How the Culture Supports anorexia/bulimia

Consider the corporate executive who spends 12-hour work days desperately searching for a promotion, having no time with his family, stressed to the max and working out in his time off to sculpt a perfect corporate body image. When he finally succumbs to a heart attack at age 37, do we consider him a corporate anorexic/bulimic?

The way the problem of anorexia/bulimia seems to work is to trap people (see Jade’s story) into a set of intense fears and beliefs about their lives. People do not invent these fears and beliefs, but are helped along by a pro-anorexic/bulimic culture that values perfection, competition, individualism and thinness.Over a five-year period the major therapeutic issues attached to treating anorexia/bulimia are:

  • perfection and exercise
  • disconnection and a lack of belonging
  • body surveillance and food restricting
  • sexual and physical abuse issues
  • negative thinking and hopelessness regarding past, present and future
  • guilt and not-measuring-up to societal standards

It would be hard to imagine how anyone living within our culture’s dominant ideas about how people should be, look and feel, could be exempt from anorexic/bulimic experiences.

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