Proud2Bme | "Rescue the Anorexic Girl"

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"Rescue the Anorexic Girl"

By Hilary Schafer--When it comes to eating disorders, most people think that “just eating” is the answer to wellness. As if it is that simple.

Amazon recently retracted an app called “Rescue the Anorexic Girl” that played into that dangerous idea. To “rescue” the very thin girl, you would throw pies at her face.

I was shocked, hurt, and angry when I saw this. It seems like that is the stance that society takes when it comes to eating disorders. “If I can just get you to eat, I don’t have to deal with you and you will be better. If you can eat, you can be normal again.” Unfortunately, we know this is not how it works.

On the other hand, we have an application called “Fit the Fat Girl” that was also taken down. In this application you are the girl’s coach and it is your job to give her workouts. You need to, “Look after your girl,” the description said. In both applications, cartoon characters are used to appeal to a younger audience. Children are learning that it’s wrong to be fat and it’s wrong to be too thin.

It feels like Goldilocks with the bear’s chairs: not too big, not too small, but just right. Except in this case, just right, or the model ideal, is only attainable by 5% of women. These applications simplify an extremely dangerous and deadly mental illness. They downplay the severity of eating disorders and how deadly they can be. The view of healing an eating disorder or weight issue with food alone misses the mental health aspect completely.

Applications like these shame women for their body type. If you don’t fit into the standard beauty ideals, you aren’t good enough and you aren’t worthy. Growing up, magazines and television alone made me feel like I needed to be stick thin to be good enough, but now in our current generation children are growing up with more technology than ever before.

We’re bombarded with messages telling us to look and be a certain way. These games show young people at a sensitive age that you MUST fit the ideal. These games stigmatize weight and teach them that anyone with a weight problem has to be fixed.

Being in recovery, I couldn’t believe someone let these hurtful and stereotypical applications to be created. They teach stigma, bullying, and simplicity around eating disorders. At such a young age, there is so much potential for eating disorder prevention, yet these apps are teaching the opposite. They put shame on those that don’t meet the standard beauty ideal and it hurts more than just those being made fun of, having pies thrown in their face, or forced to exercise.

Advocacy groups and people had been personally affected by eating disorders petitioned and won to get these applications taken down. They are taking a stand to end eating disorders and redefining what beautiful is. We have the power to change society together with little steps like these! 

About this blogger: Hilary is a graduate of the university of Florida where she received a B.A. in sociology. She is currently applying for her master’s degree in clinical social work programs. She is hoping to focus on eating disorders and body image. She is also co-coordinating the 3rd Annual NEDA walk in Gainesville, FL! 

Photos courtesy of SmartTouch Media and Amazon

Also by Hilary:

Eating Disorders in Athletes

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About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.