Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Eating disorder coverage has been getting better in the past few years. I’ve seen stories covering orthorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, and EDNOS, as well as some that include the oh so shocking fact that eating disorders don’t just happen to people who are skinny, and sometimes they’re not motivated by weight loss, dieting, or models.
So I was deeply unhappy to see this art series that purports to draw attention to eating disorders but is exclusively composed of skeletal Disney figures. Sure, it’s great that it includes men and women of color, but there is such a small percentage of people with eating disorders who actually look like that, whose BMIs have dropped down into the “you need to be hospitalized” realm that I can’t help but feel that it just limits our perception. Beyond that, it perpetuates the horrible, horrible idea that you can diagnose a mental illness by seeing how skinny someone is.
Newsflash: eating disorders are not defined by someone’s weight. Weight is actually one of the smallest components of diagnosis (there are lots of other criteria! And lots of different disorders! Some of which include NO weight component!)
It is not outreach or advocacy to continue to portray eating disorders in stereotyped ways. This is not helpful.
For real information on what eating disorders are and what they’re like, try NEDA, Science of Eating Disorders, or just check out my back log of blogs tagged with “eating disorders”.