By Jade Morris
“At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S” The main things fueling this deadly illness are things that are sadly considered normal, from Instagram to Tumblr, today’s internet and society has given us a picture of perfection. This is something that isn’t even an attainable goal for most people, but it is constantly shown to us. From the beginning, we are shown this idea of perfection and we are told that if we cannot be this perfection then we are less. I believe that this perfection that we are told to accomplish doesn’t even exist, but the urge and requirement to be perfect is real, and it is dangerous
To put it bluntly, body image is how someone sees themselves in their mind and how they feel in their skin. Whether a person likes their body or not is based on the “level of body image satisfaction is determined by the distance between the actual and the ideal body image”. Sometimes self-image can be different in our minds than it is in reality, this is called “body dysmorphia”, and this causes a multitude of serious mental issues which sometimes become physical problems. For example, “generalized anxiety disorder”, “social anxiety”, and “depression”, these are just a few listed by the Mayo Clinic. The most dangerous effect of body dysmorphia is the overwhelming anxiety to fix it, and most people that have it will do anything to fix the problem, with eating disorders it is mainly weight. Which is just a number, and humans aren’t numbers.
Starving, it’s the main thing that people talk about when talking about eating disorders. While it is a method that patients use it is one of many, purging is the second most common and one of the most dangerous. This is one of the things that need to be talked about more, people don’t realize the true damage this causes. This isn’t just not eating and you lose weight, this isn’t just throwing up your meals and losing weight. Starving is more associated with anorexia nervosa, and causes many deadly issues like a lack of iron which causes issues with the circulatory system and the heart, and the biggest problem starving to death. Anorexia is not the only eating disorder and not the most damaging either, Bulimia nervosa is an addiction to a binge-purge cycle. This is extremely damaging to your body it can cause your teeth and gums to rot, it will burn your esophagus and potentially cause it to burst, and just like anorexia, it will leave you severely dehydrated. There are many more types of eating disorders that can be just as deadly, but the thing is people don’t what type of problem this is and you can not fix a problem without know what it is.
Social media is something that almost everyone in our current society has. It is considered normal now, but not everything about it is normal. We all know about the dark web and other sites that probably aren’t the best thing for anyone and everyone to have access to. Even worse than that there are countless websites and even hints of it in some social media, it is called pro-ana or pro-mia. This means for anorexia or bulimia, not only is it a thing that promotes the continuation of the illness it also shames those who do recover and tells others to forbear doing so. These websites are completely open to anyone and everyone. They tell young girls how to starve and purge, they give “hacks” on how to lose 10 pounds in a week (which no one should ever do even if their BMI is overweight). Sadly this isn’t even the scariest part, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr also have thousands and thousands of pro-mia accounts. Some of these accounts get deleted but only when they are reported, these accounts also give tips and tricks on how to damage your body while creating multiple mental and physical health issues. These accounts also have “thinspo”, which is pictures of people that are so skinny that their bones always show These pictures aren’t a thing that young girls should think is beautiful, the pictures aren’t even real. It astonishes me how these accounts and websites are still a thing. About half of anorexia patients have anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia. We need this to change, Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Would you glorify murder? Would you promote theft and robbery? Most likely no you wouldn’t (or so I hope). Between movies, TV and YouTube eating disorders are meaning countless times and there are hundreds of characters with eating disorders, but I wanna talk about how the disorder and character or person that has it is being portrayed. In the movie To The Bone, there is a character named Ellen which is played by Lily Collins. Another movie called Thin this documentary stars four girls ranging from 15 to 30 struggling with anorexia and bulimia. The cover of the movie says, “If it takes dying to get there, so be it”. While the movie is about their path to recovery, many people which the disorder use it as a form of trigger. These movies aren’t the only ones either to list a few: Heather’s, When Friendship Kills, Paperweight, For the Love of Nancy, Empty, Starving in Suburbia, Ana, Catalyst, and many many more. All of which do not show the deadly illness in its full virulence and abhorrence.
To conclude, this illness is something that is far looked over and should be taken much more seriously than it is currently. We should always show the ugly when it comes to these disorders to take away the glorification from them. We should be teaching young people that body as important as mind, and that being healthy is better than being whatever preposterous thing that society calls normal. “Beauty is in the way you hold yourself. It is how you treat people. The way you love. It’s self-acceptance. Beauty is in your soul.”- Anonymous
- National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
- Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: 1-630-577-1330