Eating disorders is not just a white thing, an Asian thing or a yellow thing. Despite stereotypical thinking of African Americans and Latino women that indicate such behavior does not exist in these communities. Many women of color struggle with eating problems and when diagnosed, the problem is severe due to extended processes of starvation as well as binging prior to intervention. Researchers believe that eating disorders in the black community arise from struggling with “simultaneity of oppression,” the stress of being undervalued and overburdened. Becky Wangsgaard Thompson in “A Way Outa No Way’: Eating Problems Among African-American, Latina, and White Women” found that the range of traumas the women in the study associated with origins of their eating problems, including racism, sexual abuse, proverty, sexism emotional or physical abuse, heterosexism, class, sexuality or nationality. “Between one-third and two-thirds of women develop eating problems as a result of abuse.” (Root and Fallon 1988). Victims deal with assaults by binging and purging. For many women their body is the one thing that they can control in their life and food was something they could trust. One participant in Thompson’s interview felt her body was the only thing she had left and felt momentary reprieve from her worries when eating. (2007) “I am here, (in my body) ‘cause there is no where else for me to go. Where am I going to go? This is all I got…..”stated interviewee Yolanda . (Thompson 2007)

       

Another interview says she remembered her grandmother telling her she would never be as pretty as her cousins because they were lighter skinned and her father insisted that she and her mother should be thinner as their class status changed. For some African American women eating is the way to meeting social responsibilities and superficially taking care of oneself according to Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant author of Strong and Large Black Women?  Exploring Relationships between Deviant Womanhood and weight. Studies have show that African-American women define and idealize the preferred weight in order to meet the approval of the men in their lives.

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