Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Understanding Eating Disorders: Moving Beyond the Basic


It's been a minute, you know the deal.

I read this great article at about eating disorders (it's nat'l eating disorder month) and how we should address them. The author, Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, explains that by viewing negative body image as a factor instead of a symptom of EDs we ignore the fact that an ED is, in fact, a mental illness. If we accept that poor body image is a driving force for developing an ED then we assume that if we diversify dominant cultural images of bodies then we end EDs. Eh, not so simple....

If we realize that EDs are a mental illness and not because you played with Barbie for a little too long then we have to look at a broader range of causes i.e. DEPRESSION, stress and your cultural as well as home environments. These are the three main factors that contribute to developing an eating disorders. Don't get me wrong, negative body image is most definitely in the picture-- but it has received too much of the focus.

For all us Colored Folk:

Some of you might be thinking, "phst. that's a white girl thing...'
Phst. No it's not. I know plenty of women of color who have eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa. And that deserves more acknowledgment! I also know plenty of women who OVEREAT in an attempt to self-medicate their depression and quell their loneliness and isolation. I would count binge eating and overeating as eating disorders...

What do all of you think? Do you think that women of color suffer from 'eating problems' as much as our white sisters?

Chime in Folks!

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