New Netflix Film ‘To the Bone’ About Disordered Eating Creates Controversy

disordered eating

New Netflix Film ‘To the Bone’ About Disordered Eating Creates Controversy

Disordered eating is the ugly, ignored cousin to eating disorders. It often runs unidentified, never being noticed as a real threat until it’s too late and it’s already transformed into a full blown eating disorder (ED). It seems that the media is striving to put more attention on mental health disorders, but this can also raise worries.

Netflix recently announced their plan to release an original movie about a girl with an ED–but many are afraid this is a mistake and could actually inspire disordered eating.

What the movie is about

disordered eatingTo the Bone, Netflix’s new original movie, is about a 20-year-old girl named Ellen–and Ellen is struggling with anorexia nervosa.

In the movie, she’s battled anorexia through most of her teenage years and is still battling it as a young adult, which prompts her family to agree and send her to a group home for youths trying to work through their mental health issues.

Most of the movie happens inside the group home, which is run by “unconventional” Dr. Beckham. It shows the challenges that not just Ellen faces, but her whole family faces as a result of her illness. It also shows how she learns to overcome anorexia.

Some say the movie could inspire or trigger disordered eating

The main concern is that the movie could potentially trigger relapses for those recovering from an ED. Anorexia is a very visual-based disorder, meaning that images portraying the extremity of anorexia could negatively impact those who have actually lived it.

The other concern is that the movie is going to glamorize EDs. Much like 13 Reasons Why, critics are afraid that To the Bone makes anorexia look like an experience that can easily lead to deep connections with others and an eventual happy ending. It also makes it seem as if getting over an ED is a fairly easy task in the end–that you can just picture something awful happening as a result of your disorder and suddenly get over it.

The argument for To the Bone

It’s a controversy, which means there’s two sides. The creator of the movie, Marti Noxon, based the movie off of her own experiences with anorexia. Because of this, the movie has very realistic depictions of what the disorder can do to not just the person experiencing it, but to those surrounding them that care about the individual the most.

While this does have the potential to trigger those who are in the midst of battling an ED or have battled one, advocates argue that those triggers are everywhere. They say that a movie like To the Bone is starting important conversations and getting society to really pay attention to these disorders instead of acting like they’re rare cases.

A controversy that will continue

Overall, it’s hard to fully agree with either side. Both have very valid points. To the Bone does seem to borderline glamorize–or at least minimize–the struggle that those with anorexia face at times. But it also does start a very important discussion of what disordered eating and EDs are and how to help those who suffer from them.

ViewPoint is here for your family

ViewPoint Center is an assessment center for teens, ages 12 to 17. At ViewPoint Center, we provide treatment through superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization–all in a personalized environment for your child in crisis. We strive to provide the best help for troubled teens through the most efficient and effective methods available. Our goal is to help your child through this hard time.  

Before ViewPoint, families are often frustrated and lost. Varying doctors and therapists with a range of advice, diagnoses, and plans leaves parents and children unsure of where to turn. At ViewPoint, we centralize all of the different diagnoses, and create a comprehensive report for you and your family to get back on track. Let us help you.

For more information about how we help with disordered eating at ViewPoint Center, contact us today at 801-825-5222.

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