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Films and books to read to understand what it means to have DCA

And how to be close to people who suffer from it

Films and books to read to understand what it means to have DCA And how to be close to people who suffer from it

Today, March 15th, is the National Lilac Bow Day, dedicated to eating disorders. It's a delicate field, one that is unfortunately under-addressed at an institutional level, especially in Italy. It requires handling with utmost care, particularly towards those in our lives who have suffered from or may be suffering from such disorders. To learn more, here's what we can do, starting with movies and books, to understand firsthand and support those affected.

Movies to Watch about Eating Disorders

The portrayal of individuals with eating disorders often falls short, with movies frequently feeding into stereotypes. The protagonists are typically white and thin, as if there's only one type of patient worth depicting. The truth is that these disorders affect everyone and exist across a broad spectrum, with myriad potential causes. In short, it's more complex than how it's usually depicted in films. Nonetheless, we recommend watching Starving in Suburbia (2014), as it addresses the (unfortunately still relevant 10 years later) issue of pro-ana blogs and online spaces and their influence on vulnerable minds. Then there's To the Bone (2017), which contains some intense scenes that might trigger unpleasant memories in individuals with a past or present connection to eating disorders. View at our own risk and discretion, based on your sensitivity. Lastly, Feed (2017) explores another potential cause: grief. Among documentaries, there's Thin (2006), I am Maris (2018), and Anorexia: a boy in a girl's world (2016), which focuses on boys with eating disorders. Speaking of inclusivity and realistic representation.

Books to Read

If you prefer reading, there are two approaches to consider. If you're looking for true and realistic stories that delve into the psychology of individuals with eating disorders, the most acclaimed titles include: Wasted by Marya Hornbacher and The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. Additionally, only available in English, there's Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat by Stephanie Covington Armstrong. To understand what it means to have an eating disorder: Crumbs by Alessandra Arachi. If you're seeking a book to help overcome an eating disorder, we recommend: The Courage to Be Hungry by Rosa Iatomasi, Women Who Eat Too Much by Renate Göckel, and The Last Supper: Anorexia and Bulimia by Massimo Recalcati. However, remember that a book may not be sufficient, and that if the stories you read are not representative of your personal experiences, this does not mean they are any less valid.

People to Follow

On social media, many individuals have made it their mission to raise awareness about this issue. In Italy, there's Valentina Dallari, who has also written a book about her experience titled Non mi sono mai piaciuta. Additionally, Giorgia Bellini has turned her past into lessons and support for others. Overseas, we highlight Amee Severson and Christy Harrison, who help dismantle the negative effects of insidious diet culture.

If you fear you're falling into the spiral of eating disorders or suspect someone in your life might be at risk, the best course of action is to seek psychological and medical assistance. In the process, you can seek assistance from a specialized association, such as the Eating Disorders Center.