SAULT STE MARIE, ON --- October 17, 2011 -- Meet Anna Rexia. One online Halloween shop’s description reads, “If Anna Rexia doesn't want to put it in her mouth there is nothing you can say to change her mind. You can stop trying to sell her on the point that there aren't any carbs and it's all protein because Anna Rexia just doesn't want anything to do with it. Make no bones about it this girl is as disciplined as they can get. Anna Rexia costume is anything but bare bones! Costume includes headband, choker neckband, removable ‘Anna Rexia’ badge and ribbon tie belt. If you're starving for attention, this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world."
The costume comes with a black bodysuit, skeleton bones showing, and accessories, including a measuring tape belt and measuring tape choker.
The manufacturer of the costume, Dreamgirl, discontinued the costume a couple years ago; however it can still be purchased at a few online vendors.
Personally, I find it hard to believe that individuals who are aware of and educated about eating disorders would ever consider purchasing this costume so I’d like to use this controversy as an opportunity to bring about awareness of the illness anorexia nervosa.
Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness? There are an estimated 85 000 people suffering from eating disorders in Ontario alone. It is reported that children as young as 10 to 14 years of age diet to lose weight even though they fall within a healthy weight range.
For more statistics I recommend visiting the National Eating Disorder Information Centre.The following are signs that may indicate a person is developing or currently has an eating disorder:
• Erratic sleeping habits
• Thinning hair or hair loss
• Yellowish tone to skin
• Extreme sensitivity to cold
• Scarring or red abrasion on tops of hands or knuckles
• Pre-occupation with food
• Ritualistic habits with food
• Preoccupied with what others think of them
• Unrealistic perception of body shape
• Intense fear of weight gain
• Guilt or fear about eating meals
• Trips to the bathroom directly after eating
• Compulsive dieting
• Rigid or extreme exercise regimens
• Excessive use of laxatives, enemas, or diet pills
• Wearing baggy or layered clothing to conceal weight loss
• Denying there is a problem
• Depression, irritability, anxiety, moodiness
• Extreme sensitiveness to criticism or comments
• Low self-esteem or self-loathing
• Perfectionist, driven, obsessive
• Poor concentration, poor judgement
The above list is courtesy of Sheena’s Place which I highly recommend visiting for further information.
The fact that a costume like this exists may be partly due to the stigma that still surrounds mental illness. Do you think we would we ever see a sexy “cancer patient” costume, for example? Mental illness, eating disorders are illnesses. They are as “real” as cancer or heart disease. I know some people have commented, “Well, it’s just a Halloween costume. Have a sense of humour.” But do we run the risk of delegitimizing the severity of eating disorders?
What do you think of Anna Rexia?
Candice Esposito, ND
For Lake Superior News