Bulimia · Eating Disorders in the Media

“What does someone with an Eating Disorder look like to you?” The Media’s Portrayal on the Image of Eating Disorders

“What does someone with an Eating Disorder look like to you?”

eating disorder portrayal, what an eating disorder looks like, eating disorders in the media, anorexia, bulimia
You Don’t Have to LOOK Like You Have an Eating Disorder to Have One

A little too early last Sunday morning, I had a caffeine-fueled conversation with my “always-the-most-irritating” brother about Eating Disorders in The Media.  It began as a recollection of my last residential treatment stay at Walden Eating Disorder Care. The conversation took a turn when my brother made an observation that struck a nerve.

Brother dearest indicated that… most of the residents who I was in treatment with didn’t “LOOK like” they had an eating disorder. Of course, as much as he is irritating, my brother is also one of the kindest and most compassionate people I know.

This statement was simply a naïve and quite unfortunate perception on the physical appearance of someone suffering from an Eating Disorder. 

Even more unfortunate, are the Eating Disorder questions at hand…

  1. How common is this physical perception of eating disorders found in the real world?
  2. How mainstream are Eating Disorders as Mental Illnesses, compared to other mental disorders, such as BiPolar or Depression?
  3. Is mainstream media educated enough to know that you cannot diagnose a Mental Illness based on one’s appearance?
  4. And if they are in fact “educated enough,” then WHY do they still believe that an Eating Disorder is diagnosed by appearance?

On Sunday afternoon, September 5th, 2016, I was eager to get answers. I stood outside of Whole Foods and asked 150 different people just one question:

“What does someone with an Eating Disorder look like to you?”

Out of the 150 people I asked, 143 of them gave me the same discouraging description of adjectives:

  • Extremely thin, skeletal
  • Emaciated
  • Sickly, worn-out


At this point, most of us have come to accept that Eating Disorders are a serious issue… e6688fca4aaf689ea74203e4d72cdd70HOWEVER…  the media has apparently taught us that Eating Disorders LOOK A CERTAIN WAY. The media has given our world the delusion that: unless you are emaciated, you do not have an Eating Disorder.


Lets start with the repercussions!

Men and women suffering from eating disorders often keep their disease silent. If one is suffering, but is at a healthy weight or overweight, they may feel that their behaviors are unjustified. They may enter into denial about the severity of the disorder. Their disorder may worsen due to their “failure to lose weight,” and/or they may feel too embarrassed to seek help or make their issue known… afraid of the judgement or dismissal of their confession… or afraid of being accused of “seeking attention.”

So here is my question to you: What can we do to bring awareness to this situation?

Eating disorders come in a variety of behaviors, and therefore it effects people of all shapes and sizes. Depending on the disorder, and its current level of severity (which often ranges drastically), ED sufferers may be underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight.large

It is important we address this stigma as soon as possible. I am open to any and all ideas! Please comment below or reach out directly to info@thefrozenorangesociety.com

I am eager and excited to hear your input! Please forward this post to anyone and everyone you know. Its time we put an end to the Stigma on the Image of Eating Disorders.

Here is an interview from OneCut Video’s‘s video: No, They “Don’t Look Like” They Have Eating Disorders, and it’s really dangerous to tell someone so.

“If you don’t look like you have an eating disorder, it means that you don’t have to seek treatment,” another woman elaborates. “It could make that person want to use behaviors more so they can get to that weight where they look like they have an eating disorder.” – Read a Full Article Featuring OneCut Video at  COSMOPOLITAN.COM

You Tube’s OneCut VideoNo, They “Don’t Look Like” They Have Eating Disorders, and it’s really dangerous to tell someone so.

Like I mentioned above, I would appreciate feedback and ideas on how we, The Frozen Orange Society, can bring light to the stigma on the Image of Eating Disorders.



XoXo, Kristen – Founder of The Frozen Orange Society

(All Photos Courtesy of Google Images)


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