National Eating Disorders Association

Eating Disorders, Diversity and What You Can Do About It

Caitlin Hamilton

 “For all the information and raised awareness, the stereotype won’t die—eating disorders are a white-woman problem,” writes Michelle Konstantinovsky in her recent article entitled, “Eating Disorders Do Not Discriminate: Puncturing the dangerous myth that only white women get eating disorders.” The article, which recently appeared on Slate, hits the nail squarely on the head – anyone can be at risk for an eating disorder.

Although there is a long way to go, we at NEDA are committed to breaking down the misconceptions that commonly surround eating disorders, and this article is an insightful piece that we encourage you to read.

The sad truth is that eating disorders do not discriminate, but the good news is that recovery doesn’t either. As Konstantinovsky points out through her interviews with several women of color, recovery is possible no matter your background, and one of the best things we can do for each other is to talk openly about how issues of race, socioeconomic  status and gender can impact our experiences of eating disorders.

With the goal of breaking down stereotypes and broadening the discourse surrounding eating disorders, we have partnered with feminist activist and editor of Everyday Feminism, Melissa Fabello, on The Marginalized Voices Project. The project calls for stories that focus on underrepresented experiences and communities in the eating disorder field. We are specifically interested in highlighting recovery stories that challenge the dominant narrative represented in much of our media and in the majority of memoirs and stories of hope out there.  If you are interested in participating in the project, please learn more and submit your story here.

Konstantinovsky’s article also mentions the connections that several individuals made while attending the NEDA Conference. It is such an honor to hear that the NEDA Conference has been able to provide a space for people of diverse backgrounds to connect and learn from one another, and we hope that this year is no different. NEDA hosts a “Diversity & Special Issues” track each year at the NEDA Conference for those who are seeking more information on eating disorders in diverse identity groups.

Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming NEDA Conference in San Antonio, TX from October 16-18th – the 2014 NEDA Conference website will be launching in April!