5 reasons not to date anyone who agrees with this article

In the (gross) article 5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder (please note that the general tone of the content on this site is disturbing--please practice self care), the author shares some perspectives on the “benefits” of dating a person with an eating disorder. I will offer a fast reaction to this infuriating article, and then share some actual facts that you might even find to be useful (Warning: the time spent reading the original article may not be).

5 Reasons not to date anyone who agrees with this article:

  1. They apparently don’t know anything about the dangers of eating disorders.
  2. They devalue the female body.
  3. They find humor in life-threatening conditions.
  4. They subscribe to sexist ideas about the “proper role” for women.
  5. They probably won’t be very good in bed (see reason #5 from the original article).

Now for a much needed dose of reality. Eating disorders are a big deal. This is especially true if you're working hard to end sexual violence. Several studies have shown a direct link between experiencing sexual violence or childhood trauma and developing an eating disorder. One of our completely awesome researchers was kind enough to share some findings from some of these studies.

In a study of 301 college women (Messman-Moore & Garrigus, 2007), researchers looked at relationship between childhood physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, childhood emotional abuse, adult rape, and eating disorders. They found:

"The present findings suggest that symptoms of [eating disorders] are more likely to occur and have greater severity among individuals reporting histories of childhood abuse and/or [adult rape] experiences, and that these symptoms are related to both childhood physical abuse and emotional abuse.”

In a study of 111 men with eating disorders (Weltzin et al., 2012), 62.1% suffered from a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, and 32.4% suffered from an anxiety disorder such as OCD, panic disorder, or social phobia. 26.1% of respondents were involved with substance abuse or substance dependence.

In a study of 73 Korean patients with eating disorders (Kong & Bernstein, 2009), 39.7% suffered from anorexia nervosa, 53.4% from bulimia nervosa, and 6.8% from an eating disorder not otherwise specified. Researchers found that roughly 30% of respondents reported prior sexual abuse.

In a study of 110 healthy Mexican American women and 80 Mexican American women with eating disorders (Cachelin et al., 2005), subjects with eating disorders were significantly more likely to report prior sexual victimization. 55% of subjects with eating disorders reported sexual abuse, compared to 40.9% of control subjects. 81.8% of subjects with eating disorders who reported sexual abuse stated that the earliest instance of sexual abuse occured BEFORE the onset of their eating disorder.

If you’re interested in reading more, all of the original articles discussed above are available in the NSVRC Library. Overall, reputable research has shown time and again that there is a connection between trauma and eating disorders. These two fields need to work together toward prevention. A good start might be to interrupt misogynistic and offensive articles like the one mentioned at the start of this post.

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