A hoodie sweatshirt being sold on Amazon that "defines" anorexia as "like bulimia, except with self control" has generated backlash from the Internet and a statement from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
A majority of the 170-plus reviews for the item, which NEDA called "incredibly offensive and irresponsible" in a statement, are negative. "This is offensive and glorifies a mental illness that is very real," one detractor wrote. "Anorexia isn’t a choice, and it has nothing to do with self-control. When you have anorexia, you have zero control. The anorexia dictates what you do, where you go, how you feel, what you think about, your personality, your relationships—your entire life."
Another reviewer took issue with the product, sold by the third-party retailer ArturoBuch, for other reasons: "This type of message damages the lives of the most susceptible members of our society. Making a profit by marketing eating disorders is pure evil," the commenter wrote.
NEDA called for Amazon to remove the item:
"Jokes about eating disorders are dangerous and cliché," said Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA. "This hoodie propagates the myth that eating disorders are trivial and mere issues of willpower or self-control. Stereotypes like this result in increased stigma and are barriers that prevent people from seeking help. Anorexia is not a ‘lifestyle choice,’ it is a mental health disorder with socio-biological influences. We ask that Amazon stand with those affected by these deadly illnesses and remove the sweatshirt from their store.”
Amazon declined to comment to Cosmopolitan.com.
Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders, according to NEDA, but all eating disorders can be deadly. If you or someone you know needs help, visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, or contact the NEDA Information and Referral Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.