Seriously on the pictures, folks. . .
This is a personal rant. Again. Concerning Facebook. Again. Concerning pictures. Again.
So after my last entry on pictures, bemoaning the plethora of albums chronicling weight loss or celebrating being in treatment, there seems to be an increase in them today. Or maybe I’m just sensitive to them.
Today, as I wrote in my previous post, is To Write Love on Her Arms day. You write “LOVE” on your arm. Hopefully people ask questions. Hopefully there is education and awareness involved.
There have also been pictures involved. Oh, not just of an arm with “LOVE” on it.
Pictures of the “eating disorder look at me and please comment” type. What do I mean, in case you are confused?
- pulling the shoulders in and allowed the chest to cave so the shoulders to make those collarbones stick out more.
- Holding the arms so that the thinnest part is accentuated
- sucking in your cheeks
- Body shots take from above, elongating the body and making you appear thinner
- tank tops. in cold ass weather. but what a way to show the clavicles.
- short shirts that show just how much you have to cinch your belt
Don’t think we don’t notice. Don’t think it’s not obvious what you are trying to do: make yourself appear thinner than you are. Why? So then you can feel worthy of having this label called an eating disorder. Because, after all, only the thin deserve it, right? Only the thinnest are the sickest, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
A) Why do I have a list of people who have died from an eating disorder that weren’t emaciated when it happened?
B) How do you think these pictures make people feel who have an eating disorder but aren’t underweight? There’s often a rift between anorexics and bulimics because of this. People who aren’t “thin enough” often don’t feel they deserve to be in treatment. These pictures reinforce that rift.
C) How exactly do you think these pictures make other people feel? Do you honestly think it makes them feel good about themselves? I’ll be blunt: it makes them feel like shit. Eating disorders bring out the competitive nature in too many people, and combine that with the fact that few of us actually see our body as it really is, what do we get but, “I’m not as thin as she is.” It’s the inevitable self-condemning thought that could spiral someone into self-hatred for never being that thin or that sick and bamm those thoughts of relapse come sneaking back in.
D) How the hell are other people supposed to respond? There are no safe answers. ”Oh, honey, you look so thin, I’m worried about you. Love you.” Yup. All that does is tell the person posting the pictures Yes, I’m winning. I look thin. yeah, well what a game to play when the prize is death. And if you say, “You look like shit. Get help,” you’ll get the same response. There are no safe comments on the way people look when they are struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder. How many “what to do if your friend has an eating disorder” sheets need to say that before we, including those with eating disorders get the point?
There is a difference between posting pictures of you taking part in life and not posing for the camera to highlight your thinnest areas and those pictures taken in the privacy of your bedroom, set up specifically to make you look thinner. And then posting them on your profile.
Do yourself a favor. Do the friends you supposedly care about a favor. Think about how harmful the effects of such pictures can be. And delete them.
Sure, you’re not responsible for another person’s relapse. We can only take responsibility for our own actions, but one of those actions is being respectful of other people’s well-being.