Okay, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my boyfriend Chris (he of the picking-Sophia-up abilities). He’s a sweetheart. He tells me I’m pretty and beautiful and that there’s nothing wrong with my body, with far too much frequency for it to be anything but corny. At the moment, it’s great (although, this is high school of course, and people have already started taking bets on how long we’ll last). He really is a good kid.
That doesn’t, however, make him any less of an ignorant dumbass.
I wasn’t there so I’m unsure of the details, but apparently what he said to Laurie and Anne a few weeks ago went something like this:
“I wish I had an eating disorder! That way I wouldn’t have to work out all the time, I could just be athletic like a girl.”
(I assume there was an arrogant muscle flex somewhere since Chris is freaking ripped and likes to show it off.)
I don’t really have much to say about what he said—I think his words speak for themselves. Since I wasn’t there, it’s not his place to confront him about it. From what I heard, Laurie and Anne did a pretty good job yeIling at him about it. But I will say this.
It’s no secret that eating disorders are one of the most misunderstood illnesses out there. Those who are afflicted with an eating disorder (and I speak more from anecdotal knowledge than personal experience, since my quote-unquote disorder lasted less than a month and wasn’t very severe) or with multiple eating disorders are trapped in an absolutely vicious and all-consuming cycle. Eating disorders can lead to absolutely horrid health complications, ranging from malnutrition to vitamin deficiencies to ailments of the reproductive system to immune system damage and, eventually, to death.
Chris is a boy. Boys say stupid and ignorant things. And it’s not like I think he said what he said out of any sort of cruelty or malice. I think Chris said what he said because Chris is a person. And people say stupid, stupid, stupid ignorant things.
So, no, I’m not infuriated by what Chris said. I’m infuriated by lack of awareness and by lack of action. Please, if you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, I implore you to please seek help. If you simply want to know more, and want to do your part to limit the reach of this horrible illness, then please, please educate yourself. Please try to understand that eating disorders aren’t about wanting to drop (or gain) a few pounds. They are a complicated and debilitating and nasty illness that have taken over the lives of countless individuals. And they are not something to joke about.