What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating Disorders are mental illnesses in which an individual has an unhealthy relationship with food, usually resulting in an obsession with food, body size, weight, and shape This obsession can lead to serious medical, psychological and social consequences. Eating disorders can range from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge eating and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which an individual limits their caloric intake and exercises excessively, leading to extreme weight loss. Bulimia is characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating and purging, along with intense fear of gaining weight. Binge eating is similar to bulimia, in that it involves frequent episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time; however, the individual does not purge afterwards. ARFID is a relatively new eating disorder diagnosed in individuals who have an aversion to eating, usually due to a fear of food, causing them to have extreme difficulty consuming enough food to maintain a healthy weight. Eating disorders such as these can have serious physical, psychological and social implications, and should not be taken lightly.
Eating Disorders in Media Presentation
Eating disorders have been featured prominently in the media, both in television and film. The following are five of the best examples of how eating disorders have been represented in the media.
1. To the Bone (2017): This film, directed by Marti Noxon and starring Lily Collins, is a realistic portrayal of an anorexic woman’s struggles to confront her eating disorder and her journey towards recovery.
2. My Mad Fat Diary (2013): This British comedy-drama series follows the story of a teenage girl struggling with depression, an eating disorder, and her own body image.
3. Starving in Suburbia (2014): This television documentary was based on the true story of a teenaged girl suffering from anorexia and bulimia. It features interviews with medical professionals, as well as family members, who discuss the toll eating disorders can take on an individual.
4. Tiny Furniture (2010): This film, written and directed by Lena Dunham, follows the story of a young woman struggling with her own body image and her sense of identity.
5. 13 Reasons Why (2017): This Netflix series follows the story of a teenage girl who takes her own life after struggling with an eating disorder, depression and self-harm.
These films and shows provide valuable examples of how eating disorders can be represented in the media, and can help to promote awareness and conversation regarding the issue. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that require professional care, and should not be taken lightly.