Artists are reinforcing acceptance of eating disorders

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 26 2014 | 2:51 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:11 am in

I am concerned about the recent portrayal of sensationalized vomiting as art. Lady Gaga, who has built much of a fan base by supporting kids who have been bullied, endorsed a “vomit painter” named Millie Brown. I skimmed headlines citing her recent act at the music, film and technology festival, South by Southwest, and red flags flew. In the brief research that I did on the artist, I find there is a lack of education about eating disorders.

Brown and Gaga are reinforcing acceptance of eating disorders in atypical teens. These bullied teens are more susceptible to social influences. I fear Brown is going to become a figurehead for girls, boys, women and men who justify distorted thoughts as they navigate through social pressures and ever present comorbid mental health issues.

Lady Gaga reaches millions of a population commonly affected by eating disorders. I believe she does not have the frame of reference that teens, parents, families, professionals and advocates who are surrounded by eating disorders have. We have a duty to educate her so she can better support her fan base.

She has the power to raise awareness and so do we. How do we get organizations and families involved to reach her before this spirals into becoming socially acceptable?

Molly Thornton

Cedar Rapids


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