Letters to the Editor

Eating disorders: Another form of class division?

In relation to class, food and eating habits serve as another partition. Eating disorders have a trickle-down socioeconomic impact. The upper class defines “health” and sets the standards for beauty. The middle class then makes adaptations to desperately try to achieve unattainable body types and health regimes, and upon ruefully failing, they become addicted to behaviors resulting in eating disorders. The lower class is the most perplexing because they have both the model of the upper class and the adaptations made by the middle class, yet they won’t be able to achieve either because of their own lack of control of their socioeconomic status. The question that surfaces upon making this analysis is: Is the American white culture stereotyping eating disorders into a “white upper class” disease another form of oppression upon people of color?

The clearest example of this is the fad of thinness “accomplished” through the claimed act of clean eating. Clean eating became popularized by celebrities because of the slimming “effects” it had on their bodies. The claims made regarding this diet is that it would miraculously produce the same bodies that celebrities flaunt: taut clear skin, firm defined muscles, and thigh-gaps. In actuality, there is no causation between “ideal” bodies and clean eating, but our society is so ignorant about how our bodies and food function in alliance, that there are people who genuinely believe that they can defy biology without the aid of money, and achieve an “ideal” body.