Back to school, dear journalists!

From my ever-renewing file of phrases that shouldn't happen:

Topless activists protest against anorexic models (doesn't this sound like something a teenage boy came up with? Models, anorexia, and nudity: there's a way to get attention!)
Healthy eating campaigns 'causing anorexia' (as much as I find those healthy eating campaigns wrong-headed, they don't cause anorexia)
The sole purpose of such blogs is to promote the creation and encourage the maintenance of eating disorders (eating disorders can't be created, they are a predisposition. the online ravings of ill people - or people pretending to be ill people - are sad reflections of poor treatment and public understanding of mental illness)
Woman looking anorexic during Oscars (you can't "look" anorexic. being very thin, or even skeletal, isn't anorexic - there is no difference between those who are underweight from chemo or neglect than those whose mental illness has compelled them to restrict. people with anorexia can be any weight, including "over" weight. just because the diagnosis has used that definition doesn't mean that is the illness itself.)
Anorexia became answer to abuse (anorexia is not an answer to anything. as poetic and sympathetic as it sounds: people don't respond to life by making themselves anorexic, or depressed, or deaf. While of course there are people who have anorexia and have been abused you may be interested to know that rates of abuse are LOWER in those with anorexia than the general population. abuse is wrong and damaging no matter what, but anorexia is not the measure of it.)
The New Face of Anorexia (there is no NEW face. rates of anorexia nervosa seem to be stable through history and across cultures: 1/2 a percent. new VISIBLE face, maybe: we certainly were not recognizing anorexia in men, in non-white girls, and anyone outside the stereotype and insurance coverage bracket before.)
Peer pressure drives "socially transmitted" anorexia (oy. anorexia is not socially transmitted. disordered behaviors CAN be, but without the predisposition - which isn't that common, actually, kids go back to what they used to do or just remain disordered. those who ARE predisposed get trapped in it and can't get back out.)


  1. Yes, I saw and commented on the Reuters article ("socially transmitted"). The best is how they defined anorexia--they measured BMI! So much for DSM criteria.

  2. That one was so riddled with false assumptions and conclusions I didn't even know where to start! And the BMI thing, well, sigh... This EDAW has been quite a mixed bag, huh?

  3. I am honestly afraid to click on any of those links, because I'm irritated enough just from reading the titles. I expect that if I read the articles themselves, I would inflict serious damage on some innocent object in my apartment.

    Hurrah for a successful EDAW...?

  4. "While of course there are people who have anorexia and have been abused you may be interested to know that rates of abuse are LOWER in those with anorexia than the general population."

    I'd be interested to see the source that references this statistic. I'm genuinely curious because I've heard quite the opposite (although I do agree that anorexia is not "the answer" to abuse).

    1. Here's one source:

      More important is that there are no studies to really establish the connection compared to the population. As I've talked with leading clinicians through the years it used to just be assumed, and then lately I'm hearing that clinicians are actively saying that there is no higher incidence in anorexia than the population (where, of course, it is too high). Bulimia remains more complex on this topic, as is Anorexia with binging/purging.

      The widespread belief out there that anorexia, or any mental illness, is a measure of the environment has two ill effects. One is that it puts anyone with a mental disorder's family under a cloud of suspicion that affects treatment. The other is that actual environmental issues - like abuse - are considered less urgent without such effects. If you shoot a gun at me and it misfires, are you less culpable? Abuse deserves attention whether the victim becomes horribly ill or not.


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