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"I used to look at Tumblr and see a lot of skinny white girls" - Georgia on why eating disorders are black women's issues too

We’re supporting The Guardian’s Speak your Mind series – a project shedding light on the impact mental illness has on the lives of young people. 

In this episode, The Guardian spoke to 22-year-old Georgia, who describes her struggle coping with eating disorders throughout her teenage years.

Georgia used to look at Tumblr and see pictures of “skinny white girls”. Viewing these images impacted the way Georgia viewed her own body – she began to starve herself to try to lose as much weight as possible and emulate the women on Tumblr.   

In the last three or four years of Georgia’s teenage years, she endured a cycle of binge-eating, starving herself and then purging, which dominated her life.

Georgia goes onto describe how she felt socially dispositioned because she is black, never seeing images of black women on ‘thinspiration’ websites made her question whether she was even ill, she says: “You think you’re being a bad anorexic, or bad at bulimia because you’re not skinny enough. There’s no way that no one’s going to believe you that you’re ill, which is part of the reason I didn’t think I was for so long." 

Georgia wonders why black women are rarely identified as having eating disorders. 

She speaks to Kuba, a body positivity writer about how important it is to see body types reflected in a wider space that match yours.

Key facts:

  • It is estimated that more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder
  • The most common eating disorders are: anorexia, bulimia and binge eating
  • One in five black, Asian and minority ethnic people with mental health issues feel they are treated less favourably by their own communities

Source: The Guardian, 2017 

Mental health research has the power to gain better understanding to create specialist treatments for young people like Georgia dealing with the challenges of mental illness. Find out about how we're transforming young people's mental health.

For more information, help and advice on eating disorders please click here. 

Last updated: 3 March 2017

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