Puncturing the dangerous myth that only white women get eating disorders.
“When eating disorders were first being recognized, people seeking treatment were young, white girls, so the belief developed early that nobody else suffers from them,” says Gayle Brooks, vice president and chief clinical officer of the Renfrew Center, the country’s first residential treatment facility for eating disorders. “When that became the core of our understanding, we stopped looking at diversity being an issue. We missed a lot.”
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), “exact statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color are unavailable” because, “due to our historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, relatively little research has been conducted utilizing participants from racial and ethnic minority groups.” And as Carrie Arnold detailed in a piece for Slate, eating disorder research is “dramatically underfunded.” Still, we know these women exist. Here are a few.