National Eating Disorder Awareness week, NEDA for short, was from February 26th to March 4th, and aimed to spotlight eating disorders and provide life-saving resources to those who need it. It’s time to talk about eating disorders and the many gripping holds it has on people’s lives.
Image is everything. And everywhere. Whether it’s on the internet or in magazines (or anywhere else, to be honest), we are being told what it means to be beautiful. Yet America’s perception of beauty has changed throughout the years, and we’re having a hard time keeping up. For women, we are seeing airbrushed images of models with not much diversity. For men, we see chiseled chests and 8 packs with, again, not much diversity. The majority of the images we see do not reflect our population in America. Looking at the photo on the right, it’s clear to see that we are NOT being shown accurate representations. (Picture on the right depicts avg. woman size, avg. female model size).
*For those of you that are curious about men, the average weight and height for men is about 194 pounds and 5’9. The average male model is 150 pounds and 6’0.
The comparison of ourselves to these images can be incredibly dangerous – mentally and physically. So what can we do about it? Well, the body rEvolution at the Women’s Center has some ideas. Continue reading “Time for a Body rEvolution”→
Warning: The following post may contain triggering material.
By Shanda Glover
I remember my older sister telling our dad the news. Tears were streaming down her face and her voice shook uncontrollably. She whispered “Alex is starving herself.” Within one month, my niece, an extraordinary ballerina, lost 21 pounds.
At only fourteen years old, my niece was diagnosed with an eating disorder.
As of 2015, 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, in the United States.
Since losing her daughter in 2000, Kitty Westin has been advocating for a federal bill to help prevent other deaths from eating disorders. This federal bill, The Anna Westin Act, was introduced to Congress in 2015. It is currently in a House subcommittee. Westin’s bill would accomplish three things: train health professionals on how to appropriately identify eating disorders, make insurance companies cover eating disorders in the same manner as other mental health disorders, and finally require a federal study into whether or not the government should regulate the photoshopped images used in today’s advertisements. Continue reading “We Need Insurance Coverage for Eating Disorder Treatment”→
Many ballet dancers around the world are rehearsing for The Nutcracker, a famous Tchaikovsky ballet that companies perform around Christmas time. These dancers spend hundreds of hours in rehearsals perfecting their movements for the
special performance. For some of these dancers, one concern lingers in their mind: not being thin enough.
A lot of ballet dancers struggle with their body image. The unspoken rule is that a good ballerina is supposed to be thin, in order to be picked up by a professional company. Several ballet dancers overwork their bodies and starve themselves to look thinner. This habit is dangerous physically and emotionally. It needs to be addressed.
My eyes lost their brightness in that January, when the dark and the cold wrapped themselves around the city where I lived then, when the snow settled into every available crevice and muffled every sound. It turns into an easy story to tell in retrospect – I stopped loving myself, I stopped feeding myself, and the weight disappeared, gone, the last light of day sliding down the horizon and sinking into the black winter night.
My ribs held an emptiness, a dark thing crouched with its fingers wrapped around the bone, a hollowness that was more alive than its host. Those ribs were counted under my fingers as were all the bones in my body, my hands reaching around my back to feel my spine, sliding over my nearly translucent skin and gripping the sharp edges of my hip bones. It is miraculous what people won’t notice. I was the only one who bothered to study myself, to trace the blue veins appearing in my wrists and temples like rivers, moving, but with something that was barely life – that sickness that lived, caged in my body, was pulling me deeper into it with each of my heartbeats.
The numbers didn’t matter when I was starving. The numbers – statistics, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, the days I’d gone without touching food – slipped off of me as quickly as they were thrown at me, the words clattering against my bones and falling to the ground, meaningless. All I had been taught was numbers, all I had been given was the knowledge that I wasn’t supposed to compare myself to the women in the magazines. I wasn’t. They didn’t matter. No one taught me the power of desperation for control, the pleasure that comes from counting the minutes between bites of food, stretching that time out as far as you can make it go until you come too close to the edge, until you snap. No one taught me that this obsession with control could lead to so much denial that even when my size zero jeans stopped fitting, I wouldn’t admit I had a problem. I concealed my shoulder blades beneath my leather jackets and lined my eyes in heavy makeup to distract from the dullness of a blue that seemed to be fading out to gray. Don’t I look the same as I always did?