Archive for May 20, 2013

Media Monday: Coming out

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

Christine Quinn. Photo by Chang W. Lee/NYT

Coming out. A term we’ve heard a lot this past year with the topic of gay rights in the news headlines and on the ballots. But today I’m talking about a different coming out. I’m talking about coming out about eating disorders.

This week Christine Quinn, the New York City Council speaker and candidate for mayor came out about her battle with bulimia and alcoholism. In a New York Times article, she said, “I just want people to know you can get through stuff. I hope people can see that in what my life has been and where it is going.”

Also in the headlines recently, another well-known female in the spotlight, Katie Couric recently spoke about her battle with bulimia in college. In a USA Today article Couric said, “she was glad she had shared with viewers her ordeal with bulimia, ‘because it’s so commonplace.’”

And unfortunately, as Couric says, eating disorders have become commonplace. According to Duke University:

  • Among western women between 15 and 24 years old, approximately 1 out of every 200 suffers from anorexia nervosa, while about 1 in 50 is bulimic.
  • Between 10 and 50 percent of American college women report having binge eaten and then vomited to control their weight.
  • Approximately 40 percent of American girls ages 9 and 10 report being or having been on a diet to lose weight.
  • Some 50 to 60 percent of teenage American girls believe they are overweight, yet only 15 to 20 percent of them actually are overweight.

I applaud Christine Quinn, Katie Couric, and all the other women who decided to stand up and talk about their eating disorders. Imagine how many lives they touch and inspire by talking about their struggles – just by saying, hey, you’re not alone — you can get through this.

Let’s talk about eating disorders.



Call for Artwork!

Art, Eating Disorders, and Recovery – The Emily Program Foundation Card ProjectArt and Eating Disorders

Have you ever created art or wanted to create art that inspires or reminds you of eating disorder recovery?  If so, please consider submitting artwork for a unique opportunity called: “The Emily Program Foundation Card Project.”  Themes related to recovery may include but aren’t limited to transformation, hope, self-care, mindfulness, and creative expression.  The printed cards will be sold to raise funds for The Emily Program Foundation.

Don’t wait to take part in this community experience; space is limited. Submissions are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis.  The first 10 entries that can fit a card format and have a finish that is able to be photographed will be used in this project.

Art pieces must be photographable and suitable for a card format upon submission. Artwork will be displayed anonymously (unless signature/initials are visible on the artwork).

Please submit the entry along with the EPF Card Project Call for Artwork entry form to Bevie LaBrie ASAP.

Submit works to Bevie LaBrie, Art Therapist: 2265 Como Ave. St. Paul, MN 55108

Contact Bevie at or 651-645-6523 x 1275 with questions.

Media Monday: Brave Gets a Makeover

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer


Merida gets a makeover.

Almost all young girls know of a Disney Princess: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and the list goes on and on. We are up to now eleven princess. In fact, the eleventh princess, Merida from the movie ‘Brave’, was just recently added to the list. However, Disney doesn’t let just anyone on this prestigious list of princesses. First, Merida had to go through some major changes. These changes include liposuction, major plastic surgery, and some very intense hair treatments. As a result her waist and face are slimmer, her eyes are larger, and her hair consists of perfect red curls that most of us would have to spend hours to achieve.


As a result, many parents are very upset. The message that Disney Princesses send to young girls, to be pretty and find a prince charming, is one that many parents now resent. Merida is a character who has turned this around. She has a realistic body size, she doesn’t chase after boys, and she lives her life independently. One parent even commented on this movie being “the first feminist princess movie.” She is an independent woman who does not rely on a man to save her and does not play the role of “damsel in distress.” She fixes her own problems, is unique, and, of course, is brave. However, this new step that Merida has taken has been undone again as Disney feels the need to give her a new image. The concern now is that the message she is reinforcing isn’t to be brave, but to be pretty. Therefore, in response to this “makeover” by Disney, parents have begun a petition on Thus far, there are 19,000 signatures. Obviously, there are a lot of fans of the original Merida.


