The Promotion of Eating Disorders: 5 Reasons of Wrong

You know, I really wanted to have twelve uninterrupted days of Doctor Who posts, but no. The people of the internet have opened their mouths again, and I suddenly find myself needing to rage blog. Again.

Now, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I’m not going to agree with everyone’s opinions all the time, but I will be very hard pressed to ever flat out say someone’s opinion is wrong.

Today, I was hard pressed.

Readers, meet Tuthmosis; blogger for manly men, self-described dating culture specialist, promoter of the concept that “a woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty; a man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character,” and author of Return of Kings post “5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder”.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I grew up on the competitive dance circuit where skeletal girls are as commonplace as fake eyelashes and pointe shoes. By 12, I had seen groups of girls in bathrooms pass around toothbrushes to trip their gag reflexes, then mints to cover the stench. By 14, I had heard every trick in the book to fool your friends and family into thinking you were eating. By 16, I had watched one of my closest friends begin a struggle that would consume her life for the better part of seven years. Encouraging eating disorders in any capacity is disgusting, callous, and wrong.

His intro explains that he has dated women with eating disorders of varying intensities, and reasons that since eating disorders are “a luxury reserved for only the most privileged members of the [white] female race,” they possess socio-economic, cultural, and personality features desirable to the average American male.

Right off the bat, wrong. The cost of professional treatment ranges from $500 – $2,000 per day and most patients require 3 – 6 months for full recovery; since only 1 in 10 people suffering from eating disorders actually receive any treatment, the argument should be treatment is a luxury reserved for the privileged (South Carolina Department of Mental Health). Furthermore, rates of minorities with eating disorders are almost indistinguishable from those of white women (SCDMH), and girls living in unstable and stressful environments, such as foster care, are far more likely to develop bulimia than their traditional household counterparts (Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study). Eating disorders are classified as a mental disorder, meaning rather than being a vanity issue, the majority stem from hormonal or chemical imbalances, or as the symptom of other disorders like OCD or PTSD from sexual related trauma.

However, I suppose he’s piqued our interest. What are the reasons men should date women with eating disorders?

5.            Her obsession over her body will improve her overall look.

  • Girls who spend “inordinate mental and physical energy on her looks…are usually deft at properly dressing their bodies”
  • Long term relationships aren’t a worry because a girl with an eating disorder is, “less likely to become complacent about her physique over time”
  • “While they may have a ‘distorted body image’ on the inside, that usually means staying trim and fit on the outside”

Wrong. While they will be skinny – often painfully so – that distorted body image that he nonsensically put in quotation marks will prevent them from ever showing it off. A common sign/symptom of eating disorders is wearing ludicrously baggy clothing to hide the body they’re ashamed of. As for their overall look, in addition to being thin they can look forward to dry, acne-riddled skin that turns ashen and saggy, hair loss, chronic bad breath and tooth loss, hoarseness, and obsessive behavior that might manifest in chewing off fingernails, or tearing out eyebrows, or scratching to the point of scarring.
But hey, at least they won’t gain a few pounds as the relationship progresses.

4.            She costs less money.

  • If you go out to eat or order take-out, “your expense on her will be minimal”
  • “If you’re a hungry bastard, you can even finish off her plate”

Wrong. Although correct, he is a bastard. For one, many women suffering from eating disorders have a very fickle and territorial relationship with food. An anorexic might order a sizeable meal that will get cut and recut into smaller and smaller pieces that get pushed around the plate until they’re redistributed to the garbage. A bulimic might order a massive meal that will be devoured in its entirety, only to be brought back up in a timely manner. In either case he isn’t saving any money. In his experience, he most likely only saved money because he wasn’t around long enough to have to call an ambulance when any of his starving girlfriends went into kidney failure or cardiac arrest or attempted suicide, all of which are common occurrences in severe eating disorders (NEDA).

3.            She’s fragile and vulnerable.

  •  “An eating disorder often translates into…a girl who’s modest, fragile, and vulnerable”
  • “You’re dealing with an insecure girl who’s eager to please and wants nothing more than your validation”
  • “This level of vulnerability often brings out the best in men, whose protector instinct can’t help but awaken”

Wrong. A women suffering from an eating disorder will be fragile and vulnerable – literally. As eating disorders progress, so do the sufferers’ journeys towards osteoporosis, anemia, hypokalemia, and cerebral atrophy (NEDA). They’re giving themselves brain, bone, muscle, organ, and nerve damage, of course they’re vulnerable and fragile. Any real man with a “protector instinct” will see a very serious problem and try to get her help, not use the situation for his own twisted personal gain.

As for his sentiment that, “‘confidence’ grounded in little more than years of being told she’s a unique and special snowflake for no other reason than being female renders a woman into an insufferable turd who thinks the world revolves around her,” is a particular joy as it comes from a man who believes a woman need starve herself to be worthy to date him. Something tells me he and Matt Forney would get along quite well.

2.            Probably has money of her own.

  • “There aren’t too many poor girls with eating disorders”
  • “Her instinct to please you will translate into her picking up tabs, coming to your door not empty-handed, or buying you little gifts”

Wrong. Again, eating disorders are mental disorders that are often comorbid with depression, substance abuse and alcoholism, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few (Journal of Personality Assessment). It’s the treatment, not the disease, that’s limited to the well-off. Furthermore, most women suffering from eating disorders aren’t looking for the approval of anyone, they’re looking to gain control over their lives in the only way they can, or they aren’t looking for anything – they’re just at higher risk to develop an eating disorder because of how they’re wired.

1.            She’s better in bed.

  • “Everybody knows that crazy girls are exceptional in the sack”
  • “A girl with an eating disorder has just the right cocktail of pent-up insecurity, neuroses, and daddy issues to ensure,” for the sake of good taste, let’s just say, “[a good time]”

Wrong. While “crazy girls” may have a reputation for being good in bed, women suffering from eating disorders aren’t crazy. Insecurities and neurotic behavior may be triggers or symptoms, but they aren’t the defining characteristics. Also, reduced libido, waning stamina, and menopausal symptoms are some of the most common side effects of having an eating disorder, so good luck with the, uh, “[good times]” (The Lancet). 

I will not always agree with everyone, just as not everyone will always agree with me. However, I sincerely hope I am not the only one who thinks this is wrong. 

Ladies, you’re all brilliant the way you are. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they’re wrong. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, please don’t hesitate to seek help at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

4 responses to “The Promotion of Eating Disorders: 5 Reasons of Wrong

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