Eating Disorders: A social disease?

Not all — but a large population of today’s eating disorders stem from our societies focus on body image and weight.

Let’s face it — our society is nuts.

We accept the fact that “Plus-Sized” models are now size 8-16. We accept the fact that magazines airbrush the living crap out of every single image of women within their pages yet we hold ourselves up to that standard. We accept the fact that kids as young as 4 are dieting (yes that is a f-o-u-r). We accept the fact that more lives are lost because of eating disorders than any other mental illness but God forbid we fork over the $ to treat sufferers. We accept the fact that Pro-Anorexia is a lifestyle that has infiltrated every corner of the web and our solution is to “Shut down those sites!” We accept the fact that dieting moms push their issues on their daughters. We accept the fact that sports require restricting food and water for weight requirements and pure vanity. We accept the fact that fat chat is a daily event that takes place in front of our children with listening ears.

But then we sit and wonder;

What’s wrong with our children? Why are they not happy? Why are they cutting? Why is there so much bullying? Why did that child commit suicide?

It all comes as a shock when you don’t open your eyes and walk around this insane planet for one day and notice how totally destructive our society is to our self image and body image.

Do it — I double dare you. Watch prime-time TV tonight. Google the word “thinspiration.” Open a fashion magazine, pick one, anyone and see the walking dead who are hailed the closest thing to perfect that we’ve ever seen. Browse this list of dead women consumed by their disease. Look at the athletes lost who were more dedicated to their sport than their lives. Take a stroll into Victoria Secret at the mall (actually you don’t even need to step inside since the massive promotional images on the outside of the store include a woman’s ass in a lace thong which is so appropriate).

Then go about your lovely little day. Concerned about your lovely little problems. While your children stick their fingers down their throats within earshot while you pretend to not notice. A burden you say. A frickin burden.




**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist or counselor. I am however a woman who has recovered (fully) from her eating disorder and I have been blogging on this topic since 2006 which stands for something. Qualified to make these statements? No. Making them anyway? Yes. Ranking like a lunatic? Absolutely.

About mamaV

Former Paris model providing advice for eating disorder sufferers who aspire to be thin, follow the proana lifestyle, and lack self esteem.
This entry was posted in Beauty Myth, Eating Disorders, Life Perspective, Media Madness, Thinspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Eating Disorders: A social disease?

  1. myowndisaster says:

    I like how brutally honest you are in this. It’s so unfortunate what our society has accepted. People who don’t struggle with these issues don’t seem to care. I think it may be because they don’t truly understand what it’s like, how bad it really is.

    I finally told two people I trusted and thought may be able help me about my struggle with ED and SI. They seemed to care at first but that quickly faded. They rarely say anything to me about either, which makes me think I’m not sick enough or, maybe, not even sick at all. And on the rare occasion something is said, I feel like they think it’s my fault, that I should be able to just stop. I wish I had never told anyone because it hasn’t helped anything at all. If anything, it has made it worse because now I feel like I have to prove to them that I’m not okay. I know that sounds ridiculous.

    You know, to be fair, I’m not sure what I would do if the situation were reversed, if someone I cared about was doing what I’m doing. One thing is for sure though… I would do more than nothing. Anyway, good post. It’s good to see you back! :)

  2. Ashley says:

    It’s pretty obvious to me how screwed up this world is when it comes to body image. I would like to hear some ideas as to how this can all be changed. I want to be able to speak to young girls and help them learn how to love their bodies as I did, but I need some help. If you have thoughts, please let me know!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post. So many people carry on, blindly allowing society to dictate their self-worth and it is, like you said, pretty bad these days…especially for kids.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have always agreed that the media is a contributing factor, but I lean on the side that eating disorders are more of a genetic factor. This is just what I have learned in treatment. For every successful model that has had an ED, there are many who have not.

