14 Noviembre 2016 09:38
When I was a teenager, I could easily tell if someone had a weight problem, be it a case of too little or too much. But now, because of overexposure to both extremes, I find it more and more difficult to pinpoint something that was once so obvious to me.
Seeing so many anorexic and obese people means that half the time I have no idea where to set the bar.
But the case of Eugenia Cooney is so serious that even I, with my skewed standards, couldn't miss it.
To put it bluntly, Eugenia is dying. And her death is being broadcasted, video by video, via her YouTube channel.
After countless videos in which other youtubers pleaded for help on Cooney's behalf, only for nothing to be done in response, this Twitter user decided to start a petition on Change.org demanding that she be banned from YouTube. For her own good as well as that of her followers.
You can only recover from a disease like anorexia if you're completely aware of the problem.
But it's clear from Eugenia's videos that she's far from coming to terms with the situation:
“People tend to want to talk about why they think I look too skinny in their opinion, I don't even know whey they like to discuss how I look so much. I'm just kind of naturally like that I guess. There isn't really a reason.”
It's unfair to persecute a sick person and hold her responsible for anything her followers might do. But the social networking platform via which she emits her content does have the power to take action.
If YouTube was a lawless town in the style of 4chan, no one would be able to utter a word about the issue, but considering the extent to which the site increasingly regulates its content, it's hard to believe that they've decided not to intervene. Or perhaps they only take action when it's their sponsors are in danger of being offended...
As the petition explains, the majority of Cooney's audience are teenage girls. Denying her problem is giving them the impression that weighing 30kg is normal, and this is pure poison for all the girls who are already predisposed towards developing unhealthy relationships with food, or those who are trying to overcome them.
These types of channels leave us with the horrible feeling that the internet is, and always will be, a seething digital hotbed for the pro-ana/pro-mia movement. But this negative attitude has a lot to do with the fact that the most of us have failed to notice the other side of the coin.
Transformation over 3 years. Left one: 16, poorly and extremely sick. Middle one: 17, after 9 months of hospital and gained 15kg since the first one. Right: 19, mentally and physically recovered after having had many ups and downs from the middle one. Weight difference middle and right one again about 7-8kg (did you think that?;)) I never wanted to post the picture on the middle, I remember that I was happy I had gained weight but I wasn't very happy with my body. Mainly because I felt like I had gained all of the weight on my belly area. And that's also a question I get asked sooo many times. It is true though that you might gain around your belly area first because your body tries to protect the most important organs. Just imagine that when you're underweight, there is literally no fat on your body and fat is one of the main protectors for your organs. When you start eating more, your body will notice it and try to repair the damage you've done to it and nourish and protect the organs. That's why you gain at this area at first. (Very short explanation ;D) But I promise that with time everything will distribute. If you want you can also start with moderate exercising once you're almost weight restored and mentally prepared for it, it might help in the process. (do not exaggerate and make sure it doesn't become an obsession or a way to compensate eating. Exercising is a difficult topic when having an eating disorder..!). I just don't want you to think you should stop with eating, keep on giving your best and I promise you'll see soon that everything will distribute and you'll get a nice, recovered body which will look soo much better than being skin and bones?
Everyday more and more youtubers uploading videos in which they talk about their recovery or discuss their past and present battles with the disease, but always with the intention of winning the war on eating disorders. On Instagram, girls lose their fear of calories together by sharing what they've eaten with hashtags like #eatingdisorderrecovery, proudly showing the pounds, and life, they've fought to reclaim.
We can't snap our fingers and make pro-eating disorder accounts and communities disappear, but what sites like YouTube can do is give more visibility to those who are fighting to create change.
Content creators and social media platforms have the power to make the internet a space where girls talk more about Ana and Mia, even if it's just in an attempt to learn the lesson.