The Portrayal of Eating Disorders

It’s almost a year since I left treatment and I honestly could never have imagined making it this far, but boy am I grateful. I was at an appointment with my therapist today when we started talking about portrayal and understanding of eating disorders. She mentioned that there was a new movie coming out on Netflix called To the Bone. Well, obviously I had to know what this was about! The very first article that popped up was titled “Is Netflix’s new movie To the Bone glorifying eating disorders?” I clicked on the trailer and started sobbing. This movie, I thought, is going to be amazing. For the lucky people that don’t suffer from eating disorders, it is impossible to understand what an eating disorder is, what goes on in the mind and body of a victim, and why treatment is so dang hard. Granted, I have not seen the movie in its entirety but eating disorders NEED to be talked about. The world needs to understand what an eating disorder is so they know how to love and support one another. An eating disorder does not just affect the person suffering directly, but it affects everyone involved in that person’s life. So to answer the article’s question, no, this movie is not glorifying eating disorders, rather, it is working to stop the glorification of them. In the media, people see the assumed “positives” of having an eating disorder (I use that term lightly as there aren’t any) – the abs, the thigh gap, the defined cheek bones – things the media use to portray strength and beauty, but are really signs of death and decay. This movie shows the reality of an eating disorder. The constant, 24/7, never-ending (I realize these are all the same words, it’s just emphasis) voice in your head telling you are unworthy; unworthy of love, self-love, happiness, the basics of life (food), or even life. It is the everyday battle against yourself because you cannot see your enemy as you are fighting another being inside of you. It is the deprivation of your ability to speak, think, breathe, and live as your body breaks down from the inside out and outside in. I look back on my life not really knowing if I’ve lived or not. I feel fortunate because I was able to recover at a young age and therefore I have a life to live ahead. So much of my life, or at least the time that I can remember, has been consumed by fear, self-hate, self-harm, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Honestly, that SUCKS! I look back at pictures of me as a child and crave that innocence that I once knew; the capability to eat a piece of cake without knowing every single ingredient and each nutrition fact to the decimal. So to wrap up this entry, no, this movie is not glorifying eating disorders, rather it is showing the demon that they truly are. We can’t let men, women, girls, boys, young or old, straight or not, black or white suffer alone and in silence. So it’s time to know what an eating disorder is and NOT by experiencing it yourself.

8 thoughts on “The Portrayal of Eating Disorders

  1. Cynthia Crass

    Hi Shae – I recently read a novel about an eating disorder – “The Food of Love” by Amanda Prowse. While not the greatest book in terms of writing, it definitely gave an unflinching view of the disease in terms of the person at the center as well as the people around them. Not glorifying. Sort of skipped over the difficulties/specifics of recovery, but an interesting read, nonetheless.

    Proud of you for sharing your journey with so many. I’m sure you are making a difference.

    1. Post author

      i have not heard of that book but i will definitely look at it! thank you so much for everything ! love you always


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