A few days ago, while absentmindedly scrolling through my Facebook news feed, a certain article caught my attention. One of my female friends had posted it on her wall, along with a comment that said something like “Worst. Thing. Ever.”
The article was titled “5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder.” (Warning: if you’re negatively triggered by dysmorphic body image material, I wouldn’t recommend clicking that link).
My initial reaction: Umm…WHAAAAAAT?!
Nevertheless, persuaded by morbid curiosity, I gave it a read. Then, subsequently wished I hadn’t. Only 1 word can adequately describe my feelings toward the archaic, misogynistic, and downright offensive message perpetuated in this article: Horror.
Just pure and utter horror.
Whoever wrote this (come at me, bro!) is – in my admittedly biased opinion – a heinous human being. I consider myself a tolerant, unflappable individual, but I have ZERO patience for someone, who spouts unfounded and verbally abusive nonsense about such a sobering societal issue as mental illness.
An eating disorder is no joking matter. It’s a life-threatening concern that runs rampant in today’s culture. It does not discriminate across gender, racial, or socioeconomic boundaries. It trashes self-esteem. Destroys relationships. Ravages both mind and body. Causes long-term physical and emotional repercussions. It even has the power to kill.
Nope, not amusing. At all.
However, the dude behind this post sees things differently. From his sexist and – can we all agree?! – skewed POV, men should pursue anorexic and/or bulimic women for the following reasons:
- They look sexy.
- They won’t cost big bucks on date night.
- They’re easily dominated.
- They probably come from money.
- They’re great in bed.
Let me just begin by pointing out that I have personally battled and overcome anorexia, so I can assure you none of these claims are factual. But, for good measure, I’ll break them down one-by-one.
- Sick isn’t sexy. It’s detrimental. Is outward beauty such a deal-breaker that a guy would rather see his girl suffer than gain 5 pounds?
- Not all disordered eaters starve themselves completely. But, even if they did, what kind of cheap bastard goes on a date without his wallet?
- Au contraire. While this illness does attack confidence levels, I’ve known several ED survivors (myself included), who are feisty little spit-fires. Dominate that!
- I was raised middle class. And I met girls in treatment, whose financial backgrounds ran the gamut from gated communities to inner cities. Wealth is NOT a contributing factor.
- To quote the author, “It’s a well-known fact that crazy girls are exceptional in the sack. A girl with an eating disorder has just the right cocktail of pent-up insecurity, neuroses, and daddy issues to ensure that your whole building knows every time you’re beating it up.” Yup. Nailed it. But not really.
Here’s another point worth mentioning: in the article’s comment section, some male readers were telling a (rightfully!) incensed female reader, “Chill out. It’s satire.”
Ummm…let’s examine that cavalier dismissal, shall we? As a former theatre major, I’ve read my fair share of satirical literature, from “The Importance of Being Ernest” to “Cloud Nine.” Satire uses “humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues” (source: dictionary.com). In other words, it aims to promote something more than misogyny.
Sorry, folks. Not buying the “it’s satire” argument.
Instead, I’ll offer a counterargument. Call it the “5 Reasons to Date a Girl With an Eating Disorder” in reverse. Consider, if you will, “5 Reasons to Date a Girl, Who Has Recovered from an Eating Disorder.”
Also known as The Truth:
- She has fought hard to achieve confidence and self-respect.
- She recognizes and appreciates the value of inner beauty.
- She exhibits joy and gratitude for life’s simple pleasures.
- She does not demand perfection and freely forgives a slip-up.
- She knows better than to take loving relationships for granted.
Think about it. This girl is a survivor. She has a positive new lease on life. She voices her opinions and beliefs. She can be counted on for honesty. She admits to vulnerable moments, but isn’t controlled by them. She laughs at her own idiosyncrasies and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She embraces both strengths and weaknesses. She’s one tough chick and will go the distance for a real man, who treats her like his equal. Basically, this girl is a badass.
She lives with spirit, as though each day is hers alone to carpe diem.
And loves with fierceness, as though her chosen person deserves happiness just as much as she does.