Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 06/22/2013

Saturday Vids: Pretty Little Liars “Food Horror”

Graham Kolbeins recently created this mashup of PLL scenes displaying the characters’ food issues on his blog Future Shipwreck. He says:

In ‘Food Horror,’ I set out to examine the many moments in “Pretty Little Liars’” first three seasons that stigmatize food, whether it’s presented with a feeling of unease, danger, or overt rejection….It’s important to consider cultural messaging about health, body image and beauty embedded within entertainment targeting young girls. In 2012, Internet outrage lead social networks like Tumblr and Pinterest to adopt policies censoring individuals with eating disorders from sharing “thinspiration” tips. Silencing these organic online communities is an easy way to feel like we’re addressing eating disorders, but it does nothing to fix the systemic problems that allow body shame to permeate for-profit entertainment products aimed at women.

Check out the video:

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  • Apple @ at 7:12 pm, June 22nd, 2013

    I’ve never seen this show before. So just to clarify, is the blonde girl supposed to be bulimic? I’ve rocked back and forth between bulimia and anorexia since I was 11 years old, and if the show’s writers are not saying so outright, they seem to be very heavily implying bulimia in the blonde girl’s character.
    That’s personally upsetting to me, especially if these characters are meant to be at all endearing to the viewer, because I’ve dealt with a lot of really awful consequences as a result of both disorders, but most ESPECIALLY bulimia. In the worst throes of my disorder, when the pendulating between extreme anorexia and extreme bulimia were most violent (in my late teen years) my heart seems to have suffered significant cumulative damage from the self-abuse. I started to have chest pains all the time, and somewhere along the way my heart quit beating regularly and arrhythmia became my new normal. The enamel of my teeth has deteriorated to the extent that hot and cold things are less enjoyable than they used to be and sometimes even quite painful. I’ve been to a doctor about my heart but as I was unable to relate to the nurse the honest truth about my lifestyle they naturally were unable to determine the cause of my health problems. I was only able to come out of the eating disorder closet to my family within the past few months. My recent attempts to makeover my body image and resolve my troubled eating were triggered by a documentary film called America the Beautiful that I watched with my siblings on hulu.com
    I learned some way through the film that a single binge/purge session can upset your electrolyte balance so badly that you can die. In cases where deaths occur as a result of bulimia, the bulimia is never ever cited on the individual’s death certificate. I started crying when I heard this, it was very upsetting. I had thoughts before then that my behavior was unhealthy and perhaps even despicable. I’ve often had thoughts about the problem of widespread hunger and famine and about starving children and about the homeless people I sometimes see while out with my family, I’ve thought about these things mid-purge nearly every time I purge my food and left the bathroom just HATING myself. I had never been confronted with the reality that what I was doing was that dangerous. That I was flirting with death, and really kind of killing myself in a gradual way.
    Anorexia is often cited as the deadliest mental illness, deadlier than the subsequent so many illnesses behind it combined and so on. Having lived long enough with each, I’d venture to say that at least in my own experience, I believe that bulimia is for worse for one’s health and damages the body in more violent and immediately recognizable ways.
    These behaviors and disorders should NEVER be trivialized, glamorized, dramatized, or sensationalized in the media. EVER. I’ve been trying for months to rid myself of a pattern more than ten years ongoing of habitual, daily self-abuse. Habits, no matter how ill-advised, dangerous, unpleasant, or deadly, can be extremely difficult to break. I’m currently eating in the healthiest manner I’ve been able since I can remember… Yet I have not been able to breach the maximum of 1200 calories per day that I’ve brainwashed myself into never exceeding. (900 calorie days were my average, below that number were good days, from 900-1200 I hated myself) I still occasionally purge, despite never eating more than a very low amount of calories to begin with. My health is in ongoing disrepair. This should not be encouraged, or sensationalized. This is deadly. This is painful and over time it transforms you into an insecure, bipolar insomniac, it turns you into a crazy person.
    When everyone finds out what you’ve been doing to yourself ten years down the line, lightbulbs will go off, and they’ll all have either suspected it beforehand or everything they wondered about you before will suddenly make sense, but because of the social stigma attached to these disorders they may be reluctant to offer more than verbal support. It’s hard to imagine talking with a doctor about it. The only one who knew before my family found out was my therapist, and I stopped seeing her after a year because she kept trying to corral me into medical evaluations for pysch meds, “solutions” in which I was thoroughly uninterested.

    I’m sorry for the rambling nature of my comment here but this video seriously ticks me off. I want to take all the girls about to stick their fingers down their throats all over the United States of America into my arms and forcibly prevent them from harming themselves. I want to psychically communicate how damaging and permanently harmful this insidious behavior is and I want the psychic contact to run both ways and I want to cathartically suck all of the triggering thoughts and anguish from every such girl’s heads until they have the tranquility of mind not to do this to themselves anymore. What’s WRONG with us? What’s WRONG with the society in which we live? How are the two connected? That’s what we need to sit and think seriously about.

    These images are only a drop in the proverbial ocean of hundreds of thousands of negative images provided for the consideration of young women in this country. Why is this stuff everywhere? It’s EVERYWHERE. Who is producing it? What are their motives? How can we change this environment, this sick context that girls are growing up and getting sick in?

  • NM @ at 10:09 pm, July 5th, 2013

    I understand where this post is coming from, but I don’t believe that all of the clips in the video can be used as a part of this post when they are taken out of context. I do think that the show could possibly send the wrong message with some of the scenes- but many were taken out of context for this video. Also, the blonde girl isn’t bulimic- she had insecurities about body image which were addressed within the first season, but didn’t have an eating disorder, although a friend nearly led her to have one. The show made an effort to portray that is an extremely dangerous thing, though.

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