February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month! If you’re looking for a way to celebrate your recovery journey or that of a loved one, if you need support and inspiration during your process and are on the lookout for resources, if you want to educate yourself on what eating disorders really mean in our society and in our lives, or if you just want to spend some time on Twitter with me and my colleagues, have I got an event for you.
This Monday, February 24th, Adios Barbie and the National Eating Disorders Association will be hosting our second annual #AdiosED Twitter party, from 8-9pm EST. We will be using the hashtag #AdiosED to organize our conversations around eating disorder recovery, support, and education. Are you doing anything Monday night? Cancel it – this will be an amazing conversation!
Our theme for #AdiosED 2014 is mythbusting, particularly in terms of diverse communities. When eating disorders are represented in the media (and I’m not talking about “does she or doesn’t she need rehab” tabloids, which is a topic for another day), they are primarily represented as a rich, upper-middle-to-upper-class, cis-gendered, late-teens white female problem. Now, if the number of hyphens and commas I needed to use to make that sweeping generalization is any indication, this cross-section of the population clearly does not represent the reality of those who suffer from eating disorders. Possibly you’ve seen the hashtag #eatingdisordersareforwhitewomen, which evolved out of this post on Black Girl Dangerous about the whitewashing and limited representation of eating disorders. If not, check it out.
Clearly, this representation problem needs to end. Eating disorders are shrouded in enough myth and misunderstandings to lose yourself in. They’re lifestyle choices. They’re extreme diets. They’re not real mental illnesses. They’re something you want to have, because then you could finally lose weight. Nobody but celebrities and spoiled rich girls get eating disorders. None of this is true. And the more accurate information we can get out there, the better.
And that’s where #AdiosED comes in. Our discussion will be moderated by our five amazing panelists:
- Kjerstin Gruys, body-image activist with About-Face and author of the book Mirror, Mirror, Off The Wall. (@KjerstinGruyes)
- Melissa A. Fabello, sexuality educator and eating disorder activist, blogger, vlogger, and editor of Everyday Feminism (@fyeahmfabello)
- Brian Cuban, eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder activist, speaker, and author of the book Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder (@bcuban)
- Anne Wennerstrand, licensed clinical therapist specializing in eating disorders at the Women’s Therapy Center Institute in New York City and founding member of Endangered Bodies NYC (@EndgrdBodiesNYC)
- Mae-Lynn Reyes-Rodriguez, clinical psychologist at the Center for Excellence for Eating Disorders at UNC-Chapel Hill, and specialist in eating disorders in the Latin@ community (@MLReyes_PR)
Other eating disorder specialists and activists will be in attendance to help answer your questions and shatter destructive eating disorder myths once and for all.
So what do you say? Will you join us Monday night at 8pm EST and help us say Adios to EDs? I’ll be there – will you?
For more information and to RSVP, visit our Facebook event here. You can also read a more in-depth version of our panelists’ biographies here, and view the transcript of last year’s #AdiosED event here.