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.