This absolutely infuriates me, so prepare for a bit of a rant….
On this occasion those words were not aimed at me, but I’ve heard it all before – out in bars, walking down the street, even in front of my children.
So, up pops a picture on my Facebook newsfeed – a photo of a high street clothes model. She’s thin, yes, most models are. In my opinion she doesn’t look ill, just thin. But anyway, the friend sharing had captioned ‘quick, someone get this girl a burger!’ Followed by comments including ‘she looks awful’.
Now, imagine I posted a photo of someone overweight and said ‘quick, get that girl a salad!’ Followed by derogatory remarks about her appearance. No. Just no. I wouldn’t do that in a million years. And if I did? I’d expect, and deserve, a huge amount of retaliation.
So why is it ok to publicly bash the underweight? When challenged, this friend justified her comments by saying she’d be seriously concerned if any of her children were that thin.
Ok, concern now. But do you know what? If she deems that girl to be so underweight that she’s ill (in other words, suffering with an eating disorder) the last thing she needs is a burger shoved down her throat.
Because my eating disorder is rarely restrictive, eating a burger is something I might actually do. However, the moment it touches my lips all that is on my mind is what it’s going to do to me. How it’s going to infiltrate my body, fill my stomach, thighs, hips with fat. How that one burger is going to expand me, widen me, make me look as disgusting as I feel. I can feel the fat from that burger seeping through the walls of my stomach, like this alien inside me determined to destroy the body I already despise so much. I’ll get to the toilet as quickly as I possibly can and purge until I’m sure it’s all gone.
If that girl is suffering from an eating disorder, she doesn’t need a burger. She needs love. She needs support. She needs help. She needs someone to hold her hand and reassure her that she is a beautiful person who CAN do this. She needs to slowly and gently begin to reintroduce food in a healthy way. She will feel overwhelmed. She will feel scared. She will feel alone. She doesn’t need to hear people say she looks awful, it’s quite likely she thinks that about herself anyway. She doesn’t need to be publicly humiliated. She doesn’t need to hear that she should just snap out of it.
She doesn’t need a burger.