Eating Disorders Awareness week contrarians

Lots of good commentary out there during Eating Disorders Awareness Weeks** and for the first time I'm seeing a lot of feisty attitude: it's not all butterflies and unicorns this year!

From Catherine of Siena:
"BE AWARE that just because you’ve got issues with your hips does not mean you understand eating disorders, and that telling someone with an ED that you “get it” because you once juice-fasted is going to come across about as sensitively as telling an alcoholic you “get it” because you have a glass of wine with your dinner."

From A Life Recovered:
Everyone thinks they know all about eating disorders. The problem, of course, is that they don’t actually know anything at all and it seems to me that EDAW is, if anything, making it worse. All the “love your body events” (both EDAW events here in Seattle are body image focused, Renfrew’s Barefaced and Beautiful campaign) will only surve to further confuse people while simultaneously trivializing a deadly illness. Even the backlash against the  love your body focus gets it wrong.

From So it Goes:
More importantly, I think it’s important to STOP SPREADING MYTHS. Sometimes, in raising awareness, we focus on the wrong things. For instance: models, media, parents, and “control issues” do not cause eating disorders. They may play a role in sustaining them, but by focusing on these issues, we perpetuate commonly misheld belief. Furthermore, these beliefs are already held by society — in fact, they kind of cause the stereotypes surrounding eating disorders.

From ED Bites:
I know that body image obsessions are common in EDs, and I know that makeup can be part of that. But I almost never wear makeup, and I still got an eating disorder. So I'm just wondering how going without makeup is related to Eating Disorders Awareness Week. It's kinda maybe tangentially related, maybe, if you lump body image distress in with eating disorders. But really? Makeup doesn't cause eating disorders.

For EDA week 2012, beat have focussed on breaking the silence, saying their research suggests over half of their eating disordered respondents didn’t tell anyone about the problem they suspected because they were scared, or didn’t know what to say. But every day I hear stories of people who have taken that first terrifying step, and have had their hopes dashed by finding themselves on the receiving end of an equally stony silence from healthcare providers. They weigh too much, they are non-compliant, they are chronic, they need to want it, they are complicated, they are atypical, they are hopeless. How many out there are suffering alone – not in that first silence but in something far worse? Worse, because at least before you speak you can hope that speaking will make a difference.

From: Mumbles, Murmurs and Mutterings:
YES - it is brilliant that people are becoming more "aware" of eating disorders and more people are seeking help - but if the information out there is actually WRONG, unhelpful and triggering, what part of the awareness is actually beneficial? This horrendous article was published last week in Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

And you'll note, the attitude isn't just coming from troublesome, dyspeptic parents; all of the above are eating disorder patient bloggers. 

** not all countries have the same EDAWs, so it's more of a season than a week!


  1. I do hope readers will find this piece about advice for MDs valuable as well.

  2. A LOT Of MD's do not give a flying crap about ED's. That is my experience with a lifetime of living a peek-a-boo existence with each and every ED in each manifestation. We are considered freaks, and incurable. I would like to see the recommendation of one fucking doctor who knows and cares of ED's. No offense.

  3. MelsArts, I agree that most doctors are not aware of what an eating disorder is or how to approach it. I can't go with you on the view that they don't care, however. Of course almost all of them care: they just don't understand and they have almost no training unless they pursue it on their own.

    I know many doctors who are both knowledgable and quite skilled at helping patients and their families. Their patients are fortunate, and I look forward to more and more getting the benefit of their mentorship.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts