I have been toying with whether or not to write this post, not because I have a dearth of opinions on this article, but because it is so repulsive that frankly, I don’t think their web site deserves any more site traffic. However, the fact that there are people out there that write and believe this haunts me. I feel as if I cannot let these claims go. So here goes an extremely pissed off reaction to this despicable article.
My first thoughts on reading the title, “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder,” was, “This has to be a joke,” and then, after reading the full thing, “Low, dude, low.” My gut reaction was hardly one of empathy. I wanted to strangle the shit of out this person and sentence him to a life sentence of life in an eating disorder treatment center, and honestly, I’m still struggling with those urges (I’m joking… about the strangling part. Not the treatment center part. He totally deserves that).
He had me disgusted at the picture of the girl throwing up in the toilet on the top of the article. Or maybe with the tag line, “Nothing screams white-girl problems louder than a good old-fashioned eating disorder” (proceeding to say that for the article, he would exclude certain eating disorders and that he was not counting “fatties without self-control”).
But like a train wreck, or like a reunion show of The Real Housewives, he kept going. According to the writer, a girl with an eating disorder is advantageous as a partner because her obsession with her body will improve her overall looks, she costs less money, she is fragile and vulnerable, she probably has money of her own, and she’s better in bed. Part of me doesn’t even want to respond to the absurdity of what he is saying. He is speaking out of misogyny, overt sexism, elitism, privilege, and a phobia/ fear of fat. His article demonstrates the objectification and violation of a vulnerable population and condones abusive behavior. I could also go on and on about how people with eating disorders are not all rich, nor do they look like they have an eating disorder (whatever that means), nor are they necessarily white, nor are they necessarily female, nor are they necessarily homosexual. Nor will I dispute his blatantly ridiculous claims such as, “It’s a well-known fact that crazy girls are exceptional in the sack.”
I will look at it from a more personal lens. As a survivor of anorexia, I am absolutely repulsed and insulted by pretty much every word of this. First of all, the very premise of the article is offensive to me. People with eating disorders shouldn’t be objectified as “today’s best-buy in the West’s rapidly plummeting dating market.” I think people with eating disorders are pretty awesome people, and I think a guy would be lucky to date one of us, but we are not just sitting with our Melba Toast waiting for some asshole “Prince” to take us out to dinner so we can order salad. I don’t know what fucked up planet this guy is on on which he thinks that these things are options for him and anyone else.
Clearly this author has no idea what an eating disorder really is, and if he does and is writing these things, he needs empathy classes. Or, as suggested earlier, a sentence to a diet of Ensure and group therapy in residential treatment.
An eating disorder means spending your life with one foot in this world and one in the dead. An eating disorder means going to sleep not knowing if your heart will keep beating into the morning. As for the whole she spends less money thing? An eating disorder often means getting in debt because you spend so much money on binge food. And 4 coffees and sugar free jello and all organic food and tons of fruits and vegetables? Also expensive. An eating disorder means selling your soul. There is nothing sexy about that. Eating disorders are tragic.
The author says that an eating disorder is only good if it “hasn’t excessively marred her appearance.” Well, guess what, when you’re in the thrust of an eating disorder, you don’t care about your appearance. Your hair is falling out? Your stomach doesn’t function? You have hair on your skin? Your cheeks are bloated? Whatever. When you are at that point, at the point of no return, nothing matters anymore. And if it doesn’t matter, you still can’t stop. You can no longer remember why you are doing this all in the first place. It’s not like you can choose for your eating disorder to control you until a certain point, until you start getting “ugly”. It doesn’t work like that. I’ve often heard that the best anorexic is dead. That’s where eating disorders stop. The grave.
As one comment on the original post said, if someone was to write an article, “5 Reasons to Date Someone with Cancer,” and have those be the reasons, that would be seen as absolutely vile, disgusting, and be taken down. What this person doesn’t understand is that eating disorders are DISORDERS. It can take over your life. It can consume you. And, it can kill you. Even if this author was joking, to joke about this subject is not funny. It is insensitive and offensive.
To the men in the world, I don’t want you to date me or anyone else because I am “fragile or vulnerable,” because I have “daddy issues,” or because I’ll spend less of your money at a restaurant. I want you to date me because I’m me. I want you to date me regardless of any issues I have had or have or will have. I want that for everyone else as well. I think of the little girls in the world and how disgusting it is that one of them would end up with some sexist asshole like this someday. It breaks my heart.
We all deserve more than this. I have been impressed by several articles that have been written against this article, including ones by the Huffington Post and NEDA. I have appreciated the public outcry over this article on social media. I agree with the Huffington Post, that this article shows us how completely vile the internet can be.
However, I think it goes deeper than this. The cultural obsession with thinness penetrates deeper than misogynist bloggers. It relates to an idea that was exemplified in this post, which is a girl’s reaction to someone who wanted “a little bit” of her eating disorder. Many people idealize the idea of an eating disorder, especially anorexia, as meeting the cultural ideal. Sometimes they don’t admit it so blatantly, but it is still a passing flicker in their minds. The Return of Kings article is extreme, but it begs us all to look at our cultural biases and where we might oppress others because of weight. Wanting to date someone with an eating disorder because she is fragile and good in bed is bad. BUT someone desiring to have “a little bit” of an eating disorder, or spending a lifetime trying to fit the elusive cultural idea, those things are bad too. More than that, all of it is heartbreaking.
Like the Huffington Post article says, the internet will continue being crazy, but the issue for us is how to react. I am writing to stand in solidarity with those whose voices are not being heard. I am writing in response to blatant lies and because to the deep of my core, I have been offended and disgusted.
We all deserve better than this. My friends deserve better than this. My future daughter deserves better than this. My cats deserve better than this. Pretty much everyone and everything in the entire world deserve better than this.