A shameless blog post that mocks women with eating disorders is helping the obscure bro site “Return of Kings” rack up a steadily growing mountain of haters. Since “5 Reasons to Date a Girl was posted last week, the piece has drawn thousands of offended comments, inspired an explosion of angry tweets, and attracted enough unprecedented traffic to crash the website on Tuesday.
The site uses the tagline “Return of masculinity,” which looks curiously like misogyny. Other recent posts include “24 Signs She’s a Slut” and “8 Ways to Spot a Transsexual.” And the current controversial story was clearly designed to raise a ruckus, which it’s done, obviously pleasing the boys behind the site:
For the love of god, please stop sharing our site links. Our server can not handle the load.
— Return Of Kings (@ReturnOfKings) November 19, 2013
Right now we are experiencing very heavy traffic from angry American women. You may not be able to connect for some time.
— Return Of Kings (@ReturnOfKings) November 18, 2013
The piece — which kicks off with a stock photo of a beautiful woman in a red dress and high heels hunched over a toilet bowl — is, natch, upsetting and deeply offensive. It's also a really pathetic attempt at humor.
“It trivializes the illness — and it is an illness, it’s a disorder,” Dr. Robyn Silverman, body-image expert and author of “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It,” tells Yahoo Shine. “People make jokes about a lot of things, though. And bottom line is, it’s not funny.”
It’s also grossly, dangerously inaccurate, and based on a pile of eating-disorder myths. Luckily, critics have not missed a beat. More than 2,000 commenters have angrily swarmed the site, calling the writer out for being an “idiot,” “the worst kind of moron,” “a joke,” and “absurdly misinformed,” and sharing both facts about eating disorders and painful personal stories. One person has already started a Change.org petition to get the story removed, and Twitter is full of tweets from people who are “angry,” “disgusted,” and “sickened.”
The piece, by “Tuthmosis,” begins, “Nothing screams white-girl problems louder than a good old-fashioned eating disorder.” (That, of course, gets an asterisk and an explanation: “While obesity is, in most cases, also an ‘eating disorder,’ this list doesn’t apply to emotional eaters, food addicts, and fatties with no self control.”)
And then we get the list — presented here, blessedly abridged, along with some major corrections we gathered from organizations and experts who actually know what they're talking about:
1. “Her obsession over her body will improve her overall looks.” Not only will they be “rarely fat,” Tuthmoses writes, but, “Girls like this are usually deft at properly dressing their body type, which translates into a more stylish girl overall.”
Correction: In reality, as Silverman tells Shine, an eating disorder is not about vanity, but about control. “If you have a person really suffering from an eating disorder, she’s not wearing tight, fashionable clothes,” explains Silverman. “She’s more likely wearing big, bulky clothing that hides her body, because she believes she is fat, ugly and unworthy of being loved.”
2. "She costs less money." Because, like, they don’t eat much! Get it? Hahahahaha!!!
Correction: The first symptom of bulimia, as noted by the National Eating Disorders Association, is “regular intake of large amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating behavior.” Another warning sign is “evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time.”
3. "She’s fragile and vulnerable." And confidence, as we all know, “renders a woman into an insufferable turd who thinks the world revolves around her,” while women with eating disorders are “eager to please.”
Correction: Women with anorexia “withdraw from usual friends and activities,” and are so obsessed with food rituals like “excessive chewing” and “rearranging food on a plate,” according to the NEDA, that they’re most likely not all that worried about making you happy, fool.
4. "Probably has money of her own." “There aren’t too many poor girls with eating disorders,” according to Tuthmoses.
Correction: “Eating disorders have historically been associated with young, white women of privilege. However, this is a myth — eating disorders do not discriminate,” notes the NEDA website. Men, women of color, gays and lesbians, and people of all ages are affected.
5. "She’s better in bed." Oh right, of course! As the story says: “A girl with an eating disorder has just the right cocktail of pent-up insecurity, neuroses, and daddy issues to ensure that your whole building knows every time you’re beating it up.”
Correction: Feeling fat and ugly is not typically a motivator for getting it on. At least one recent study found that women with eating disorders suffer disproportionately from sexual dysfunction, including “loss of libido, sexual anxiety, and avoidance of sexual relationships.”