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Why ‘Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder’ Is Both Disturbing And Factually Incorrect

This is a letter in reaction to Tuthmosis's article. I understand that, when this went viral, it caused uproar and you probably got a lot of reactions that were rude, ignorant and vile. Because of this, I would like to explain calmly and reasonably why I found this article to be misinformed.

I am a research assistant in the Weight and Eating Disorders Laboratory on my campus, and I have noticed that even well-meaning people do not necessarily understand the implications of these diseases, which are among the most deadly of all mental disorders listed within the DSM-V. I will break the analysis down so step-by-step, in accordance with Tuthmosis's editorial.

Before we begin, I would like to assert that eating disorders are not a “rich white girl's disease.” While anorexia nervosa does tend to be more common among white women, other disorders like bulimia nervosa occur across races, including blacks and Latinos. To clarify, anorexia nervosa is characterized by less than 85 percent of what is considered normal body weight. This can occur either through purging or restriction.

People with bulimia nervosa, by definition, are at least of normal body weight. This contradicts most of your article. Bulimia nervosa can occur in either purging or restrictive types, as well. These disorders can all occur in men, and are often considered under-diagnosed in them because of stereotypes like the ones your article puts forth. It should also be noted that biological factors, like serotonin reuptake (that means happy chemicals, basically), might be implied in anorexia. These are real diseases.

Here is a breakdown of facts that contradict the article:

1.“Her obsession over her body will improve her overall looks.”

While I understand that Tuthmosis was referring to “mild to moderate” disorders, I would like to attest that eating disorders usually don't have a stopping point. People don't just say, “Oh, I'm good here at moderate, I'm done.” One of the major characteristics of eating disorders is the person's extremist behavior.

Also, there are many negative physical consequences that occur in conjunction with an eating disorder. An obvious one would be bruises and anemia. However, there are even more extreme consequences, like tooth rotting, yellowing and loss. Sometimes, extreme disorders eventually lead to organ failure, hence the high death rates. Before this happens, the body also develops “lanugo,” a downy white fuzz of hair all over the body that is a primal response to starvation and is meant to keep the body warm.

In short, this is not pretty. The airbrushed models you see are not what anorexic women look like. The model doesn't look like her picture. This is a common misconception.


2.“She costs less money.”

Have fun going out to dinner, like you stated. People with eating disorders will avoid food at all costs, so she probably won't even want to go out. Also, all those medical bills that pile up from complications (and maybe inpatient treatment) will eventually fall on you if you're serious.

However, my main concern with this statement is the pure objectification involved. Women are not bargain basement deals. We aren't trying to give ourselves to you in a flash sale. I'd rather be single than be stuck with someone who considers me a worthless object. And if you're not willing to commit a few bucks a month to someone, dating probably isn't for you.


3.“She's fragile and vulnerable.”

She is, again, not a toy for amusement. Yes, her health is probably fragile and she probably is emotionally vulnerable. However, most people are when you really get to know them. Maybe Tuthmosis hasn't fully engaged with people on a deeper level, and thus, he does not understand this.

While I agree that excessive and unwarranted self-esteem is annoying, there are plenty of independent girls and women who do not exhibit this trait. One of the reasons my boyfriend loves me and wants to make babies with me is because I am fully independent and don't rely on him, but can still provide emotional support.

This is not to say that someone with an eating disorder is any less valuable than I am, but the goal should be rehabilitation so that the patient can feel in control of themselves without the extreme behaviors they've been resorting to.


4. “Probably has money of her own.”

When she becomes disabled and cannot work, this money may disappear. This is not to mention that, as I stated earlier, eating disorders as a whole affect the population across the board.

This means that she can be poor and bulimic. While in the scope of the world, this does tend to pop up in more well to do countries, in countries that experienced recent American media saturation, the rates are the same. Therefore, it can be noted that this is both a social and biological phenomenon. People are likely to be genetically predisposed and then are influenced by social exposure.


5.“She's better in bed.”

I've heard from a lot of guys that “crazy girls are better in bed.” So, suppose this is true. Most of the time, however, you will not be in bed. Also, what if she starts crying in the middle of penetration? Tuthmosis seems to be a guy who can't handle that. And since she's “so fragile,” there might be a lot of stuff she can't do, if you really want to get graphic.

The take home point is, though, what if she finds a guy who actually cares about her? As part of your response, you noted that you were giving girls a chance that might be overlooked by other men. I am by no means saying, “Don't date a girl with an eating disorder.” However, these reasons for dating her are absurd and incorrect, and you will be sorely mistaken when you find out that this girl is not what you were looking for. The author notes that he has dated many girls with these disorders. Since he's dated so many, I can easily assume that they were ultimately failed relationships. This is probably because he was in it for the wrong reasons.

I know mental disorders are sometimes confusing, especially if you aren't in the field, but there are resources at one's fingertips to prevent ignorant word vomit all over the Internet. Fact checking is not complicated. However, I felt that a well-versed, less attack-driven article might help you understand the real implications of eating disorders and how articles like this one do not help, but hurt, the area of mental disorders.

Thank you for your time in reading. I am by no means asking you to take your article down. I've probably read the Constitution more times than most of your writers, and am very aware that it is your right to leave this up. However, I would like you to understand that it is your personal responsibility to take ownership of this ignorance and notice that these opinions, though unfounded, do impact the world. Many more of your articles are offensive, but I think this one went viral simply because the “facts” stated were inherently wrong.

Also, there are many things listed in your “FAQs” section that evolutionary biologists and psychologists would disagree with. And, unlike you, they do research outside of talking with their friends over a drink at the bar. While you and your writers have every right to maintain this ignorance, it should be duly noted that most of the assumptions you've been basing your lives around are simply wrong. At first, I thought this website was an actual joke because the assumptions are so ridiculous.

I can tell you are not very well educated. This is not in a Western way, but in a general way. I am probably the least “PC” female you'll ever meet, and can get awkward when you announce reality, statistics and truth. You are in no way fit to be kings. That takes real men.

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Lara Tullar

Contributor

Lara is a senior at the University and Albany, SUNY, and is majoring in Psychology with minors in Education, snarky statements, and unintentional feminist rants. Being blunt and awkward are her defining characteristics.
Lara is a senior at the University and Albany, SUNY, and is majoring in Psychology with minors in Education, snarky statements, and unintentional feminist rants. Being blunt and awkward are her defining characteristics.

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