Amazon comes under fire for selling hoodie trivializing eating disorders

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Amazon is under fire for selling a crass sweatshirt that many believe trivializes eating disorders.

The hoodie, sold by a third-party retailer, reads: “Anorexia, like bulimia, except with self-control.”

There are a number of things wrong with the sweatshirt, but the biggest is that it treats eating disorders as a joke. For far too long, eating disorders have regularly been dismissed as a non-issue instead of the dangerous mental illnesses they are.

Because a large number of people who struggle with disordered eating are young women, it is common for people to brush them off as a “cry for attention”, “a phase”, or even sheer vanity. This lets the dangerous and potentially life-threatening disorders become worse and worse while those affected feel more isolated from essential support structures.

These ideas make many feel like they can’t talk to their friends, family, or doctor because they are constantly being told their eating disorder isn’t a “real problem.”

Many in the eating disorder support community have criticized the sweatshirt for spreading these dangerous messages, including the National Eating Disorders Association.

NEDA chief executive Claire Mysko released a statement responding to the hoodie, saying:

“Jokes about eating disorders are dangerous and cliché. This hoodie propagates the myth that eating disorders are trivial and mere issues of willpower or self-control. Stereotypes like this result in increased stigma and are barriers that prevent people from seeking help. Anorexia is not a ‘lifestyle choice,’ it is a mental health disorder with socio-biological influences.”

Some have used the fact that the sweatshirt is being sold by a third-party retailer, rather than direct from Amazon, to suggest the mega-online retailer shares little of the blame for distributing clothing with dangerous messages like these. However, the retailer has still not removed the item after weeks of repeated requests for violating the company’s guidelines. Instead, Amazon has yet to comment on the situation at all.

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