Tuesday the 16th November.
Join a panel discussion organised as part of the Gender Equality Festival to talk discuss the issue of Eating Disorders
More information: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=155668704471441
Some thoughts on gender and Eating Disorder:
Self-immolation And Hunger¦Naomi Wolf
There is a disease spreading. It taps on the shoulder America’s firstborn sons, its best and brightest. At its touch, they turn away from food. Their bones swell out from receding flesh. Shadows invade their faces. They walk slowly, with the effort of old men. A white spittle forms on their lips. They can swallow only pellets of bread, and a little thin milk. First tens, then hundreds, then thousands, until among the most affluent families, one young son in five is stricken. Many are hospitalized, many die....
The American disease spreads eastward. It strikes young men at the Sorbonne, in London’s Inns of Court, in the administration of the Hague, in the Bourse, in the universities of Edinburgh and Salamanca. They grow thin and still more thin. They can hardly speak aloud. They lose their libido, and can no longer make an effort to joke or argue. When they run or swim, they look appalling: buttocks collapsed, tailbones protruding, knees knocked together, ribs splayed in a shelf that stretches their papery skin. There is no medical reason.
The disease mutates again. Across America, it becomes apparent that for every well-born living skeleton there are at least three other young men, also bright lights, who do something just as strange. Once they have swallowed their steaks and wine, now they hide away, to thrust their fingers down their throats and spew out all the nourishment in them. They wander back, shaking and pale. Eventually they arrange their lives so that they can spend hours each day hunched over like that, their highly trained minds telescoped around two shameful holes: mouth, toilet; toilet, mouth.
What is happening to our fine young me, in their brush cuts and khaki trousers? It hurts to look at them. At their expense-paid lunches, they hide their medallions of veal under lettuce leaves. Secretly, they purge. They vomit after matriculation banquets and after tailgate parties at the Game. The men’s room in the Oyster Bar reeks with it.
How would America react to the mass self-immolation by hunger of its favourite sons? How would Western Europe absorb the export of such a disease? One would expect an emergency response: crisis task forces convened in congressional hearing rooms, unscheduled alumni meetings, the best experts money can hire, cover stories in news and magazines, blame and counter-blame, bulletins, warnings, symptoms, updates; an epidemic blazoned in boldface red. The sons of privilege are the future; the future is committing suicide.
Of course this is all happening right now, only with a gender difference. The institution that shelter and promote these diseases are hibernating. The public conscience are fast asleep. The world is not coming to an end because the cherished child in five who “chooses” to die slowly is a girl.
Up to one tenth of young American women, up to one fifth of women students in the US are locked into one-woman hunger camps. When they fall, there are no memorial services, no intervention through awareness programs, no formal messages from their schools and the colleges that the society prefers its young women to eat and thrive rather than sicken and die.