Katie Couric’s new talk show tackles the serious issue of eating disorders in America with her September 24 episode featuring Demi Lovato.
The star, singer, and host of X Factor tells Couric her personal story of her rise to fame and how, along with it, she developed an eating disorder that almost killed her. Lovato speaks out against our culture’s obsession with thinness and body image by explaining how she defeated her demon before it spiraled out of control. (more…)
Coming this fall, the world will see that Disney went on a diet. Well, not really, but classic Disney characters will be seen in a brand new role as skinny runway fashion models.
Disney has partnered with Barney’s Department store for their 2012 holiday campaign called “Electric Holiday.” Rina Raphael of TODAY reported on this story on Today’s “Look.” The ads will highlight the classic Disney characters like Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Daisy Duck. The campaign is also intended to be a reflection of Disneyland’s famous Electric Parade.
The visuals of the Barney’s ads portray the characters as runway models. As the creative director and team began fitting the toons into the high-end couture clothing, they ran into a problem: Minnie and her friends did not wear the animated clothes well in their round physiques. The solution was to elongate and change the shapes of the classic characters. Now, images of a very slender Minnie Mouse and friends are causing quite a stir. Some are even saying Minnie looks anorexic.
Oh my – what is the right response to this? Shame the creators who took our beloved round-figured cartoons and turned them into an impossibly thin model? Or, do we just go with it and not worry because they’re just drawings? Is this reinforcing negative images of beauty to our young children, especially young girls? Is Minnie now the new bad role model? (more…)
If you want to talk about a touchy subject, bring up the term “anorexia” and eyebrows will quickly raise and the room will become uncomfortably quiet. The reality is, there’s a relatively high chance that someone you know has either privately or publicly struggled with an eating disorder. Because so many remain private in their dealings with disorders like anorexia, pro-anorexia or ‘pro-ana websites‘ that provide resources and support – two terms used loosely and subjectively in this context – have become a big presence online, and a big problem from a mental health standpoint.
Bailey, 29 (who wished to leave her last name anonymous), became anorexic when she was 17, but had always struggled with self image growing up. Though she was never overweight, she felt uncomfortable in her athletic body so she started to severely restrict her diet. Bailey’s 5 foot 6 frame shrunk from 135 pounds to 105 pounds, whittling her hourglass shape to one that she describes as looking “very sick.”
Knowing she needed help after nearly skimming 100 pounds, Bailey sought treatment, which ultimately turned out to be a disappointment. “I found therapy frustrating because it was focused around getting me back up to weight, not why I was doing these things,” she recalls. “I can’t say for sure what healed me, but I believe it was…realizing that I was all I had, so I had to take care of me.”
Now, years later and on the other side of anorexia, Bailey can easily say that pro-anorexia sites do very little good, if any, to actually stem anorexia. “In my opinion, they teach people to be better anorexics – which isn’t a good thing,” she said. What I needed was strengths counseling – a safe arena in which to air my feelings, and support to retrain myself to eat for a healthy life, not an imaginary body.”
As for whether or not she’s fully recovered from anorexia, Bailey said it’s been a process that she thinks may never end. “I still struggle with this at times, and it’s still tough,” she admits. “I don’t think it’s a disease that anyone ever ‘gets over.’ They just have ‘more ordered eating’ than ‘disordered eating.'” (more…)
Dr. Oz ditches all his surprising tips for health and fun animations for a very serious topic. The Dr. Oz Show will be interviewing anorexic women who are on the brink of death in today’s episode, “ Women take drastic measures to be thin.”
Dr. Oz will be interviewing a 31-year-old woman who weighs 73 pounds and survives by a feeding tube. The doctor will also hear her husband’s plea for help as the two try to lead her out of anorexia.
Dr. Oz will also speak with a woman who has turned to anorexia as a method to lose the weight she does need to lose. She has currently lost 70 pounds through anorexia and admits, “I need to lose weight and this is working.” (more…)
Tracey Gold is a well known Hollywood name. She’s known for he long time role on the series Growing Pains but she’s almost just as well known for her public battle with anorexia. Gold was one of the first celebrities to go public with her disease in the 90’s and since has been an advocate for educating people about eating disorders. Taking that role to another level, Gold has recently debuted a show on Lifetime titled Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold. In the unscripted series, Gold works one-on-one with women struggling with eating disorders. The show is aimed at helping these women who are in life threatening situations, however, criticism has risen. Many fear that Starving Secrets, and shows like them, may do more harm than good.
In the dark world of eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, there seem to be a lot of secrets. The patients who struggle tend to be very reclusive and hidden. They basically have to be, because if the world saw what they were doing, someone might try and stop it. Critics fear that the show will provide more secrets for the afflicted to use, almost as if the show will become a new guide book or manual to further their disease. Professionals fear that while the show truly wants to help, it may inadvertently trigger viewers or even challenge those struggling to get competitive. For example, if the woman on the show is only eating 800 calories a day, the viewer may strive to only eat 500. Eating disorders are tricky and it’s very debatable what will help and what will hurt.
Brooke Randolph, a licensed mental health counselor, shared her thoughts about the show.“I agree with the other experts who are concerned that this may pose more danger than potential good. Those who suffer from eating disorders are often looking for new tactics and ideas to help them lose weight. The road to recovery is long and complicated, and it cannot be fully displayed in a single episode or even season. Ms. Gold likely wants to help others feel less alone in their suffering and make a difference to as many as she can. Unfortunately, like so many endeavors, the best of intentions can actually cause more harm than good.”