Butterfly foundation

Don’t “DIS” the Eating Disorder That Could Have Killed Me 2

Being the irritable type that I am, there are many things that piss me off. Some of them however, take the biscuit. Case to point: this recent campaign run by The Butterfly Foundation.

What are they doing?

They have a campaign up called, “Don’t DIS my Appearance,” calling Australians (because they are an Aussie foundation) to take a stand against a culture of appearance-based judgement and negative body image by sending them money and painting a fingernail to show support.


For those of you who have not suffered or had close experience with an eating disorder such as anorexia, The Butterfly Foundation’s campaign may look innocent enough, and you would probably think that they are going a good thing for all the poor and misguided little girls in the world who starve themselves because they don’t think they are beautiful. Cute Butterfly Foundation. Cute.

If you have lived though a clinical eating disorder, had a child suffer from one, or read any of my blogs, you will probably understand why this pushes all my buttons.

Here is why:


1. Eating Disorders Are Biologically-Based Diseases

They are not caused by negative body image. This is fact. Now, that alone is enough to show that The Butterfly Foundation don’t know shit about eating disorders. This makes me wonder what exactly they are fundraising for? How is this money being spent? Because you can bet it is not being spent on evidence-based treatment or anything that will actually help save a life. They are probably spending it on nail polishes to give to us poor body-image wreaked sufferers so that we can paint our nails and feel better about ourselves. Gee Wizz, I wish I had known that I could have overcome anorexia by making myself feel more beautiful. Silly me, I should have simply gone out and got my hair done or something.

Hello Butterfly Foundation! Eating disorders are nothing to do with wanting to look good!


2. It Stereotypes

Even if I wanted to support their cause, I don’t like wearing nail varnish. Seriously though, this assumes that all the sufferers and supporters are female, which ties into another myth. Men get eating disorders too. That is another fact.


3. It Damages

I—along with good company—spend a good amount of time trying to dispel myths about eating disorders, when an organization like this runs a campaign that enforces bad information it is harmful to research funding and healthcare resource campaigns.


Take Autism for Example . . .

Remember when everyone thought that autism was a result of bad parenting? Okay, so this would be like running a campaign in support of autism where the focus was helping stressed out parents be nicer people. Sure, seems harmless enough, but for anyone who understood that autism is nothing to do with parents, it would have been like being slapped in the face with a wet fish.


Why I Support IEDA’s action:

This Butterly shit show was brought to my attention by International Eating Disorder Action’s (IEDA) Jennifer Oulette after she read this article by Helen Razer. IDEA push for #TruthInAdvocacy because bad publicity for eating disorders is so very harmful at this point in time. We simply cannot afford for any more campaigns that label eating disorders as a vanity-based problem of low-self esteem to get the limelight any longer.


Love Fat—my book—has been published on Amazon and Kindle.


Butterfly Foundation and eating disorders

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About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t “DIS” the Eating Disorder That Could Have Killed Me

  • Mari

    No dis here! When a child going through tremendous family misery, I would put food in my mouth and chew, but could not swallow. When I got married at 18, I weighed 69 lbs. Couldn’t have children until 15 years into the marriage because of my lack of fat on the body…biologically, it was fairly impossible – best birth control. Was I anorexic? I’ve never been able to go over 115-116 lbs!
    Now, that I have cancer and should have great nutrition, I’m turned off by everything I loved eating, i.e. steak, sushi, shrimp, lobster, fish, crab, pork chops, chicken, ice cream, chocolate, smoothies, water, etc. I cannot even pot them close to my mouth, never mind chew and swallow. I’m getting close to my initial marriage weight; dangerously close. Basically, the sight of food makes me sick! Am I anorexic? Do I need to look in the mirror and do all I can to be beautiful? Back then and now?
    It is insulting, it is an affront for this foundation to be so amazingly superficial, but then, society and the modeling fields have trained us all to embrace and accept beauty as skin and bones. Now, it is swinging the other way. The more ample, the better and healthier looking, which is as unhealthy and deadly as anorexia; just the other side of the coin; obesity kills too! It’s all about the cover, no content of the story book. Yeah, I support your opinion and travails through a disease that is very dangerous and has many root causes that no one bothers look into. Kudos to you Tabs!