White Privilege. White Male Privilege. White Supremacy. White Male Supremacy. Capitalism. Colonialism. Weight Stigma. Thin Privilege. Weight Discrimination. Weightism. Racism. Ageism. Healthism. Homophobia. Transphobia. Classism. Ableism. Christian Privilege. Cisgender Privilege. Cis-boom-bah privilege. Heterosexual Privilege. Upper Class Privilege. Middle Class Privilege. Male Privilege. Female Privilege. First World Privilege. Point of Personal Privilege. And many others.
The list is endless and exhausting. Words and concepts. Political and societal issues. They all portray and represent division, the blame game, finger pointing and victimization. At the same time, they all minimize personal accountability and achievement. As our children continue to die from eating disorders, Social Injustice Warriors seek to utilize these political or societal issues to infiltrate the eating disorder industry to spread their messaging.
Nearly every aspect of the human condition can be classified as some sort of “privilege.” So, how does one sort out and address privilege with regard to eating disorders being treated by mental health care professionals? And how does one relegate the vast majority of “privilege” which pertain to the human condition and have nothing to do with eating disorders?
First with regard to “Obesity,” last month a question was posed as to whether “Obesity” should be included as a mental disorder when the new DSM is released in the future. The reaction was swift, sure and expected. One would have thought I premiered the anti-Islamic film, “Innocence of Muslims” before the Supreme Leader of Iran. Although I did not take a stand either way and instead, merely recited what university-based professors had opined, accusations of “White Privilege!” “White Supremacy!” “Typical White Stigma,” and even, “Racist!” were spewed forth by the Social Injustice Warriors. The hatred was obvious. The empathy and understanding were conspicuously missing. The Social Injustice Warriors assembled the kindling and were prepared to “burn all who disagree with them at the stake.”
Due to the universal and uniform outcry that “Obesity” is not a mental disorder and with the firm understanding that “Obesity” is certainly not an eating disorder, Obesity and the privileges and stigma associated with it clearly do not belong in the realm of eating disorders and are beyond the realm of this article.
Contrarily, weight stigma has been shown in peer reviewed research papers to be a consideration when diagnosing and treating binge eating disorder. As such, weight stigma as it pertains to binge eating disorder is included.
Before proceeding further, we need a firm, workable neutral definition of “privilege.” Stella Morabito, an author and columnist defines it as, “Privileges — whether material, social, or professional—come from being male, healthy, prosperous, safe, white-skinned, heterosexual, non-gender-dysphoric, or any number of things that may cause you to experience the world in a different way than somebody who comes from a different category in today’s social matrix.”
If that definition and explanation can be accepted as being evenly remotely accurate, it would appear that lack of individual accountability, divisive conduct, victimization, finger pointing and blame are all inextricably intertwined with most “privilege.”
Social Injustice Warriors would have us believe that “privilege” must first be identified, then eradicated root and stem so that we may achieve equal results for all. Social Injustice Warriors embrace the belief that equal opportunity means equal results. Further, a number of Social Injustice Warriors have brazenly stated that if you do not fully embrace their mindset and admit your own ‘privileges” then you are a bigot.
This is the all too familiar plaintive cry of a weak and unsubstantiated hypothesis. If a person does not have facts, logic or reason supporting their position, then attack the character of those persons who oppose you until they bend to your will. There is no room for compromise. Dissenting voices must be quashed. You must ostracize and separate from them on all social media. Your view is the only viable view!
Despite no support in research or peer reviewed studies, Social Injustice Warriors are attempting to bring their misguided views into the eating disorder industry. They insist that perceived “privilege” and social injustice ills must be included and addressed in the therapeutic, counseling process in treating eating disorders. Their thinking is not only misguided, but detrimental and potentially dangerous to those suffering and damaging to the treatment of eating disorders.
Why Social Injustice Cannot be Included in the Counseling Process
No Peer Reviewed Studies or University Based Research Support the Inclusion of Social Injustice Issues
I could locate no peer reviewed studies supporting the view that Social Injustice issues should be included in the therapeutic arena or counseling to treat eating disorders. Similarly, I could not locate any peer reviewed studies or university supported research indicating that an effective counselor must first recognize and embrace their own “privilege” in order to be the most effective counselor possible.
Certainly, there are articles which indicate weight stigma can be a consideration in the causation or exacerbation of binge eating disorders. But, those articles are silent on the manner in which weight stigma should be addressed in the sanctity of the counseling room.
But that does not deter Social Injustice Warriors from beating their drums of “privilege.” So, we must continue to refute.
