Didn’t You Know? Only White Teenage Girls Get Eating Disorders.

Didn’t You Know? Only White Teenage Girls Get Eating Disorders.

Eating disorders solely manifest themselves in to the minds and bodies of teenage girls in the same way breast cancer only affects women over 55.

You see, eating disorders only pose a threat to the young and impressionable, because teenage girls are unique in that they experience pressures, stress and events other people simply do not. They are teenage girls, so the way they react to external factors and internal biological variants is naturally to develop an eating disorder. That’s just how it works.

Only, it isn’t.

Eating disorders don’t seek out white teenagers with low self esteem. They instead can slither their way into the lives, minds and bodies of, well, just about anyone. And to propose that it only affects a specific quota is ridiculous. The BBC have released a report which reveals the increase in middle aged women developing anorexia; it can be read here.

The common cold doesn’t only affect the elderly.

Leukemia doesn’t only affect children.

Autism doesn’t only affect males.

Eating disorders are illnesses and illnesses can affect anyone.

Why is it important to realise this, especially regarding eating disorders?

Because if you don’t match the criteria for a ‘typical’ eating disorder sufferer -female/ young- a whole host of issues arise:

  • You’re probably less likely to seek help for a ‘girl’s illness’ or a ‘young person’s illness’
  • Your friends and family are less likely to notice the warning signs
  • Potentially, you’re less likely to get help
  • You may not be taken seriously by friends, family, colleagues, even medical staff
  • You might not get effective treatment: far more research has gone into females with EDs than males, for example

Whoever you are, no matter your gender, age, religion, you deserve to seek and receive help for any illness. The more we chip away at these stereotypes, the easier it becomes for people from all walks of life to get help.

Eating disorders are as diverse as the people they affect.

There are a number of diagnoses one can receive, all coming under the banner of eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), Purging Disorder, Night Eating Syndrome…

Our relationship with food is vast and varied but despite the above list, I am more inclined to believe that eating disorders, actually, cannot be classified into such rigid boxes.

No two eating disorders are the same, behaviours can manifest themselves differently, weight doesn’t have to be sub- 18.5, some sufferers function day to day very well, others do not.

Think about everything you were ever told about eating disorders and challenge it. Look to the people who suffer, ask the families of those who have been through it and read, read, read the experiences of those who are battling through and indeed those who have come out the other side.

Eating disorders are illnesses and illnesses do not discriminate.

~ Alee

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