What has a greater stigma: obesity or anorexia?

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the_lost_boy
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I've recovered from anorexia and found that I did face some backlash while I was in the throes of the illness, particularly from my family and from some of my friends... however, I never had anyone walk up to me in a store and inspect my groceries. I've got a female friend who is on the opposite end of the spectrum with binge eating disorder who struggles with obesity, and apparently complete strangers think it is okay to come up to her and inspect her groceries.

My treatment for anorexia was as costly as the health risks associated with her obesity (if not more costly)--- so why didn't I face the same discrimination?

Then again, I also met other people while I was in treatment who said they faced discrimination for being skin-and-bones all the time.

What are your thoughts on the matter?
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zippity.doodah
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probably anorexia, unfortunately
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Mankytoes
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(Original post by the_lost_boy)
I've recovered from anorexia and found that I did face some backlash while I was in the throes of the illness, particularly from my family and from some of my friends... however, I never had anyone walk up to me in a store and inspect my groceries. I've got a female friend who is on the opposite end of the spectrum with binge eating disorder who struggles with obesity, and apparently complete strangers think it is okay to come up to her and inspect her groceries.

My treatment for anorexia was as costly as the health risks associated with her obesity (if not more costly)--- so why didn't I face the same discrimination?

Then again, I also met other people while I was in treatment who said they faced discrimination for being skin-and-bones all the time.

What are your thoughts on the matter?
If you're wearing normal, unrevealing clothes, I'm assuming people cannot tell you're anorexic and not just a regular skinny girl? You can't hide obesity, that's probably the main difference. I don't think the grocery inspection thing is common, anyway. It certainly isn't discrimination, as you seem to be saying, it's probably a sign that you would discriminate, but it isn't discriminating in itself.

They're seen differently. Anorexia is seen primarily as a mental illness, obesity as a result of laziness and poor lifestyle. I think people would be more concerned about upsetting an anorexic, but they might still be judging them more.
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alexschmalex
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I think obese people have it worse, especially how being damn near anorexic is basically glorified nowadays. That isn't to say that anorexic people aren't also treated differently, but a fat person is more likely to be teased/bullied/prejudged about it than an anorexic person imo. I guess people also pity anorexic people more since (from what I've heard) it's often a cause of being afraid eating will make them either fat or ugly while with obesity it's seen as a lack of self control. That thing of strangers inspecting her groceries is just crazy, people like that shouldn't be allowed outside
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Mockery
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I have far less sympathy for the obese, I can understand anorexia and the implications of psycological and mental illness on ones appetite/response to food, where it gets to the point where it's almost impossible to eat despite being surrounded by food.

The obese arn't forced to eat, they may find comfort in food but they only have themselves to blame for their over indulgence.
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interstitial
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Definitely obesity. More people are bullied due to being overweight rather than being too skinny, which is sometimes even seen as a good thing! :eek:

Also, anorexia is primarily seen as a mental disorder which is out of your control whereas obesity is seen as a choice to eat loads.
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CJKay
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Obesity for sure, as everybody seems to think "well I enjoy eating too, why can't you just control yourself like me?" whereas with anorexia most people don't understand the want to starve yourselves so the natural reaction tends to be "oh there must really be something wrong with them".
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Asariond
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If you are obese then you are far more likely to be bullied or harassed for it, not to mention the fact that being 'fat' is the object of ridicule and humiliation which form the baseline of plenty of terrible comedy acts and shows. If you're anorexic, you're probably going to be pitied rather than stigmatised. Problem is, the media always portrays the ideal woman - and the ideal man as well, although to a perhaps lesser degree - as having no body fat whatsoever, yet still looking healthy, and that is impossible for 99.9% of women because of their genetics, and similarly, the ideal body shape for men is incredibly difficult to reach as well, again due to genetics. I'd argue that anorexia is actually encouraged by the media every single day, because it builds up the idea in a person's mind that you must be skinny to be attractive and being attractive is everything therefore becoming skinny is everything, which means some people actually glamourise some aspects of anorexia. There's also the fact that anorexia is in-and-of-itself an issue with many mental health implications (due to the afore-mentioned atrocious social conditioning) which leads many to understand that it's not the anorexic's fault they have it, whereas obesity can be caused by anything from mental health to a lack of self-discipline, stress-eating, or a sudden change in lifestyle.