White privilege can trace its roots back to at least 1988 when activist Peggy McIntosh published her essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” All of the alleged “privileges” set forth in the first paragraph of this article have been bandied about by the liberal arm of society for a number of years. And yet, no authoritative, independent peer review studies nor university-based research exist indicating its importance and recommended inclusion in the treatment and recovery from eating disorders. The DSM-V does not include any mention of racism, bigotry or prejudice, let alone the various “privileges,” in its text or index. Nor does the American Medical Association address “privileges” in the treatment of eating disorders. When one questions the reasons for this, one inescapable conclusion is manifest.
And that is, “privilege” is a set of political and social issues championed by social liberals alone. Mainstream society cannot even agree as to the definitions nor the application of privileges. It is axiomatic that ethical mental health providers would not include “privilege” or whatever the “stigma de jour” may be in the counseling process.
Quite simply, the treatment of eating disorders must be free from the political agendas spewed forth by Social Injustice Warriors. Privilege and “stigma de jour” in the context of counseling is not supported by university programs, ethical researchers or respected, objective eating disorder professionals.
The reasons for this are legion.
The Brain of the Eating Disorder Patient cannot process the complexities
Numerous studies and research exist indicating that eating disorders are biologically based and certain areas of the brain tend to be impacted the most.
Research professionals examining the brains of people with eating disorders indicate that the Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland and Amygdala (“the HPA Axis”) release vital neurotransmitters, or chemical messages which regulate mood and appetite. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center sought to understand the abnormal levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine present in persons suffering from eating disorders.
This study further found, “Serotonin is involved with well-being, anxiety, and appetite (among other traits), and norepinephrine is a stress hormone. Dopamine is involved in reward-seeking behavior. Imbalances with serotonin and dopamine may explain in part why people with anorexia do not experience a sense of pleasure from food and other typical comforts.”
Dr. Walter Kaye of UC San Diego writes, “… ill persons with AN (anorexia nervosa) tend to perceive their actions as incorrect or flawed and are highly sensitive to criticism, rather than being able to appropriately proportion reward and punishment in order to learn from experience.”
Taken together, these studies suggest a complex interplay between weight status, brain structure, and optimal brain functioning. Brain matter actually shrinks during anorexia nervosa and takes time to recover. Six months after full weight restoration the brain often is not yet structurally back to normal. These studies indicate that persons suffering from anorexia nervosa are typically cognitively impaired and require sustained time at a healthy weight for cognitive impairment to fully restore.
With the subtle and complex issues present in understanding “privilege” and “stigma,” at what point is a person in treatment for eating disorders able to full grasp all of these concepts? What objective brain tests can the Social Injustice Warriors point to indicating that cognitive impairment in the brain of a person suffering from eating disorders has been restored to a level that “privilege” and “stigma” can be full understood and included as part of a recovery program?
In fact, without the restoration of sufficient cognitive impairment, the potential for harm and perpetuating the cycle of treatment, lapse, treatment, lapse increases.
Insurance Companies Will Not Pay
It is a fundamental tenet that insurance companies do not and will not pay for “experimental or investigative treatment.” Courts are universal in holding that where insurance policies contain a “no payment for experimental treatment clause,” insureds/patients do not have the right to receive payment for this type of treatment.
The obvious reasons insurance companies use exclusions to restrict experimental procedures are to limit their financial risk, cost containment, and to ensure the practice of safe and effective medical approaches and treatment and the elimination of uncertain and untested procedures.
Ordinarily, a medical device or treatment or mental health treatment is considered experimental if: “Reliable Evidence shows that the consensus of opinion among experts regarding the drug, device or treatment or procedure is that further studies or clinical trials are necessary to determine its maximum tolerated dose, its toxicity, its safety, its efficacy, or its efficacy as compared with the standard means of treatment or diagnosis.”
Reliable Evidence means “… published reports and articles in the authoritative medical and scientific literature; the written protocol or protocols used by the treating facility or the protocol(s) of another facility studying substantially the same drug, device or treatment; or the written informed consent used by the treating facility or by another facility studying substantially the same drug, device or treatment or procedure.”
These standards can be so strictly interpreted that treatment for eating disorders in free standing eating disorder centers are not covered by Tricare. On its website, Tricare states that it only covers services that are medically necessary and are considered proven. If treatment in freestanding eating disorder centers is not covered by Tricare and is not considered “proven,” is Tricare, let alone any insurance provider likely to pay for counseling involving “privilege” or “stigma especially when led by a counselor who believes that he/she must first identify him/herself as “a cisgendered, non-binary, historically oppressed person?”
As previously stated, no peer reviewed studies or university-based research exist supporting the view that Social Injustice issues should be included in the therapeutic arena or counseling to treat eating disorders. If a counselor or treatment center is fool hardy enough to include those issues on a substantial basis within its treatment regimen there is a substantial risk that the insurance provider will not approve payment for any future treatment. Treatment will not be obtainable.
