The idea of the "borderline eating disorder" has been surfacing more and more recently in popular culture. Feminist theorists such as Susan Bordo and Hilde Bruch have been wrestling with this concept and its definition for quite some time. In order to address the borderline eating disorder, we must understand our culture's thin ideology and how that is perpetuated. It is also crucial to examine other sources of eating disorders, such as abuse and personal control, and what these sources mean to the eating disorder category. Ultimately, though such broad conclusions are hard to formulate, I hope that we can gain a better understanding of the origins of thin cultural standards, how those are played out on women's bodies and perceptions of themselves, and what the borderline eating disorder category means in comparison to the full-blown version so many view as the extreme.
[...] The line between these two is often referred to as a borderline eating disorder, which gives negative connotation to the issue without examining its meaning and results. In order to be healthy, one must be mindful of food intake and exercise, but to be able to accept yourself, you must learn to not be too hard on yourself. Is the borderline eating disorder a form of stability in an unstable world, or is it a signal that a person has a lack of balance? [...]
[...] As anorexic mindset, similar to that of an orthorexic, feels empowerment from being able to abstain from eating as a form of control (Bruch 74). Women who are starving themselves for psychological reasons have been documented as feeling superior to overweight and eating women (Schwartz and Cohn 57). Bruch warms of this intoxicated feeling overtaking one and becoming the focal point of much of her life (Bruch 73). Bordo refers to this mind versus body struggle as the dualist axis on which the body's denial of food becomes the mind's victory (146). [...]
[...] Eating disorders are a feminist problem because they disproportionately affect women more than men. While this is not to discount the male experience, it is simply not the point of this analysis. It is important to recognize the difference between the two points of views and how they make this an inherently female issue. Because women are fed conflicting messages related to body image, combined with different types of control cues than men, they are at greater risk for developing control-related eating disorders. [...]
[...] In the December 2003 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, an article listed several different types of borderline eating disorders for which readers should watch out. In the same issue, several ads for dieting plans were prominently placed, as were articles about how to make holiday desserts for your boyfriend. Cosmopolitan can be admired for bringing up an issue as important as borderline eating disorders and the symptoms of such, but they also do not halt other harmful practices to further this effort. [...]
[...] It is hoped that the issue of borderline eating disorders will be given further serious thought in the future, in terms of why this problem exists, and what it says about our culture, and what it means for women living in America today. By continuing to probe for answers through intelligent discourse, we hope to one day have a better understanding of this borderline mentality. Works Cited Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press Botwin, Shari. [...]
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