Never Too Rich or Too Thin? The High Cost of Anorexia
You can never be too rich or too thin, or so the saying goes. While there’s little chance I’ll ever get to worry about the former, I am far more familiar with the latter then I would ever care to be. I was first diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 1984 not long after that same disease claimed the life of singer Karen Carpenter. It was a disease I would continue to struggle with for years to come.
Whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not, our society places an inordinately high value on physical appearance. For men and women alike, the message is to look as young as possible, for as long as possible, by whatever means necessary — whether it be plastic surgery, Botox or, in some cases, extreme dieting.
So it should come as no great surprise then that eating disorders affect more than 10 million women in the United States alone. And that number doesn’t include the millions more unhappy with their appearance — an estimated 80 percent of all women don’t like they way they look. Eating disorders don’t just affect women though. Of those diagnosed with disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, 10 to 15 percent are males.
Eating disorder is a disease that surpasses stereotypes but is heavily fueled by them affecting men and women, old and young, rich and poor. Unfortunately our society heavily emphasizes the importance of appearance. And not just being healthy and fit but aspiring to resemble models and other public figures (many whom either have suffered or still suffer from an eating disorder).