My biggest concern is how young girls will be affected by this sudden change. Will they see her transformation as an improvement? And if so, how will that affect their own body images? We wonder why the average dieting age is progressively getting lower, yet it’s clear that they are being exposed to the image of an “ideal woman” at an increasingly young age. When comparing the original Merida to the new version the changes are obvious, and changes that children will also take note of. It is my hope that the petition will continue to collect signatures and the original Merida will be allowed into the high-end club of Disney Princesses just as she is.

When We Speak Up, We Are Heard

A Reflection of the April 2013 Lobby Day

Submitted by Britt Ahlstrom

Paid lobbyists sway the minds of politicians. Unpaid lobbyists sway the minds of politicians even more.

That’s why the work of The Emily Program Foundation’s volunteers and our partner, the Eating Disorder Coalition, makes such a difference. On April 17th, we were just fifty individuals meeting with our representatives. But politicians know that for each citizen who contacts them (even by email or phone), there are hundreds of others who feel the same way and didn’t speak up.

Politicians want to do a good job. They care about their constituents. Some of them simply don’t know that eating disorders are a problem. They may not know that eating disorder sufferers are regularly denied treatment by their insurance companies. They may be unaware that researchers struggle to find funding, or that lives could be saved with the right prevention program.

Tell them.

Alone and silent, we are just individuals fed up with our culture’s emphasis on diets and the perfect body. Together in D.C., we are a force. We have a message – more must be done to support eating disorders research, treatment, and education. When we speak up, we are heard.

So contact your representative. Lobby with the Eating Disorders Coalition. Volunteer with The Emily Program Foundation. Your representative exists to represent you, so speak your truth.

Media Monday: Adding Flesh

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

I’ve seen a lot in the media about fashion publishers taking Photoshop to an extreme to cut inches off already emaciated models. But this week I came across an article about fashion publishers adding inches to models frames. I have to tell you, this intrigued me.

According to an article published in the Herald Sun, some publishers covering the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Sydney, actually “added flesh” to the models with Photoshop. For example, Sarah Willcocks, editor of fashion blog Style Melbourne said, “I don’t want my readers thinking bones are glamorous or beautiful.” Another industry insider said she was “concerned about the health of the models.”

Although it saddens me that the modeling industry may be continuing to promote unhealthy weights, it’s an article like this that adds a glimmer of hope. If fashion editors are interested in a more healthy-looking model, then the industry must follow suit.

And interestingly enough, right after reading the article about “adding flesh,” I came across an article published in the Wall Street Journal, titled, “H&M Makes a ‘Brilliant’ Move and embraces the curves.” Apparently in the past, H&M came under scrutiny for using “ridiculously dainty” and “overly-tan models,” but their 2013 beachwear collection used a model that is a little easier for most women to relate to size-wise.

H & M

Photo: H&M

The H&M model featured is Jenny Runk, and apparently she is fantastically outspoken—and I loved her quote used in the Wall Street Journal:

“I hope to be see more companies doing this in the future…I’m not just talking about blurring the line between our silly categories either, I would love to see more of every kind of woman represented equally in fashion and advertising.”

This week I received the latest style catalog from J Crew, and I have to tell you I was a little disgusted by how thin the models looked. Perhaps they have always been this thin, but lately, more than ever I’ve started to question, why does it need to be this way? And how could it change? So instead of of saying, “it’s just the way it is,” I wrote J Crew a letter about how unhealthy their models looked and let them know I don’t plan to purchase their clothes until they show more realistic looking women. Then I emailed my friends asking them to do the same.

We have power in numbers. If you are sick of seeing unreal Photoshoped women, email your favorite magazine or clothing brand. Tell them that you want to see healthy-looking models in all shapes and sizes. Forward the letter to your friends or post it on Facebook and ask others to follow suit.

I’m excited to see the positive changes in the way the media portrays women’s bodies in the (hopefully not-to-distant) future, and have hope that it will make a positive impact on the way girls and women view their bodies. How fantastic is it that everyone is shaped different? How amazing is it that we are each unique. Do me a favor: Give one part of your body that you generally criticize some love today, and ask one person you care about to do the same.