At any rate, you deserve the greatest of praise for overcoming your anorexia. It's never easy, but you've done an absolutely fantastic thing, and you should be so proud of yourself for getting healthy again. Congratulations!
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Hype en Ecosse
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(Original post by Mockery)
I have far less sympathy for the obese, I can understand anorexia and the implications of psycological and mental illness on ones appetite/response to food, where it gets to the point where it's almost impossible to eat despite being surrounded by food.

The obese arn't forced to eat, they may find comfort in food but they only have themselves to blame for their over indulgence.
This sort of attitude is part of the stigma. While not all obesity is comorbid with mental illness or unhealthy cognitive patterns (unlike anorexia nervosa, which is a devastating illness), a not insignificant amount is. It's not always the case that someone is obese because they love food and won't stop shoving it down their gullet: it's a more complex relationship of society and culture, personal relationship with food, and psychological and physical comorbidity. There's a reason that obesity increases with increasing socioeconomic deprivation; with increased prevalence in depressed populations; increased prevalence in chronic disease...it's not simply that these groups are making the choice to eat themselves into excess - and simplifying it to such a degree contributes to this sort of stigma, and makes public health intervention much harder for everyone involved.

(Original post by Arithmeticae)
Definitely obesity. More people are bullied due to being overweight rather than being too skinny, which is sometimes even seen as a good thing! :eek:

Also, anorexia is primarily seen as a mental disorder which is out of your control whereas obesity is seen as a choice to eat loads.
I wouldn't be too sure about the latter statement. The misunderstanding of mental illness is still something that afflicts a very large portion of the population - I'd be willing to bet that there are a large number of people who believe that people with anorexia are simply too weak-willed to overcome their illness; and that there will be a large number of people who wonder why they don't just choose to eat more.

I was always a thin lad at school, due to poor education about food and an unhealthy relationship with it, but people would always non-chalantly tell me they think I'm anorexic and tell me I should just eat more. Now, I've never suffered from the illness, but if I had, being exposed to that sort of attitude would have been incredibly upsetting and distressing - I wouldn't be so quick to label overall societal attitude as "anorexia nervosa is not a choice."
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Snagprophet
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Perhaps anorexia. At least some obese people can be eating normally and have a terrible metabolism. Anorexia is a mental illness.
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the_lost_boy
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(Original post by Asariond)
At any rate, you deserve the greatest of praise for overcoming your anorexia. It's never easy, but you've done an absolutely fantastic thing, and you should be so proud of yourself for getting healthy again. Congratulations!
Thank you so much! It hasn't been easy, but I've been examining my relationship with food and finding out a lot about myself. It's an ongoing journey, but I think I've got it beaten now.
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iloveteddy14
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I am kinda 50/50 obesity simply because at the moment due to mental health reasons I am comfort eating as way of coping with emotions as result I am almost obese but you would assume that I need to lose weight yet you see others who have no self control and don't care if they waste tax payers money.


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WitnessMO
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i got to say anorexia. People don't like people who are ill and have almost hopeless chances of recovery. Obesity is so common, people just regard it as unattractive rather than an illness.
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FrankJaegar
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anorexia is closer to health than obesity.
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the_lost_boy
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(Original post by FrankJaegar)
anorexia is closer to health than obesity.
Not really. Anorexia has higher mortality rates than any other mental illness.

The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
(source)
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Revenged
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I don't really agree with most of you to be honest.

Obesity is classified bmi 30-35 and is very normal. Particularly when people having the a 'middle age spread' or a 'beer belly', I really don't think such people get much judgement as it is so prevalent.

I think morbid obesity or obesity in the young can be more difficult. However anorexia is a highly stigmatised condition. Very thin people are perceived as all neurotic, weak and many get public abuse and bullied as they are seen as easy targets.

I think, however, that eating disorders are often hidden. Many people binge, cause self harm and have often worse psychological problems but are often ignored as bmi is 'normal'.
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HeyFromNY_USA
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Obesity isn't creepy. Anorexia looks like walking death, often. Obesity is a good thing in many societies around the world; anorexia is scary. People choosing to starve over someone who enjoys food doesn't sit well with many people. In most of the world, even if it simply goes against magazine covers, being chubby is a good thing. It shows you have food. Good thing. Amazing.

Amazing.
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Revenged
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Haha true that. In Africa being fat means rich and healthy. Thin is associated with poverty. Weight loss people think you are dying or severely sick HIV /TB !
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manchesterunited15
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Dunno but it should be obesity. Anorexia is a mental illness, obesity is just being lazy and having no self control.
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username1003420
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Definitely obesity
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