What we’re doing for Eating Disorder Awareness Week
A message from the founder of One Nine Eight Five, Eleanor Nadimi…
Eating Disorder Awareness Week runs from the 26th February – 4th March, during this time UK eating disorder charity Beat will be running their own campaign ‘Why Wait’ and asking people to ‘Sock It to Eating Disorders’ to raise funds for the charity, for more information click here.
We will also be running our own campaign and will continue to spread our message until International Women’s Day on the 8th March, running across social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, illustrated by the fabulous artist Anita Robinson. I hope that together Anita and I can boost awareness of the increasingly detrimental effects of social media on young people.
We are campaigning for body positive change – will you help us on our journey?!
Firstly, thank you for taking a moment to read this, if you’ve already read my previous blog post about why I’m donating money to Beat then skim read the next few paragraphs but if you’ve just arrived at this page welcome! As some of you know my auntie suffered from anorexia nervosa since she was 13 years old, and sadly the illness took her life in her late 40s. Having experienced a loved one suffer first hand I knew that I had to do something to help erase the stigma attached to eating disorders and those who the illness affects which is why I launched the Woman collection – the design is a line drawing of the female form celebrating the beauty found in every woman, drawn by my mum – my aunties sister. 15% of the profits from the Woman collection is donated to UK charity Beat.
My auntie’s anorexia developed due to peer pressure so I’m focusing our efforts on raising awareness of the dangers of peer pressure and social media. I want to celebrate all women – I think every body is beautiful! I hope that by talking about these issues it will help overcome the stigma and shame many people feel about eating disorders, making it easier for them to accept treatment and get the support they need.
Social media doesn’t directly cause eating disorders – these illnesses are complex conditions – but social platforms can greatly influence attitudes, beliefs and actions, especially on the lower age of the spectrum where children reaching puberty are far more susceptible to succumb to peer pressure and feeling the need to fit in. Eating disorders can affect anyone at any time, but girls and young women aged 12-20 have the highest risk with a staggering 62% of symptoms developing before the age of 16 and 42% before the age of 20. Given that weight and looks are often topics of interest throughout media, journalists, broadcasters and social media users have a huge responsibility to not glamorise the subject. Media reflects and amplifies our social and cultural environment and it is one in which body image and perfectionism are highly prized. The growth of a celebrity culture where people are either idolised for their perfect bodies or else criticised for their physical failings creates a powerful influence that is unhealthy for many and toxic for a vulnerable few. Being surrounded by images of hyper-perfect bodies when one’s own view of their body image is distorted by a mental illness just reinforces the perception that your body doesn’t fit into the norm.
Our series of illustrations were made to embrace the fact that every body is beautiful regardless of your size, height, weight, hair type, skin colour, I could keep going here… we all have our own unique beauty and thats what makes us so special.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and come in various forms, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. They can be deadly. It affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and emotions as well as having a physical impact and comes in all shapes and sizes, not everyone affected will be underweight so be aware of who is around you and their struggle whatever it may be. Help us spread the love by sharing our message, tell a friend how much you appreciate them, embrace the beauty found in every body and give each other the support needed to feel good.
Lets challenge the stigma associated with mental health issues together. The sooner someone gets help the faster they can recover, lessening the impact on their life, family and future.