“No, I would never want her body. She’s in shape but she is way too muscly.”
Almost a year has passed since I delivered my talk to NEDIC on the link between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and eating disorders. In that time more research has come out to support this surprising overlap between these seemingly distinct disorders. In August 2013, Simon Baron-Cohen and his team at the Autism Research Centre published a study that examined the cognitive profile of 66 teenage women with anorexia. Compared to their peers, women with anorexia had elevated autistic traits, reduced empathy and high levels of systemizing thinking.
When I was in grade four it was mandatory to be in the choir. Although I was no "diva" I enjoyed the camaraderie of the choir and felt participation was what mattered most. However, moments before a special performance, the music teacher pulled me aside and directed me not to sing: “Sarah, why don’t you try to lip sing for this concert.” This experience greatly affected my ability to find my voice and to express myself.
Bullying is something that is happening all around us on a daily basis. It comes in various forms such as cyber, verbal, physical and emotional. To break things down even further, weight has become a leading cause for these forms of bullying to take place. Weight based victimization is happening more and more in today’s youth, with the picture of ‘ideal’ women and men stuck in their heads. It is important that we take a look at this pressing issue as it is not only affecting the emotional and mental health of the victims, but can also affect physical health (e.g., through binge eating).
As a personal trainer I spend a minimum of 30 hours in a gym every week. People of all different fitness levels, abilities, and body types surround me. Unfortunately, my industry is one that is often driven by a certain set of stereotypes around what fitness is. Magazines, posters, and commercials of fitness models drive a message that being fit and having a very certain look go hand in hand.
When someone dies as a result of bullying, as in the cases of Reetah Parsons, Amanda Todd and Jamie Hubley, there is an appropriate outcry in the media. At the same time, in the same media, there are many stories of how Kate Middleton hasn’t lost her ‘baby bump’ two minutes after giving birth; that Jennifer Lawrence has ‘cellulite’, and so on. It’s rare for us to see the connection between the frequent body-shaming in the media with the more overt bullying that happens in the schoolyard, social media and in the workplace.
In part 1 of this blog, the bad and ugly side of the Instagram-body image debate was explored, and the main issue addressed was the recent trend of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia support groups emerging among Instagram users. This is a problem because these users are reinforcing each other’s harmful behaviors through “likes” and comments on “thinspiration” pictures and in doing this they are normalizing disordered eating.
Take a picture.
Choose a digital filter.
Write a caption.
At times when I was very ill, I made every effort to avoid food. It was normal to throw it out or lie to my friends and family about having eaten, However this was against my personal values. I would have never imagined that I would throw food out when there were people in the world who couldn’t find food to eat. I never thought I would lie to my loved ones! Yet, here I was, doing these things. Why? What was happening to me?
At the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), we know that talking saves lives. That's why we're raising our voices in promoting awareness of eating disorders for EDAW 2014 - February 2 - 8.
Here are our updates and activities for EDAW 2014:
Our goal is to reduce the prevalence of anorexia, bulimia, dieting and body image problems through a public education program examining the cultural, psychological and biological factors influencing their development.