    I believe what separates those who have from those who have not lies within genetic factors and personality traits. I am not an expert by any means, but this is just what I have learned from the “Experts”

    Experts don’t know everything; I know that first hand. But if society images are encouraging or influencing your ED- the last thing I would advise is to pick up a fashion magazine. Such images only serve to fuel a fire in a warped brain. I learned to walk away from them. No, I do not live in a bubble- yes, I see them at the CVS on the newsstand. But like a recovering alcoholic- I don’t have to buy that drink or the magazine. The message being missed here is to have the strength to walk away. I am not suggesting that change in the media is necessary, but I think, if things like magazines on being skinny bother you- you don’t have to buy them. You can walk away, as I do.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not necessary I meant

  6. Dinah says:

    Hi everyone.. MamaV great post.. I know in my house hold the fat talk went on and I always over heard it.. I dont think it effected me….. UNTIL my mom put me on a diet at the age of 10 because I was already bigger than my older sister and she was not going to allow me to get overweight.. I started to feel like the way to rebel was to binge when she wasnt there… This lead to me gaining even more weight and bye the age of 15 I was in a size much bigger than my years.. I decided to take a different approach and thats when I began to use restricting and exercise to loose.. Well one thing lead to another and I was a full blown anorexic within a year. After a year and a half I was in the hospital every few months.. I am in recovery but I still get the thoughts and am struggling right now because I have gained so much weight and have not gotten over the hatred I have for myself when Im not within a certain weight limit.. UGH.. I could go on and on.. I just want to say Im glad you put this out there.. We as a society need to make some changes.. Not only to ourselves but by using our voice to try to make others understand and help those who may not know they even need help..


  7. NTG says:

    “What’s wrong with our children? Why are they not happy? Why are they cutting? Why is there so much bullying? Why did that child commit suicide?”

    You are a good mum and it is apparent in your posts however many kids don’t have a good mum, their mum is messed up and perhaps should have waited to have kids and healed within prior or perhaps should never have/had kids. I’ve read through all the comments and a common opinion is “no one cares”. Very sad. A lot of EDs have nothing to do with models, magazines, celebs. It takes a community to raise a child and well nowdays we are all independants (herein lies the real problem). Keep up the good posts. Your site has been dead way too long.

  8. .C. says:

    Anonymous: while I appreciate your comments, and do agree with them, you make the same comment on all of MamaV’s posts. In this particular post she took the time to acknowledge that this was one particular factor in the prevalence of eating disorders that she wanted to focus on. It’s not that I think your comment is totally out of line or anything, I just think it’s unnecessary since MamaV made the point of the post clear, and redundant in the context of your other comments on this site.


  9. anonymous says:

    To be fair, I am not anymore redundant than she is in either of my or her opinions.

  10. anonymous says:

    I understand that she’s big on media being the blame, but acknowledges genetic factors. I agree the media sucks, but it does not deserve the culprit of 100% responsibility.

    I agree 100% that there is crap loads of bad influences out there- bad parents who mock their children’s weight that affect their self esteem; abuse that can trigger a spiral into an ED. But I know so many people with these backgrounds who somehow, rose above it, did not succumb to this negativity, never had an ED and went on to run multi- million dollar companies.

    What separates those who don’t get one from those who do? I don’t have the answer, but my belief is that it can’t all be society. I believe it is a pre-disposed bio chemical thing of what makes one succumb more than another, and if I sound redundant, so be it.

    What I’d really like to see on here is more stories of positive parenting- stories of where parents recognized their child needed help and did everything they could to get them treatment… Fought the insurance companies like its Iraq to keep their daughter- and while less recognized- sons- alive. Mine did. It’s not fair to paint every parent out to be evil and while I know MV doesn’t think that, it can come across that way. Parents who are doing a good job need recognition and support too. And even when parents do all they responsibly can, it is ultimately the responsibility of the afflicted to grab hold of their lives and admit they need help and comply with treatment- supportive rents or not. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

  11. NTG says:

    Great post anonymous ( previous post). First off I should state I do not have children (cannot). The world has changed too fast and there are a lot of kids being raised with both parents working full time. Who is raising the kids? I realize dual income folks are trying to make ends meat and give their kids the best in life but something has to give. Kids become a item on a to do list ( not implying you are just a generalization). My ed was not a by product of genetics (European farmers) but a by product of environment and no not media. Running multiple dollar companies means working lots and worrying lots, I know because I too am am on a board of directors of a pubicly run company and could only imagine how it would affect a kid.

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  14. Bridgit says:

    Whoot! Whoot! Keep speaking up and out! Our society needs more like you!
    When our daughter was in the midst of an eating disorder, six years ago. One of her best friends mother knew our daughter was purging and didn’t tell us! (this mother is a director of nurses at a hospital) Then the same woman told people all over town that she would have never sent her daughter to treatment for ED, the first two months of her Senior year. (like we did)I have often wonder if she would have thought the same had my daughter had cancer.
    Thank you for your transparency and boldness!

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