Anorexia: a word that sends a million different thoughts and images running through our heads. We all know what it is. But do we actually understand it? Anorexia is more than just about being thin. More than just being the smallest you could possibly be – Talking to Anorexia explores exactly that. Our understanding of what Anorexia really is begins to change as we see several women’s different stories. Anorexia is not about being a size zero but rather a guilt that runs through your mind whenever you eat food. A voice in your head telling you “you don’t deserve to eat.”
The documentary aired last night at 9pm on BBC Two. Since then #TalkingtoAnorexia has been trending on Twitter as sufferers felt Theroux captured the essence of their mental illness accurately and fairly, inspiring them to share their own stories on Twitter.
But is the documentary really as insightful as we think? Although Theroux makes it clear that Anorexia is on the up in the UK in both males and females, there is a significant lack of interviews with male patients. And this didn’t go unnoticed, with one viewer posting: “A reminder that any eating disorder does not discriminate; men/women.” In fact, according to Priory Group 11% of people affected by Eating Disorders in the UK are male.
Theroux also focuses on the words we say. The impact they can have for sufferers. The power words have to determine whether you eat or not. Whether you continue to lose weight. Even just one simple word. “Would you have known I was Anorexic? If you say no I would just stop eating again” explains Janet. Is this the beginning of our genuine understanding and awareness? Of our ability to realise what we should or should not say. The beginning of being able to help.
To watch Louis Theroux’s documentary click here.
Words: Louana Erard | Subbing: Katherine Docherty