...and BOTH sides are wrong...

Laura pointed out this little, um, gem of an article to everyone.

Business Week Debate Room- Anorexia: A Media-borne Illness?

One person said yes, one person said no. The sheer lack of understanding of each respondant was remarkable. And I don't know that either had a shred of background in psychology, neuroscience, or eating disorders.

Said the person who disagreed that anorexia was a media-borne illness:

Enough of this nonsensical blame game. It’s time to let personal responsibility back into the picture.

And those people with cystic fibrosis just need to take personal responsibility for their lung functioning. And people with diabetes just let their pancreas get out of control. Don't even start for the people with Down's Syndrome. They just haven't taken responsibility for their extra chromosome 21.


There have been many good (and horrific) responses to this post, including one from me, but the best is from Julie O'Toole from the Kartini Clinic.

The first medical text description of anorexia nervosa was in 1689 by Richard Morton, and it--like other human illnesses--existed before it was officially described.

Rather than worry about the effects of the media's absurd and constant portrayal of thin body size on the 1% of women (and perhaps about 0.1% men) who have anorexia nervosa. Let's worry about the effects of it on everyone else, especially children and adolescents who are just now forming their own self-image.

The current obsession with "thin" has done nothing to reduce obesity, but it has made scores of people feel bad about their own inability to attain these unrealistic (and often completely unhealthy) weights.

Why are we so concerned about what everyone looks like and so unconcerned about what everyone acts like?

Raising a toast (of milkshakes!) to some good common sense. Rock on, Dr. O'Toole.

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Ali (a.k.a. Cynical Nymph) said...

This popped up in my Google News reader, and I wasn't going to read it so as to avoid getting all righteous and angry on an otherwise laid-back Friday. I may have to cave. Reading stuff like this article is sort of like intellectual Schadenfreude. "No, can they really be that boneheaded? No way. There's NO. WAY. OMG, I have to see for myself, OMFG, THEY ARE!"

Carrie Arnold said...

All I can think is: what is this kind of story doing in Business Week?

Unless Laura had pointed it out, I probably wouldn't have bothered looking. So many of these articles have omens that say "this can't be good."

Lisa said...

I read the comments you added on the original article. Thanks for injecting some sense into the article and ensuing thread.

Ali (a.k.a. Cynical Nymph) said...

I was really encouraged (sadly) by a few fo the comments. They came from parents with ED'd kids, and you could feel the seething anger in them. Rightly so.

That's exactly what these articles' headlines exude: An omen or aura of, "No, really... you don't want to read me!... It will only anger you..."

I ended up ripping RR a new one (though briefly) on my blog. "No EDs in the '40's or '50's." Riiiight.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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