Posts Tagged ‘news’

Ignorance and irresponsibility

Monday, January 10th, 2011

This month’s Grazia suggests that the ‘on/off’ diet, otherwise known as ‘Alternate Day Fasting’, is the perfect solution for those who find staying on a diet a mission, and following a “month of mince pies”.

It proposes 400 calories on ‘on’ days, and a modest amount on those in between.

It was my understanding that the brain needs about 500 calories a day to function.

This leaves us 100 calories short.

The article left me cold.

It left me cold because it normalises and endorses eating patterns that verge on starvation; and, in the act of doing so, infers that our appearance is more important than our selves -

Just like the guy on Twitter.

Over the past few days, an irresponsible and deeply unpleasant tweeter has been posting updates about managed anorexia and size zero. It’s created a frenzy of anger and, slightly more positively, a flurry of body positive counter-tweets – but neither have really taken the edge off how disturbing this is.

There is no such thing as managed anorexia. Eating disorders spiral and constrict and smother and, ultimately, kill.

It has been a while since I have written about eating disorders in a more general sense, or in response to news articles. I have, perhaps, been overly aware that I might not be the most objective commentator and a little less courageous about sharing my opinions than I might like. I have also been conscious that controversy attracts attention, and there is a fine line between entering a discussion with a purpose – and playing straight into someone’s game. I hope that this post does not fall into the latter – only the depth of my unease in relation to the article, and the tweet stream, has left me feeling like I don’t have a voice. The conversation is almost not worth engaging in – and yet, the message is so dangerous that the other side must be heard –

Because advocating a 400 calorie diet is utterly irresponsible, and any promotion of anorexia demonstrates an ignorance that negates the experiences of those suffering, whilst causing untold harm to those who are vulnerable enough to take on board the rubbish that is being said.

I am not sure what the solution is. I am almost more scared by the fact that a mainstream magazine shows such little accountability than that one disturbed individual is causing outrage on Twitter. At least in this forum, there are people who are standing up against him –

There is no one challenging Grazia’s message or how it is being interpreted in people’s heads.