Whenever I’m asked who this blog is for, I inevitably say it’s for my teenage self—and for teenagers who are like her. So it might not be too surprising that my hot button issue is the way the media talks to teenage girls. For example, in magazines like Teen Vogue that may be subtly promoting eating disorders—in this case, via an article that is ostensibly about how healthy eating can go too far.
“I can’t help but look down on my friends when they give in to temptations like pizza or ice cream.”
“I refuse to put anything poisonous—like processed foods—in my body. I’ll stay this way forever.”
If you flip back a page, you’ll discover that these are not diet tips, per se, but quotes from real girls in a story about orthorexia. Orthorexia is a fixation on healthy eating, which Tara Gidus, National Spokesperson For the American Dietetic Association tells Teen Vogue: “It’s not quite an eating disorder, but it is a form of disordered eating.” Phew! As long as it’s not an actual eating disorder, then we can promote it, right? Wait! Gidus goes on to say: “It could easily lead to bulimia if you binge on unhealthy food and feel like you need to get rid of it. And the rigid nature of the disease could also lead to anorexia.”
As Jezebel points out, the magazine isn’t actually suggesting that teenagers try out this form of eating. In fact, they point it out as an example of what not to do. But when the article is followed by an aspirational photo of an extremely thin model, that is what I would call a mixed message at the very least.
Posted by mo pie