And a greater number of people will suffer … suffer and die … and this time, in the name of Social Injustice.
Multitude of Additional Reasons
There are a number of other significant reasons why the Social Injustice Warriors should not be allowed to impose their ill-fated agenda in eating disorder treatment.
For example, does social injustice indoctrination apply to those who suffer from bulimia and binge eating alone? Or should those suffering from the other eating disorders also be subjected to this indoctrination? Is there any evidence that the effectiveness of social injustice indoctrination is dependent upon the sex and age of the patient and whether they come from a nuclear family unit?
What of the the most maginalized people in the eating disorder community, boys and men? Since certain divisive parts of the industry, led by the “neo-NEDA” place social injustice above all else, and have, for the most part turned its back on boys and men who suffer from this disease, should boys and men also be excluded from social injustice indoctrination? After all, aren’t men, particularly white men, the cause of many of the “privileges” the Social Injustice Warriors decry? In fact, as part of “privilege” indoctrination, will fingers be pointed and blame assessed against the fathers of those who suffer from this disease? After all, aren’t those fathers, especially the white fathers the root cause of the many ills the Social Injustice Warriors march against?
Despite all of this evidence, the Social Injustice Warriors will forever continue to misunderstand, disregard and deny the true, irrefutable obstacle to their rantings. That is, the power of the family unit.
The power of a strong, family structure. The foundation for building healthy personal relationships are the true source of all power and privilege. Only through these healthy personal relationships can a person learn deeply about the world, exchange ideas, get inspired, invent things, accept personal accountability and create independent communities. These are the surest paths to knowledge and joy. But, Social Injustice Warriors would even denigrate that reality.
The Roman philosopher, Plato urged that families should be abolished, replaced by Guardians appointed by the state. He opined that this was the best way to insure a unified, cohesive society free from favoritism [or privilege as we refer to it today.] One cannot help but believe that the Social Injustice Warriors embrace that philosophy and place society over the family.
Who are the Social Injustice Warriors and What Do They Stand For
Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the Social Injustice Warriors will continue on their path to bring chaos to the eating disorder industry. When apologies are not expressed toward men who were belittled and ostracized by an ill-advised, pedantic social media post on Facebook and the only apology issued was to their fellow militant, slavish followers of HAES for having to remove the post, you realize these militant Social Injustice Warriors will stop at nothing to spread their poison through the eating disorder industry.
And so, who are these Social Injustice Warriors and what do they believe?
Social Injustice Warriors believe that eating disorders are disorders of systemic oppression.
Social Injustice Warriors believe that public health campaigns and individual healthcare providers who reliably target individual behavior as the pathway to help actually limits the impact that these interventions can have on health, while increasing the risk of shame and stigma being experienced by people who do not align with culturally defined acceptable behaviors or physical presentation of “health.”
Social Injustice Warriors believe that our current systems and institutions perpetuate a structure of privilege, status, and access to some bodies while restricting it from others. They believe that this is not health promoting. It is actually causing mental and physical harm and worsening the health of our society and its individuals.
Social Injustice Warriors who have infiltrated the eating disorder community believe in loving the eating disorder community but hating all aspects and opinions which do not kowtow to their views.
Social Injustice Warriors believe that anyone who disagrees with them has sinister and oppressive motives, are bigots and are “privileged.”
Social Injustice Warriors never seek a compromise or collaboration with reasoned, intellectual people in the eating disorder community.
Social Injustice Warriors who carry within them, deep pain because they have been scarred, bullied or hurt by society, have become the bullies, as they lash out in rage in order to seek revenge for the self-perceived injustices perpetrated against them.
What is even more remarkable is that the sensible, smart strong leaders in the eating disorder industry, the very persons who should be standing up to radical extremism while they are dedicated to protecting their patients and trying to save their lives, are so frightened of the loud, emotion-fueled pablum spewed forth by the Social Injustice Warriors that they have thrown in the towel on sanity.
Social Injustice Warriors stand for:
Compromise as weakness.
A fundamentalist belief in their own crusade.
Unmoved by facts.
Undeterred by new information.
A hostile fear of progress.
A demonization of the intellect.
Intolerance of dissent.
Pathological hatred of all those who oppose their radical views.
They may can call themselves Social Justice Warriors. They may even call themselves militant HAES activists.
Although progressive, intelligent advocates shouldn’t call them that.
We should call them exactly what they are …
The Eating Disorder Taliban.
And the Eating Disorder Taliban cannot survive if we stand up to them with facts, reason, logic, intelligence and the strength, passion and love which can only exist within the family.