Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 07/6/2009
how Liz Jones didn’t defeat anorexia
Having admittedly struggled with anorexia for 40 years (she hasn’t recovered yet) Jones wrote about her attempt to eat “normally” for three weeks. What was probaby designed to be one of those cute journalistic experiments that could possibly turn into a best-selling memoir (think: I’m going to take the Bible literally) wound up being a serious cry for help from a suffering woman. Although who knows if she saw it that way.
The article is peppered with relizations like “When I stand up, I don’t see stars and black clouds. A first,” after eating regularly. Warning sign? Perhaps…
…and “Dinner? Well I’ve spent the past 30 years going to great lengths not to eat anything past seven o’clock, believing this to be a terrible sin…this can’t be good for you.” If you think certain eating patterns are on the level of eternal damnation, well, that too would be a warning sign…
…and even “It makes no sense, but I’d rather be thin than happy or healthy.”
Here we transcend past this woman merely having a problem. She knows she has a problem. This woman knows she is anorexic- she wrote this article, she mentions it. It’s not even a cry for help in the normal sense: this woman is analyzing herself, realizing her problem. She just can’t fix it.
So this is what our society has come to: anorexia is no longer a stigma. There was once a time, not so long ago, when girls with anorexia not only had to battle the implications of the disease, but battle to admit they had it at all. No — now we know when we have it, know it’s a problem. Which is good in the sense that that should make it more treatable.
Except apparently we aren’t getting help. Our solution for one unhealthy eating pattern is to solve it with another…binge eating!
Yes, Jones is so out of touch with what eating really is that her definition of normal eating means that she eats a lot of candy, cake, pastries: she carb-o-loads. And comes to the conclusion that eating “normally” makes you feel tired and lazy and fat. Well, yeah, when you consume the better part of a bakery how else are you going to feel?
I’ve read a few different conclusions made about this article, mostly about the journalistic aspect of this piece. But what I’m seeing is the evolution of anorexia and eating disorders. We’re so used to them in our society that they’ve become something livable, a viable lifestyle when in fact they are a disease. It’s become bad in the same way teen drinking has: no we shouldn’t do it, but it’s just inevitable and not really dangerous…right.
Yeah…no. It’s sad to think there are still 40-year-old women out there who have battled such a disease their entire life…and are now normalizing it. Jones merely comes to the conclusion “If now the sun is shining and you are thinking of all the ways you can ‘Get that Bikini Body,’ entering the endless cycle of guilt and recrimination, then DON’T. Because you never know if you will be able to stop.”
Maybe there are some people so affected by the dumb ass standards of our society that they will never be able to break free from their terrible relationships with food and their bodies. All I can say is this: we need to make sure anorexia doesn’t just become another part of our society. It’s not healthy and it’s not okay.
Also, be happy with yourself. The bodies you see advertised around you are like what .01% of the global population looks like. You are beautiful. And I know how hard that can be to believe sometimes, no matter what you actually look like, but it’s true. And it is always worth it to let all the girls/women in your life know it, too.
Maybe that sounds lame. But I’m pretty sure you know it, too.
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