Today on Facebook I came across a post by an old friend of mine. It was a picture of Angalina Jolie and it said, basically, ew, that’s gross. She was commenting on the actors thinness. When I commented that Jolie has an eating disorder, according to magazines anyway, she replied “who cares. It’s just another actress with an eating disorder.”
This is an incredibly problematic thought process. Eating disorders are mental disorders and mental disorders are highly stigmatized. And who can blame actors, people who are judged daily, and by millions of people, on how they look. Magazines tell us whose fashion to idolize, they mock those whose fashion they dislike, they praise the stars who lose baby weight quickly, and they criticize any celebrity who doesn’t meet the unrealistic standard of beauty. At least the rest of us can hide behind a shield of anonymity. Celebrities don’t have that luxury.
So why do we continue to perpetuate these problems? Why do we shame people for something they can’t control? How many people would be willing to mock someone with a physical disability the way my old friend mocked Jolie’s mental disability? We need to put an end to this stigmatization of mental disorders. I am no less human because of my anxiety disorder. I still have feelings. I still have hopes and dreams. I still work, go to school, and pay the bills. My anxiety disorder just makes things a bit more difficult. I have one more thing to be mindful of than most people. I assume it’s the same for Jolie. She is a working mother with her hands full. She deserves some respect. We all do.
June 3rd, 2014 at 1:46 pm
Take this for the grain of salt it is worth. Just a couple of cents’ worth of thoughts I have on the matter.
I don’t know about ignorance. We throw that term around too much. Maybe we look deeper than that. For instance, I can be hatefully cruel if I do not pay attention to my motives–especially if something touches on a fear I have. Yet I am anything but ignorant. I understand the mind to the degree that I know that my amygdala is going to fire off chemicals in my brain when I do certain things, my brain loves these chemicals, thus it begs the amygdala for more of them. I can quickly create a habit simply by indulging my brain too often through taunts or snap judgments that relieve the discomfort of having to face something I don’t want to face for myriad reasons.
Perhaps it’s the same with most. I don’t know that it’s ignorance that causes people to make snap responses such as, “Oh, I don’t care! It’s still gross!” Maybe the thought of not being able to control her own ability to eat scares the bloody hell out of your friend and so she covers that up by turning it into something that gives her brain the needed escape, which is to ridicule it. She likely knows what an eating disorder is, it’s not as if we’ve not been made aware for the last 30 years! There is no shortage of ‘awareness’ on the topic (nor on anxiety disorder, which I have but have learned to control).
We have thousands of motives for each reaction to an issue like this—many of them most people aren’t even aware of without serious introspection, which most humans just don’t enjoy. Maybe instead of dismissing people as ignorant (which, after all, is similar to their dismissal of someone they deem unfit) we either 1) choose to ignore it since this is clearly an issue they have that has not been addressed and we cannot do that for them 2) really take some time to sit and talk with them, ask they exactly why it seems to creep them out or frighten them. Sometimes the answer can surprise both parties.
May 27th, 2014 at 2:40 am
It takes a gross to admit amount of effort to reign in judgments, it seems…. Everyone has them, and too often we spew them before we think. My worst case of this is when driving…. Oh the things I say about people!!!
It stems from ignorance, really. Reigning in our tongues would help us all in understanding….
May 27th, 2014 at 2:43 am
I agree. It’s just so frustrating.