It might seem like an odd concept, but this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Unfortunately, it's still necessary: In the United States, roughly 10 million men and 20 million women will suffer at some point in their lives from a serious eating disorder. On college campuses, eating disorders have overtaken every other mental illness when it comes to mortality rate.
Many groups try to promote healthy body image and eating disorder awareness, to varying success. Here are the top campaigns and advertisements to enjoy — and avoid at all costs.
Let's get the worst out of the way:
AVOID: #bikinibridge, Also: #proana, and #promia
Seriously, a bikini bridge is a thing. For those of you fortunate never to have come across the term, it refers to the space the lower part of your bikini makes when your stomach is so concave that the material can't touch it. It's also one of the grossest hoaxes-to-become-hashtags to have ever hit twitter.
Even worse are #proana (aka pro-anorexia) and #promia (aka pro-bulimia), blogs and hashtags that glamorize eating disorders, post eating-disorder tips, and generally fester in the depths of human insecurities.
AVOID: Reddit's Strange, Dark, Fat-Shaming World
Deep inside the world of Reddit is a section called r/fatpeoplestories, where 60,000 subscribers gather to invent words (like "hamplanet") and other ways to make fun of overweight people. It's pretty much just a place where sad people congregate to make themselves feel better by making bad puns. They probably punch puppies while they do it, too.
AVOID: The Superbowl's Creepy Nacho Ad
AVOID: This Person's Really, Really Not Amusing Meme
This story has to be one of the most grotesque instances of fat-shaming to go through the social media world in the last year. In short, a woman's "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" picture became a meme, and that meme was rude, and that meme went viral.
ENJOY: This Awesome Lustworthy Campaign
This incredible photo series by Baker and K (also behind May's “Attractive and Fat” campaign aimed at Abercrombie and Fitch) showcases a "fat" man and "beautiful" woman standing in sexual poses, supposedly for a perfume named Lustworthy. The fake ads effectively challenge the way certain body types are used and presented as desirable. They're also pretty cute.
ENJOY: Project HEAL's #RecoveryIs Campaign
Project HEAL's campaign is hoping to take the attention away from the eating disorders (and their causes), and instead focus on raising awareness about the recovery process. Which is a nice change. What is recovery for you?
ENJOY: Anti-Bulimia Stickers on Toilets
Ok, potentially problematic, we'll grant you that. But it's got good intentions: a guerrilla campaign organized by ProMädchen and a German ad agency has created anti-bulimia stickers with the tagline "Bulimia is curable." The stickers (which include a hotline for help) are stuck on toilet lids in schools and colleges.
ENJOY: Whitney Thore's No Shame Body Campaign "Fat Girl Dancing" Videos
ENJOY : American Eagle's #aeriereal Campaign
Apparently, the underwear and swimsuit maker Aerie will no longer be using airbrushed models in its ads now. On top of that, the ads will also now show a range of bra sizes (instead of the standard B cup), ranging from A to DD. Of course, the beautiful women in the ads are still pretty skinny, but hey, improvements are improvements, eh?