Saturday, November 28, 2009


African+American+women-eating+disorders(Click table to enlarge)

"I think race and size should never be in the same sentence."
~ Alisha

Yesterday, I received this e-mail from Alisha* (*not her real name):


This maybe kinda off subject..........

I think your website is a great way to show people the consequences of eating disorders. I have to tell the truth, I found this site on accident. I belong to a lot of pro ana communities on livejournal.

I know eating disorders are a disease and not a lifestyle. I don't promote them, but I do think being thin is great. I am kinda proud of my eating disorder. I hope to change that one day. I was looking for "thinspiration", and I saw a video on youtube about Isabelle Caro, so I decided to search for articles about her. One of the results I got was your website.

My name is Alisha and I am 18 years old. I'm a black girl who has EDNOS. I have done it all (starve, binge and purge, diet pills, you name it.) I have been seeing a psychiatrist for about 3 years. I'm 5'3 91.8 pounds. I was 88 pounds last week but because of Thanksgiving I have gained a couple of pounds. I would like to weigh about 85 pounds, but I know that's not healthy.

I became very angry when a girl made a comment about my desire to be thin. She said "black girls are supposed to be voluptuous". I got angry because I think race and size should never be in the same sentence. I think that people should know that anyone can suffer from an eating disorder.

I have never seen an article about a black girl with an eating disorder. So, maybe it is ok for people to think all black girls are or should be voluptuous?

I feel alone sometimes because I don't know any black girls with an eating disorder. I would feel embarrassed for people to know I have one because of my race. I just want other girls of all races to know that anyone can have an eating disorder.

I would also like to say your website has opened my eyes. I knew eating disorders kill, but reading the stories about other people shows death is real.

One day maybe I will realize what I have done to myself and start to love myself. I have to be honest I don't know if I even want to. If I get better maybe I can become a counselor or a psychiatrist who helps boys and girls of all races with all types of mental health problems.

Thanks for listening,


Alisha, eating disorders do not discriminate. Anorexia and bulimia strike girls of every race and colour.

From the Psychiatric Times:

"More recent evidence suggests that the pre-valence of anorexia nervosa among African-Americans is higher than previously thought and is rising. A survey of readers of a popular African-American fashion magazine (see picture chart above) found levels of abnormal eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction that were at least as high as a similar survey of Caucasian women, with a significant negative correlation between body dissatisfaction and a strong black identity (Pumariega et al., 1994). It has been hypothesized that thinness is gaining more value within the African-American culture, just as it has in the Caucasian culture (Hsu, 1987).

Other American ethnic groups also may have higher levels of eating disorders than previously recognized (Pate et al., 1992). A recent study of early adolescent girls found that Hispanic and Asian-American girls showed greater body dissatisfaction than white girls (Robinson et al., 1996). Furthermore, another recent study has reported levels of disordered eating attitudes among rural Appalachian adolescents that are comparable to urban rates (Miller et al., in press). Cultural beliefs that may have protected ethnic groups against eating disorders may be eroding as adolescents acculturate to mainstream American culture (Pumariega, 1986)."
(Link: Psychiatric Times)

Alisha, please check out video on laurenasia's * video on Youtube:


* Laurenasia:

"Now I'm a Grad student at UMD working on 2 Masters Degrees, the overused Masters in Business Admin and then the wonderfully ridiculous Masters in Financial Managment and Info Systems. The Info systems I kinda like.

Professional model and tutor part time. I have 2 chihuahuas Prince and Duchess.

I wouldn't classify myself as sane. I'm a yogini-Hatha Vinyasa and power.

I've also suffered from clinical Anorexia Nervosa for 6 years. However my happiest time has been during recovery, which is what I'm working on now for the 2nd time around. I also have generalized anxiety disorder, but I finally grew some ovaries and started to upload vids.

If you want to chat, just need an ear to listen, or wanna be internet buddies!!! j/k, but no really... any of these links will lead to that: "
(from YouTube)

Please get help before it's too late, Alisha. Eating disorders ARE deadly.

Follow on Buzz


Brandee said...

Alisha my heart cries for you. I know the pain to well an battle 20 years. I was in a hospital a little over 3 months recently and there were asian, black, hispanic, and white! we were a well mix an blend. I was a minority in treatment as girls and guys came an went. Don't look at the color of your skin but the disease itself an seek treatment.
Please email me or find me on facebook as i have a support group through facebook also.
Brande (one e) Gomer on facebook and

Mel said...

Dear Medusa

I just wanted to thank you for your blog which I have found very informative, and brilliantly written. I am particularly appreciative of the images and stories you provide, which shed light on what is a truly devastating spectrum of disorders.

As someone trying to work through recovery in an ethnic culture where anorexia "doesn't happen" I found Alisha's story particularly touching.

Alisha, I hope you are able to recover from this disease and discover all that life has to offer you. My heart goes out to you and your years of suffering.

Medusa, Alisha, thank you again for sharing. You inspire me to keep climbing up this hill.

Medusa said...

Mel, thanks so much for your lovely comment. I know Alisha will appreciate it, as well.


Kay said...

I was pretty far on the road to getting anorexia some years ago before I regained my senses. You know, the usual story: perfectionist, not too pretty, overweight, wanted to lose some pounds and figured that since _I knew what it was about_, I could _control anorexia_ and use it to get rid of the extra baggage.

God, I wish I could go back in time and slap myself silly. I never went far enough to be officially labelled anorexic or suffer any serious damage, but it left me with problems when it comes to food. Not remembering to eat because I got used to the hunger pains, checking the calories in everything, following my weight obsessively, food is just... nutrition.

These days, still overweight, perfectionist etc., and sometimes I think that now that I know that I'm just as suspectible to it, I could control it. Just for a little while. Nothing serious. Just, just a little.

I keep coming back to your blog and seeing all the sick stick-thin girls, anorexia in all its horrible ugliness, and reminding myself that it's not worth the risk. Not for a couple of pounds. Not for one single pound.

Thank you.

Medusa said...

Kay, thanks so much for commenting.

You're right...anorexia is not worth the risk. You'll be caught in the vortex before you know it. Tt's deadly.

Keep strong, and again, many thanks for taking the time to comment.

~ Medusa

Laila said...

I know you are not alone being black and have an ED. I've been a part of an ED forum for years, and i have friends there who is also black...
Race has nothing to do with having an ED. Everyone can get an ED.

sorry to hear how you feel, but know you are not alone.


SinkorSwim said...

I know this is very late and the chances of you or anyone else seeing this is slim, but I wanted you to know that you are definately NOT alone. I read your story and wanted to cry, not just because of what you are going through. Also because of my initial reaction for what you're going through. My first thought was "She's thinner than me". How pathetic is that? Reading this post, I cried. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. God give us strength. <3 <3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

Hey Alisha. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I am also a black girl with an eating disorder and I too felt like I was the only one until I read this post. Its good to know that someone else feels the same as you do.
stay strong