With the approach of Eating Disorders Awareness Week at my university, I find I am increasingly disappointed in what the school has planned. I was part of the planning and I fought for what I thought was best but I lost. So now the school has a whole bunch of stuff planned about body image and society’s impact. Firstly that is NOT what at least half of eating disorders are about. They are so much more than what we look like. They are about control, insecurity, self hate, fear, self punishment. Yes sometimes they start out as diets and have to do with body image but they are so much more than that.
I’m really disappointed in all this focus on the media and society when talking about eating disorders. Yes the media and society are broken, but what about the victims? How do we help those actually suffering? This top down approach of criticizing the media will never reach those of us affected. Talking about society’s flaws will not inspire us to eat our next meal or to keep it down. We need to hear from survivors. We need to hear that recovery is possible. We need open and honest conversations between people about our struggles, not an analytical half-relevant approach. We need to take back EDAW. Let’s put the focus back on the survivors and the sufferers, not society. We need to talk about what it’s like, about how we got here and about how to get better. We need to bring it back to the human level. That’s how change is enacted. That’s how we can get the message of our pain and of recovery across.