Catherineib: Eating disorders aren't the fault of the fashion industry. I should know

Share
Related Topics

It's London Fashion Week, and with that comes the inevitable return to what has become known as "the size zero debate".

The question posed by most journalists when naively attempting to cover a story on the subject is whether or not the fashion industry is to blame for the rise in cases of eating disorders, more often than not lazily jumping to the conclusion that yes, this constant bombardment of skinny "role models" forces girls and women to "become" anorexic. If only life were that simple.

As a recovering anorexic and bulimic, I can tell you quite simply (if you ask me directly, quite abruptly) that no, the fashion world is most definitely not, nor has it ever been the sole cause of the development of an eating disorder. Just as Marilyn Manson was the scapegoat for the Columbine shootings, the media points the finger at what, to them, is the most likely explanation – or with regards to size zero, sells the most copies of their magazine.

The tired conclusion that stick-insect models and rake thin celebrities are behind the huge number of people suffering with eating disorders only perpetuates the stereotypical belief that anorexia is a lifestyle choice – a diet gone too far. This presumption angers me beyond belief.

Throughout years of treatment being an inpatient, outpatient and using internet support forums, I have not met one single person who claims images in the media have played a part in them forming an eating disorder.

I can assure you that nobody makes a conscious decision to become so ill that they have to spend months or years in hospital away from their loved ones, be force fed through a naso-gastric tube, or observed around the clock with not an ounce of dignity to their name.

I would not wish any aspect of this illness upon my worst enemy (not that I have any, but a saying is a saying): to generalise it to the point of accusing catwalk models belittles those who have fallen victim to it and completely dismisses the sheer complexity of eating disorders as a whole.

The author blogs at www.independent.co.uk/catherineib

You can start your own Independent Minds blog at www.independent.co.uk/blogs

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Sir Tim Hunt made the remarks about women in science at a science journalist conference in South Korea.  

The Only Way is Ethics: Strong opinion goes too far if it seeks to silence those who oppose it

Will Gore
Wilbur, the pig who thinks he's a dog (Dom Joly)  

My hilarious pet pig Wilbur is more popular than I am — so I'll let him bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'