People, People, People…

Written by Emma on October 16th, 2006

I think it’s interesting how many articles of the public jump so quickly to blaming anorexia and bulimia on advertising and fashion. Now, I’m not going to say that ads and fashion are blame-free as far as self-image problems in today’s world, but I really think that so many articles miss some main reasons.

One thing I was always told about anorexia and bulimia is that it’s a control issue. The person doesn’t feel they have enough control in their lives, so they take control over their bodies and their weight, feeling pride in having control over something. Maybe this is the case for some, but from what I’ve seen (and though my experience is by no means extensive, I’ve ducked into these dark corners many times over the last four or five years) anorexics and bulimics coldly celebrate in the lack of control they have over their condition.

If you look through pro-’ana and mia’ website and xangas there’s a common theme of being completely out of control to ‘Ana’ or ‘Mia’. It’s sadly said, with tones of despair and helplessness, but reading it, you know it’s that kind of hurt and pain that comes with that full-heart feeling, that good feeling, that nothing is your fault anymore, that you can’t do anything about anything anymore. It’s a comforting feeling, because all you can do is give in and give up. Your life is no longer yours, so you can no longer be held accountable.

Obviously anorexia and bulimia are also linked to huge self-confidence problems. Many sites I have seen blatantly invite (even encourage) visitors to ‘walk all over’ them. Again, many are going to turn to ads/fashion to how they got these self-image problems, but I think it’s too far simplifying the picture. While ads/fashion may play a part, and maybe it is key, it’s more than just that, much more. My primary guess is something in the family. Doesn’t have to be a bad family – a mother who tells you to diet, an alcoholic father (though that’s definitely going to lead to it, too). Just a family where something isn’t quite right. Kids are fragile, so very fragile. Maybe there’s just a few too many arguments. Maybe just a few too many times the less-achieving kid was compared to the other sibling. It seems so small, nothing that should last (‘toughen up!), but it does. Kids save it up, bit by bit, and dole it out on themselves.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I just wanted to make a generic post on what I’ve seen today in my wanderings. And point out that I think we jump too quickly to ads/fashion as the source of anorexia and bulimia. It’s an easy culprit. Faceless, large, corporate controlled. (If it wasn’t for them) Nice to imagine that if we could just change some policies in some modeling agencies we’d solve the problem. But honestly, it’s not ‘fashion’ these girls (and guys) are after. They’re after acceptance, solutions, escape, ablution, and self-punishment.

The thing that always bugged (infuriated) me the most about anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and other things of such nature is the blatant denial that anyone matters but themselves. They crow ‘Well, I never asked for anyone to care about me!’ in defense, and to that, I say tough. You never asked gravity to pull you down, either, but it does, so plan your actions accordingly. People are going to care. People are going to hurt. People are going to spend money and time on you, change plans and dynamics for you, whether you like it or not. People are going to spend love on you, spend care on you, spend tears on you, and spend worry on you. Even if they try not to, they can’t help it. They’re condemned to loving you forever. So instead of looking at your actions from a selfish, one-sided perspective, think to yourself, ‘do these people really deserve the hurt I’m about to deliver?’

Anyway, that’s all for now. Just a ramble.

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