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Films focusing on girls and women with anorexia have not found major producers and distributors in Hollywood, yet movies on subjects such as suicidality and bipolar…
Films focusing on girls and women with anorexia have not found major producers and distributors in Hollywood, yet movies on subjects such as suicidality and bipolar disorder have been showcased. Eating disorders affect approximately 30 million people in the United States alone, and it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, so this invisibility seems incongruous. The authors theorize that Hollywood avoids this subject because of ontological anxiety. Movie plots are schemas and young females are inextricably associated with fertility and futurity. An anorexic’s appearance contradicts and nullifies this symbolic role because anorexia often leads to infertility and death. Psychological studies and philosophical arguments claim that a belief in an afterlife and the regeneration of humankind create coherence and meaning for individuals. An anorexic’s appearance and behavior represent images of self-destruction – images that inflame the viewer’s unconscious and primordial fears about the annihilation of the species. By avoiding the topic of anorexia, Hollywood defends against its symbolic fears of mortality but diminishes the importance of the subject through its absence; it ignores its place in women’s social history and erases its place in American history. Because of Hollywood’s social reach and because greater visibility is correlated with a reduction in stigma, the authors conjecture that a film on this subject would inspire necessary attention to women’s roles, public mores, public policies, and the social good.
This introduction locates the 11 chapters of the volume under three headings: Agency-Affirming Places, Overtly Hostile or Agency-Denying Places, and Covertly Negating…
This introduction locates the 11 chapters of the volume under three headings: Agency-Affirming Places, Overtly Hostile or Agency-Denying Places, and Covertly Negating Places. Each chapter is summarized briefly, detailing its methods and key findings. Following the summaries, the editors point to common themes among the chapters and discuss the relationship between media and physical and symbolic gender-based violence as illustrated in the chapters.