The look of cinema and TV at the TCAs – Spoiler Time

Throughout this week we have talked about how cinema and television have been able to reflect the passion that human beings commonly feel for food. Nevertheless, that same food can sometimes mean a problem: there are many people who suffer from the so-called Eating disorder (TCA) and film and television have not been immune to this either.

It is called Eating disorder to the persistent patterns that people hold that lead them to not eat healthily. In general, anxieties, traumas and emotional crises are hidden behind these patterns, so their treatment is intrinsically related to mental health. Anorexia and bulimia are the most mentioned, but among them there is a spectrum of unhealthy behaviors that are also called ACT.

To start, It can be said that it is interesting to think about the ACT from the film industry, mainly because the screens, both large and small, are spaces where the hegemonic beauty and the extremely high beauty standards that govern our society are created and distributed. However, on some occasions, both cinema and television take seriously the suffering of those who suffer the ACT and reflects them on the screen.

An example of this can be the film To The Bonepremiered in the 2017 and starring Lily Collinswho plays Ellena young woman twenty years suffering from anorexia nervosa. In this film you can see how difficult it is to recover from ACT and how, many times, these disorders are linked to family crises. Nevertheless, the film on its release was the target of much criticism as well, who argued that it portrayed a sugar-coated image of a serious problem. In this regard, its director Martin Noxon He maintained that his intention was not that, but to ask the ACT as a topic of conversation, something extremely necessary for those who suffer from it in silence.


Although this topic seems current, or part of the rhetoric of mental health problems that are put on the table today, for many years now the cinema has tried to show the Eating disorder. Already in the 80made-for-television movies like Kate’s Secret either The Best Little Girl in the World they had protagonists who suffered from bulimia and anorexia.

In Kate’s Secret, Meredith Baxter Birney embodies Kate, a wife from the suburbs who seems to lead the perfect life: adoring husband, loving daughter and a beautiful house. However, the pressures she is subjected to to maintain that facade lead to Kate to become obsessed with her body, developing bulimia nervosa.

For his part, The Best Little Girl in the World has as its protagonist jennifer jason leigh Interpreting Casey, a teenager who, after feeling invisible in her family, begins to develop anorexia and bulimia. The film gained particular interest when, just a few years after its release, in the 83 (the film is from nineteen eighty one) Karen Carpenterhalf of the musical group The Carpentersdied from complications caused by the anorexia he suffered.

More here in time the examples grow: in girl, interruptedthe film that earned Angelina Jolie a Oscarthe character of Brittany Murphy suffered from bulimia, while in Black Swanthe film starring Natalie Portman Y Mila Kunis shows how the demands of the world of classical dance, their own insecurities and a need to feel in control lead the character of Portman, Girlto suffer a ACT.

On television, eating disorders usually appear in series that have adolescent characters. glee was no exception: in the series created by ryan murphythe character played by Melissa Benoist, MarleyHe suffered from bulimia.

Blair Waldorfthe queen bees of gossip girl (the original series) is another example of teenage characters succumbing to the pressures of mainstream beauty and developing an eating disorder. Yeah, even someone who seems to have it all, like blairyou may be a victim suffering from these diseases.

The list goes on: Marissaof The OC, hannahof Pretty Little Liars, Cassie of Skinsand many others, generally women, are some of the examples that we can find on television.

As always, dealing with a complex problem has its benefits and its cons. On the one hand, it is commendable that we can see on screen conditions that, in general, develop behind closed doors and of which there are usually quite a few wrong ideas. On the other hand, it is worth noting something that I mentioned at the beginning: if cinema and television really want to have an honest conversation about the Eating disorderthey should start by reviewing their own demands and the bodies that are shown on the screen, as well as in what roles they are located. It’s not much use talking about ACT when later it is constantly reproduced that the protagonists, the successful ones, those for whom the world revolves are always the same: tall, skinny, beautiful.

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