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When Did We Start Using Mental Illness as an Insult?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

When I was originally planning to write my article for this week, I was going to write it on how Victoria’s Secret is stealing Tringl bikini designs… because well, they are. However, when I was sitting down to do so, I received a call from my little sister and that changed everything.

My little sister is a petite build in every way. She stands 4’8” from the ground and weighs about 83 pounds with a healthy BMI. However, compared to the rest of her 8th grade classmates, she is constantly bullied for being too short and too skinny.

Being as tiny as she is, she has an even bigger personality to go along with it, but after daily questions and comments from classmates telling her she’s too skinny and that she needs to eat more or calling her anorexic she broke down and called me.

There are two things wrong with this. First, it is NO ONES business to tell you that your body is too skinny, too fat, too anything. IT. IS. YOUR. BODY. Your body, your mind. Meaning if you feel healthy, if you wake up every day and can take on the day feeling energized, happy, relaxed, and confident then it is NO ONES business to tell you that your body doesn’t fit their perception of beauty or how they think you should look like.

Second, eating disorders are a very real thing. They affect 24 million people, all ages and gender, in the US alone! Therefore, it is NEVER okay to use a mental illness as a way to insult someone. Just like it is not ok to call people retarded, it is not ok to go around and call people anorexic or bulimic just because they don’t fit your ideal body type.

By calling someone who does not have an eating disorder anorexic and bulimic it can seriously affect their self-esteem and well-being as a person, lowering their body confidence creating insecurities that should never have been a problem.

On the other hand, you never know what somebody is going through, and often times we think we can assume so because someone is well-liked, pretty and smart that they might have everything in their life together. However, what you might not know is that person may have suffered from an eating disorder growing up because according to the National Organization of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 95% of those who have an eating disorder are between the ages of 12-26, and by telling them that they are too skinny or anorexic you might have just triggered an emotional time for them, one that they fought to get through. You may have just diminished the body that they are proud and brought them back to their mental illness.

As women, we need to not use mental illness terms when referring to other women’s bodies. In fact, as women we should be supporting each other and standing up for everybody’s body types. There is something beautiful in all of us from curves to edges, and it is time we stand together to empower each other from moments of high to low.

Make a promise to yourself. Next time you see someone commenting on someone else’s weight or getting picked on for being either too skinny or too fat tell them confidently and simply that you think they look great! Words are extremely powerful, and it is important to know what you are saying at all times. It is NEVER okay to use a mental illness as an insult. Mental illnesses are a very real thing affecting the youth in America and instead of using them as terms to put someone down, be aware of the signs and be willing to help a friend in need if they really are suffering from anorexia or bulimia.

Eating Disorders Statistics

Mia Lepp is currently beginning her third year at Florida State University as a double major in Marketing and Media Communication Studies. She is a writer and has a passion for traveling the world. When she's not writing about the latest going on at FSU she is a part time yogi, and trying to find inner peace at her favorite hot yoga class.
Her Campus at Florida State University.