Jaded by the eating disorder

Noelle Pennyman

My hall director sent a letter to residents saying someone was suspected of bulimia. The letter started out stating it was a serious situation and anyone who suspects someone of bulimia should get them help. The end of the letter said anyone who is vomiting should do it in privacy, not in public places.

After a couple of months, the hall staff put signs in the laundry room saying in bold letters that bodily fluids should not go into the trash cans.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the staff supposed to show complete support and caution in these kinds of situations?

With the current trend of models and actresses suffering from eating disorders, people are becoming more jaded. A lot of people don’t seem to care or believe that eating disorders are real with consequences.

I admit that I thought people who had eating disorders were milking it a little. I always wished that an eating disorder would be my only problem. I would say “Well at least they’re skinny.”

Now, after seeing the HBO special “Thin,” I realized that people would rather die than gain weight. Four women were documented in a treatment facility.

The main participant in ignoring the severity of eating disorders is the media. The same vehicle that sends the message that “thin is in” is the same one who condemns those who go to severe lengths to abide by the message.

Granted, the media are not the main reason men, women and yes, children begin to have eating disorders, but they surely don’t help.

In the Renfrew Center Foundation’s Eating Disorders 101 Guide, nearly 24 million people in the United States are affected by eating disorders. Nearly half of all Americans know someone personally who has an eating disorder.

The repercussions of the hypocritical message are now being seen with the debate of waif-like models. The first to ban overly thin models was the organizers of the Madrid Fashion Week in September.

CNN.com reported that the organizers decided on the ban because girls and young women were beginning to copy the thin models, which led to developing eating disorders.

While eating disorders can be hard to understand by those who have never had one, they still deserve the same amount of understanding as any addiction. Crack and heroine addicts are seen as sufferers who can’t seem to kick the habit, but those with an eating disorder are seen as cry babies.

The double-edge sword of society is skewed.

One would think that the reason the “suspect” threw up in such a public place would be a cry for help. Instead it’s seen as a disgusting act that should be done in private.

That message is the grand scheme of the American society. We want you to be and look a certain way by whatever means. But if the means are not socially acceptable, then do it in private please.

Noelle Pennyman is a junior public relations major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].