By Daniela Ferreira Araújo Silva, Endangered Bodies Brazil team member
Last week I saw the trailer for To The Bone, a movie just released by Netflix. It is supposed to be a sensitive and deep portrayal of the struggles of a young woman with anorexia and her journey through treatment. However, the almost two-and-a-half minute trailer couldn't be more upsetting: a cliché and somewhat sensationalized depiction of what anorexia supposedly looks like unravels with scene after scene violating almost every single National Eating Disorder Association's guideline for responsible media coverage of eating disorders. It features obsessive calorie counting, graphic depictions of symptomatic behaviors concerning eating and exercising, and images of the main character’s severely emaciated body.
Being an eating disorders researcher and activist since 2001, and a bulimia survivor, I’ve been concerned not only with the lack of substantiated knowledge about eating disorders both among health professionals and the wider public, but also with the media. Media content can be problematic when it promotes an excessively thin beauty standard for women, in addition to the usually sensationalist tone given to the subject of eating disorders.