February 2009 Archive
Wow! What an energy packed day! Yesterday, 2-23-09 we kicked off NEDAW at the state capitol with a press briefing. I was the proud coordinator of this event, which featured several prominent voices in the eating disorder field including current AED president Judith Banker, Eating Disorder Coalition policy coordinator Kathleen MacDonald, parent advocate Iora Haglund and Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund. Statements by Kelly Klump, PhD former AED president, and event sponsor Congresswoman Rebekah Warren were also featured.
The press briefing brought attention to issues of mental health parity and eating disorders. We raised awareness regarding the lack of treatment coverage and resources in Michigan. We required the state to develop a taskforce to address these issues by developing a petition for Michigan Action on eating disorders.
I am proud to say the event was well attended by the public and the press. This is only the beginning! Look for pictures and video of the event - coming soon! And look out for more ways to continue advocating for eating disorder treatment and parity in Michigan and beyond!
In my previous post I talked about the role culture plays in the development of eating disorders.
Now, I ask what can we do? Can we change culture?
Step by step, challenging the images around us can help us change the way we respond and how these images affect us. It can challenge our perception and teach us to believe the message “Eating disorders are not fashionable.”
” A woman cannot make the culture more aware by saying “Change.” But she can change her own attitude about herself, thereby causing devaluizing projections to glance off. She does this by taking back her body. By not forsaking the joy of her natural body, but not purchasing the popular illusion that happiness is only bestowed on those of a certain configuration or age, by not waiting or holding back to do anything, and by taking back her real life, and living it full bore, all stops out. This dynamic self-acceptance and self-esteem are what begins to change attitudes in the culture.” CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTES Women Who Run with the Wolves.
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When talking about eating disorders people always ask “Do thin models CAUSE an eating disorder?” I always take a moment to reply to this one, because the answer is not easy. As is the case with so much about eating disorders the answer may vary from person to person.
In almost any case, the cause of an eating disorder is complicated. Causes are usually a “loaded gun”- personality, genetic make up, coping style, stressful events, history of being teased, trauma, the list goes on. Look at the Mindfullness Recovery kit, “What Causes an Eating Disorder” handout for more info on this.
So perhaps we can’t say magazine pictures and the way models look CAUSE an eating disorder, but they certainly don’t help. When you look at the unrealistic images (models are 95% thinner than the average American woman) you can’t help but notice the model looks different than you (or anyone you know). If you are already feeling bad or have a certain coping or personality type, this kind of disparity can contribute to wanting to lose weight. They also send messages that thinness equals success, popularity, and other desirable things. The images definitely set the stage to cope in a certain way involving food and weight. They certainly don’t help people believe there can be health at every size and they definitely DO NOT promote body acceptance!
The Dove Onslaught Video illustrates the influence the media has on how we feel by the constant messages it sends about size and appearance.
So, after reading this post and watching the video what do you think we can do as individuals and a society to combat these images? I would love to hear your thoughts and plan to provide some ideas of my own in upcoming posts!