apparently encompass about 90 percent of the entire female species) and promoting overall misogynistic, homophobic-related material, wrote a post that explored why men should date girls with eating disorders. I won’t even link to the story, because quite frankly, I’d rather not get those guys any more page visits, but the premise of the article was that women battling anorexia and/or bulimia cost less money, will be so obsessed with body image that they’ll look great all the time, will be vulnerable and thus easier to bang, will be rich (only upper class girls get ED, don’t you know?) and will be good in bed because all “crazy girls are good in bed.”

The thing is, I wasn’t mad at the post. I wouldn’t expect any different from these guys (who all use pseudonyms, by the way, to protect their identities because deep down they probably know how much of a detrimental impact their writing could cause in their personal and professional lives). I was mostly disgusted — absolutely repulsed by the fact that they could glamorize such a painful illness — repulsed that they could take every symptom that plagues any woman (or man for that matter) dealing with an eating disorder. It’s taken me a bit to be able to write about this, mainly because I wanted to do so with a clear head. But after really thinking about it —  after reading the editor’s defense about the post, in which he states that the article was meant to give women with eating disorders more sex appeal so that men give them a chance; after I went through the mental note-taking process of, “Well, yeah, obviously someone with an ED deserves love,” only to then realize, “But that doesn’t mean the only reason you date them is to save a few bucks and take advantage of the vulnerability that goes hand in hand with an ED so you can get an ‘easy lay'” — I can’t help but remain distressed that instead of focusing on helping those struggling with eating disorders, instead of looking at the media and at our culture and trying to remedy the influx of images from which ED’s can often stem, you get people essentially saying, “It’s ok to stay sick, because you’ll look good, you’ll cost less, and you’ll screw better.”

It is not ok to stay sick. Considering 8 million Americans have an eating disorder, and 20 percent of them will die, that means that approximately 1,600,000 people with anorexia or bulimia will perish from their illness. So… sorry, but it’s not ok to tell people they don’t need help, and that they will be just fine. They may very well not be fine. They may very well succumb to a heart attack, stop breathing or take their own lives.

Sadly, the article in question isn’t the only evidence of glamorization of eating disorders in the media. The very fact that so many of our “icons of beauty” are battling ED’s, and that images of nearly emaciated women flood our televisions and computer screens, only proves that we’re told it is ok to achieve those body types through whatever means necessary. Even if the results can be deadly, literally. But we all know this is happening. We know it’s been happening. And instead of doing anything about it — instead of doing anything that can change the way the mainstream media showcases men and women with eating disorders like prized horses at an equestrian show — we glamorize the situation. We make it seem healthy and beautiful.

News flash to the men who wrote the post that resulted in this one: your argument is flawed. Often, women battling eating disorders will be too self-conscious to even look in the mirror whilst naked, let alone let you see them unclothed. They won’t necessarily be wealthy, because, guess what, ED’s are not a class-exclusive illness. So if you’re hoping to get their “daddy’s money,” you’re probably out of luck. They will often look pale and have sunken eyes and look ill because they are ill. Maybe they won’t spend your money on food, but how about on the medical help needed to get better? That’s not free last time I checked. As for vulnerability, yeah, maybe they will be extra vulnerable, but if you take advantage of that, well, congratulations, you’re a piece of sh*t.

You guys I know I think every person has a beauty. Every person has their own aesthetic qualities that make them lovely in some way. But being sick just isn’t beautiful. Feeling bad about yourself every day isn’t beautiful. Being so ill mentally that your body decomposes physically is not beautiful. It’s devastating.

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6 comments

  1. Thank you for this! I have yet to visit that website, despite everyone talking about it, because I know it will trigger me. But I’m happy to see all the amazing women talking back.

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