I looked in the mirror today and all I could think was how fat I am. I hate my tummy, I hate that my thighs are so big, I hate that I can’t fit into the shorts I could last summer. I thought to myself, it would be so easy to stop eating. I could just eat breakfast and then drink water. Maybe if I started smoking again I could curb my appetite and lose weight. A million ideas ran through my head that I had to squash.
I’m still not healthy, my eating disorder is long and grueling and though I eat regularly, I’m not cured. This summer has been especially hard as the weight has come and more and more clothes are just too tight and I can’t close the buttons. I want to shoot new LookBooks only to discover those pants I loved so much won’t even go past my thighs.
But I’m going to stop myself there. You don’t need to hear body negativity from me, and you won’t. Instead I want to talk about this new film, To The Bone, which is going to be released on Netflix. Don’t watch it. Don’t give it a thought, it’s a overplayed, and nonsensical glamorization of eating disorders that is a load of bull. Because let me tell you something, an inpatient center for an eating disorder, is fucking expensive. I was researching and insurance can help, but who has insurance these days. Not only is it expensive, but the highest percentage of eating disorders isn’t found in cute white girls, but in women over the age of 50.
How many women over the age of 50 have the time or the money to stay in an inpatient center? My mother probably hates her body more than anyone I know. It’s hard to be in an environment where the woman you spend the most time with is constantly berating her own image. When I lived with Katie and Kalia back in college, they didn’t give a fuck. We never talked about weight, we didn’t exercise, we ate what we wanted, we didn’t even have a scale in the house. I was the most body positive I had ever been during that time in my life, and it’s all because of those two.
I’m honestly sick and tired of Hollywood’s overuse of “white manic pixie dream girl” cliche. I don’t give a shit if they’re making it realistic or have some beautiful quotations that relate to everyone with an eating disorder. Because you know what? A stay in the hospital doesn’t cure you. Years of therapy can’t cure you. I struggle every goddamn day with wanting to go back to my old weight, of 100 lbs. I would kill to be that thin again.
They’ve taken something deadly and created films using misinformation, rather than taking the time to break down the facts and figures. But have you ever seen a film where an Asian girl gets an eating disorder, doesn’t get better and dies by complications, no. White girls aren’t the only wants to get eating disorders and eating disorders don’t always get happy endings. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
According to the ANAD, 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder, but is there a movie about that? No. I’m not saying that there aren’t good films that have an accurate and teachable information about eating disorders. What I’m trying to say is that the formula for eating disorder films has changed, and we need to reflect that. Why is it so hard to have films that don’t completely disregard facts? Every gender, every ethnicity, and every age can be effected by eating disorders, yet they aren’t portrayed.
So I have a suggestion for a film about an eating disorder.
I want someone to make a movie about a transgender college student who gets a severe eating disorder while struggling to transition. I want the narration to be filled with non-beautiful language, but just honest bits of struggle, success, and failures. I want someone to write about how every time they ate food it was like choking down dirt. That every time someone told them the looked good, even though they were gaunt and pale, that it just made them want to keep working out harder, and eating less and less. Since “Bury Your Gays” seems to be a real thing though, I want this person to live. I want it to be years later and they’re staring at themselves in the mirror and think, remember when I was thin. I could just shove this toothbrush down my throat and vomit. Just once, maybe another time, just a few times. I want them to relapse. I want them to cry and yell, and cheer, and succeed. The end will be them looking at the mirror in their 50s, and starting to poke themselves as they did in their youth. As they’re about to become disheartened, their partner comes up, and hugs them from behind, kisses them on the cheek and tells them they’re beautiful.
Now that’s a fucking movie.
Basically I want all of you to reconsider watching To The Bone, and even 13 Reasons Why for glorifying mental health issues and suicide. Life isn’t a beautiful monologue that can be cured with some therapy and a good cry. It’s a lifelong battle, that many people struggle with. Always remember that people have their own mental health struggles, and being understanding is all you can do. Being supportive and listening and trying to help is great, but it’s always an individual battle, and one you can lose. Let’s change the conversations about eating disorders, let’s be an inclusive community of supporters. Anyone know someone in Hollywood? Let’s get in there and make some accurate movies.