To The Bone dangerously depicts life endangering content-review by professionals needed
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'To The Bone', a Netflix movie due to be released in mid-July, is irresponsible in its' portrayal of anorexia nervosa. If this show follows at all in the steps of its' related predecessor, 13 Reasons Why, this show will affect children, teenagers, and adults who have/had eating disorders in such a traumatic way that it could foreseeably lead to suicides, increased instances of body-shaming related bullying and impressionable viewers following these behaviour patterns. And, for those of us who are sufferers/survivors and have experienced firsthand the impact of false and negative stigma, there will be inevitable reinforcements of the assumptions held pertaining to the nature of eating disorders and the people who get them. Eating disorders develop in people of all ages, races, genders, socio-economic classes, personalities, and situations. Depicting anorexia as an affliction of young, white, middle-upper class 'smart' girls is just another indication of the fact that the illness is being monopolised upon by Netflix, under the guise of insight and awareness. But nothing about 'To The Bone' is either of those things.
The facts are: eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. These stigmas have taken lives. They will continue to do so- at an accelerated rate if 'To The Bone' is released without proper review by professionals AND their suggestions being acted upon.
This petition stands for the protection and preservation of ourselves and the people that surround us. Eating disorders are illnesses that thrive on secrecy, and on obsession. This program, regardless of its monetary value and the obvious effort that has been put into its' production, is a highly triggering and glorified addition to the growing amount of content that serve to reinforce ED associated behaviours and to undo progress of both peoples' recovery and the progress we are slowly seeing regarding the stigma and common beliefs about eating disorders that are harmful and far from true.
From my experience with anorexia nervosa, I can identify the single hardest part of recovery has, for myself, been this prevalence of pro-ED sentiment in media resulting in the same sentiment being held by communities. For me, shows and movies such as 'To The Bone' have an effect in general society that mirrors what I have seen between sufferers on eating disorder forums- it creates an atmosphere of shame for being healthy and for aspiring to recovery. You think being sick would be so much better for you- after all, TV says that your life is more romantic and dramatic and stylised when you're suffering, right? The normalisation of these subtle suggestions in general society breeds this internal discourse within sufferers to a fever pitch that no-one can take.
'To The Bone' does not serve as an insightful depiction of an eating disorder, it does not function to bring awareness. It will do harm.
If you are struggling with an ED, seek help, don't wait.
ED and crisis hotlines:
USA- Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
UK-Eating Disorder Support: 01494 793223
Australia- 1800 33 4673
Canada- 1-866-NEDIC-20 (1-866-633-4220)
France- 01 45 39 40 00
Germany- 0177 814 1510
South Africa- 0800 12 13 14
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