By VIVIAN BRAGA
It is no secret that Hollywood is an image-based industry and consequently a home to a large community of disordered eaters who strongly believe their careers depend on the adherence of an unhealthy nutrition in order to have the body profile idealized by the news media and admired by the public.
“What are you going to eat once this whole thing is over?” is common red carpet correspondent joke when interviewing Hollywood’s skinniest stars. But now, as technology makes the world each day more public, we now have access to these Celebrities battle to remain thin on a daily basis and the pressures they face to have the perfect body are very great.
Stars like Mary-Kate Olsen, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Amanda Bynes have in the past year announced and renounced their constant battles with food. These “confessions” are usually perceived by the public as acts of “bravery, inspiration and power” and met with applause and admiration.
While these adjectives certainly do ring a bell, stars don’t realize that talking so openly about their eating disorders may possibly bring more harm than good.
“Our culture needs to think of thinness as a potential sign of disease,” said Dr. Marcia Herrin, founder of the Dartmouth College Eating Disorders Prevention.
She further added, “It’s interesting. Its such a mixed message that they give: I used to have an eating disorder. And usually the person who is saying it is very thin. My sense is that we just assume they all have eating disorders.”
Nowadays, stars like Adele, who portray real life beauty, are hard to find. As a society, we have arrived at a time where most of our idols and role models are unrealistically thin and we accept and also obsess over the fact that they’re all likely to be physically and mentally ill.
The news media’s affect on body image has caused severe implications on young teenage girls making them believe that in order to achieve success they must be thin. And this is when these eating disorder confessions coming from celebrities can be problematic.
Young girls watch celebrities like Demi Lovato who has publicly admitted to have dealt with anorexia and bulimia since the age of 7, skyrocket to fame and remain with a constant food battle and perceive this as “inspiring”.
For every young girl that may feel inspired to seek for help after listening to these celebrity confessions, another one could be mislead by their words and use them as an example to build their own eating disorder.
“For the person who has the kind of genetic predisposition, when they hear that story they say, ‘I knew it took an eating disorder to get there, and I’m not going to believe that you can be okay and love yourself without being that thin’”. Said Keesha Broome, licensed marriage and family therapist.
I personally believe that since these stars play such a huge role in teenage girls lives, providing support and encouragement for them to share their body insecurities and find acceptance can be empowering, motivating and is essential.
But, publicly confessing eating disorders not only make these themselves look insecure and weak but also promote a behavior that can be dangerous to young girls influenced by the media.