Eating Disorders: Not Just a White Girl's Problem

[Gwyneth image via SFGate]

No matter what I do, I will never be as strong or thin as Gwyneth. (#whitegirlproblems)

If you thought eating disorders were only for white girls, think again.
New studies of disordered eating among racial and ethnic minorities are challenging the widespread perception that these afflictions are the sole domain of privileged, white teenagers.

For years, girls of color were thought to be immune. The cultural standards of beauty in Black and Latina communities had always valued size and curves, and put less emphasis on thinness. But new generations of minority girls are striving to conform to the standards of the prevailing culture, and its reinforced by the increasing diversity of fashion and advertising, with images of thin, beautiful Hispanic- and African-American women joining those of whites.

I need to lose about 6,000 pounds. (#whitegirlproblems)

The classic study of body image presents girls with a set of female silhouette images and instructs them to select their current and ideal from the choices. Body dissatisfaction is then calculated by ascertaining the absolute differences between participants' current and ideal silhouettes. Historically, the white girls in these studies chose smaller ideal silhouettes and demonstrated vastly higher rates of dissatisfaction with their current shape; recent results show non-whites choosing larger sizes for their current representations, but virtually no difference in the choice of ideal form.

This toothpaste tastes fattening. (#whitegirlproblems)

Now that they have the same anxiety and shame about their bodies, girls of color are succumbing to the same eating disorders as the white girls. Occurrences are at a rate of about 1.5% for all population groups. White and Latina girls are more inclined to be anorexic, while Black and Native American girls have higher rates of bulimia. Only Asian-American girls, with their naturally smaller body types, are less prone to engage in disordered eating.

I was gonna work out but I'm hungry so.....oh well. I'm just gonna embrace my body and be a size 6. *sigh* (#whitegirlproblems)

Looks like it's time for an overhaul over at White Girl Problems. *
Or at least a new name.

*In case you missed it:
WGP
is the twitter feed/internet meme/pop culture sensation/now a book that spoofs the obnoxious, condescending, and frivolous whinings of the privileged and self-absorbed. It's a world that is profoundly inconvenienced by shopping, yoga, boyfriends, roommates, and especially the pursuit of a decent low-fat frozen yogurt.

 

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