In Some Not Funny At All Eating Disorder News…

Again, Glamour gave me today’s material.


Do you know what this is? It’s a Halloween costume. Called ‘Anna Rexia.‘ It features a visible skeleton, a measuring tape around the waist, and a tiny little heart serving as a name tag.  And it was actually for sale online.  This wasn’t a joke, and even if it were, it wouldn’t be funny.  I wouldn’t necessarily say this glorifies eating disorders, but it makes light of it, as if it weren’t a real condition, which I find just as disturbing.  How would people react if someone went as cancer? I’m honestly not sure why or how you would do that, but I’m just making a point here. I doubt anyone would think THAT was funny.

And there’s something about the fact that it’s a very revealing costume (duh, as a female between the ages of 18 and 35, you can’t dress up on Halloween  unless it’s something plenty skanky.  Whatever you decide to be, it must be a Skanky Nurse, Cop, Doctor, Vampire, [fill in the blank], right?) that makes it even worse.  The very small amount of fabric used here in and of itself implies that one must be fairly thin to wear it.  And that skeleton really drives the point home.  [Edited to add: Apparently there is a plus-sized version, but I don’t think the design is quite the same.]

We already see EDs and unhealthy thinness glamorized on TV constantly, from teen shows like Gossip Girl and Greek (in an early episode, one of the already very thin girls eats chips right before rush starts and when the sorority president reminds her of this, she says tells the other girls she’ll be right back and heads for the bathroom) to reality TV  like the Bachelor Pad (one of the male contestants called a very much smaller-than-average-sized woman ‘thick’ when describing his first impression of her).  I don’t really think we need a Halloween costume to do any additional damage.

Thoughts? Who’s with me? Who thinks the folks at Glamour (and myself and The Village Voice) are overreacting? Whatever your opinion — spill! I wanna hear it!


About Heather

My name is Heather, and I moved from a big Midwestern university to a GIGANTIC Midwestern city. I'm working at a gym as a personal trainer, and I work as a freelance writer on the side. Sometimes I pretend to be an adult. I'm also figuring out how to keep my mouth shut every once in a while -- not here, though. How boring would that be?

Posted on September 22, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve seen this costume around the internet for a couple of years…and as someone living with anorexia and bulimia, I honestly find it sort of funny. While I hate the trivialization of EDs, I’m less likely to be offended by jokes like this (or the “I beat anorexia” shirt, worn by obese men) than by inaccurate but NOT joking references. Using the word “anorexia” as a synonym for “diet”, or writing about it as though it’s a phase, is dangerous and infuriating. But I guess that after more than a decade of living with an ED, I’ve decided I have to laugh at the jokes or else I’ll just spend forever angry. 🙂

  2. I wouldn’t even have known the costume was about anorexia. The old vaudeville acts often wore getups like this (luminous, with lights low) but of course the model makes the difference. If it had been an actual skinny ed victim the point would have been obvious. Most guys don’t even care what the girl is wearing, by the way, especially if it’s not a lot…lol

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