I SPENT A WEEK WATCHING B-GRADE EATING DISORDER FILMS

…and lived to tell the tale – just!

'Starving in Suburbia' (2014)

Starving in Suburbia (2014)

Emotional, enjoyable and outrageously exhausting, this movie marathon was the closest I’ll ever come to engaging in extreme sports! You can read the full account of my hardcore adventures here.

Exaggerations aside, I was determined to conduct this experiment because I believe (from lived experience and my feminist leanings) that anorexia and bulimia reveal something very troubling about the state of our materialistic, media-saturated culture. And what better measure of the cultural mood than made-for-TV movies?

In the wonderful words of writer/kick-ass lady Roxane Gay:

“…the need for feminism and advocacy also applies to seemingly less serious issues like a Top 40 song or a comedian’s puerile humour. The existence of these lesser artefacts of our popular culture is made possible by the far graver issues we are facing.”

scales-weight

So, if you’ve ever wondered about the connections between eating disorders and popular culture, this article’s for you. And if you haven’t wondered..?

Now’s the very best time to start. Enjoy!

*I can’t end this post without a shout-out to Hayley Gleeson, the Founding Editor of Birdee. She’s an incredible egg, the kind that eggs others on too, and I’m proud to share my work via the positive, powerful platform she has created.

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Ladies, Torch Your Spanx

Keen as always to blend my passions for feminism, pop culture and better body image, I wrote this article as a wry and informative rallying cry: “Ladies, torch your Spanx!”

I’m super proud to have it published by Birdee Magazine, an online hub that encourages young women to be clever and witty and strong – to stand up for what they believe in and feel good about themselves for doing so.

Here’s a little taste of my article:

I have a confession to make: I bought Spanx. Not one pair but two, of the ‘super-duper butt and thigh trimming’ ilk.

I know, I know – feminist cringe. The horror, the hypocrisy, the materialism, the vanity…

The humanity.

I’ve had some lovely feedback about the piece so far including one awesome woman’s vow to turn her Spanx “into decorative snowflakes with a pair of scissors right now”. Right on, sister!

So, happy reading. I hope you find the article thought-provoking, giggle-worthy and maybe a wee bit inspiring…

Eschewing the Skeleton Crew

In late 2014, working hard at uni and in therapy, I decided to combine my scholarly feminist research with a good deal of self-scrutiny. What came out of it was this: a feature article (and personal manifesto) entitled Eschewing the Skeleton Crew.

Yep, this is me with my birthday cake, age 7. Background art by Maria Tort.

Yep, this is me with my birthday cake, age 7. Background art by Maria Tort.

It’s pretty confronting but hey, that’s the ugly truth of eating disorders. For example:

As a 22-year-old who has spent irrecoverable hours slumped over splattered, rancid toilet bowls, I would do anything I could to prevent others from experiencing such virulent self-loathing. That’s what this is about. An eating disorder is a severe, disabling, sometimes fatal mental illness. It’s also a choice. I want to explain what it is that you, your daughter, your best friend, your mentor stands to lose by nibbling the occasional lettuce leaf, downing the bottle of ipecac.

Among other valuables, your self.

I wanted to share my experiences and insights so that others struggling with anorexia and bulimia might not feel so alone, and so that people who don’t know much about eating disorders could become aware of their complex, devastating realities. I also wanted to offer hope.

In searching for feminist media outlets that might publish the article, I came across Bluestockings Magazine. A student-run publication based at Brown University (USA), Bluestockings affirms marginalised voices and examines contemporary women’s issues within larger historical and socio-political frameworks. In other words, it’s incredible.

Bluestockings Magazine banner

The editorial team picked up my feature and the rest is history.

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