F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Dear iamthemom,

Yes I too am bothered by the article as I think that it fails to adequately describe what they are discussing when they talk about mothers, which is in a section which appears to be discussing some of the "triggers" & by failing to do this clarification, the article can be easily read as a "causation"  article which is by default Mother Blaming.

The opening statement ""Causes; As with many mental-health conditions, the exact causes of anorexia are difficult to pinpoint. Scientific research has helped to narrow down the field of likely causes, such as metabolism, psychological issues and genetics."" needs to be better explained. A statement of this nature ""No One Causes Eating Disorders"" might make the article clearer & less inclined to be read as Mother Blaming. It would be further enhanced if they discussed in better detail what was the difference between a cause & a trigger.

I know when I read Father Hunger by Margo Maine, many here were very much of the view it was a father blaming book where as I found it a very interesting & thought provoking read that yes did identify poor, bad & horrible/abusive parenting by a father as a possible factor. However I did not interpret this book as blaming all fathers as the cause of eating disorders.

I believe one of the very difficult things to do is for us to put our thoughts, ideas, theories, etc into words for others to read & do it so that our words are interpreted by all in the exact same manner as we wrote them. I hope the author of this article is not a Mother Blaming person in the manner that article can be easily read/interpreted.

Warm & Kind thoughts to you


ED Dad
I agree, there are some disturbing parts to the article. UCSD have not posted this article, but they certainly have posted a link to it. Early on the article seems balanced and accurate, but it certainly does sound parent blaming when looking at triggers. Although other risk factors are mentioned in causation, only parents are mentioned as the trigger to set off eating disorders. From then on this article is pretty terrible, including a stock photo which is an issue in itself. Very poor reporting. 

D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
That is on the Media page - UCSD and it's representatives are not responsible for the media content generated by others, and there are ethical problems involved with "cherry picking" source material. This is a dilemma often faced - you want to advocate your position, but are aware that the hosting organization - particularly main-stream media - has a particular editorial bent, and/or may be more interested in page clicks, than it is other considerations. Do you abstain, and miss the opportunity to counteract sensationalistic & misinformed coverage? or do you do your best, knowing your message may well be diluted and/or misrepresented? Is any exposure good, so long as "they spell your name right?"

Another consideration: In all likelihood, UCSD's PR dept had to sign off on Walt's participation in that article, and may indeed have "volunteered" him for the gig, as large institutions frequently have a policy of having media contacts routed through the public relations department FIRST, before individuals representing the institution are allowed to participate. PR depts of large public entitites, are often very sensitive to not seeming to show "favoritism", and often have a policy of granting permission unless there is an explicit reason not to.

And let's face it, if "good reason not to" was "someone might say something about ED that's wrong" NO ONE who is on the cutting edge of improving our understanding and treatment of ED, would ever say anything in any public media whatsoever! PR ppl are DEFO of the opinion that Good Named Exposure > other consider considerations, and are not likely to understand on what grounds that article is "objectionable". Even if they do, you are back to the sticky business of deliberately "hiding" information / articles that Dr. Kaye (or other staff) were a part of. Even if you have "good reasons" to do so, this kind of self-censorship or cherry picking is a bad habit to get into - reporting integrity is a key part of not just journalism, but research ethics as well. (And again, while I despise the message, I am not sure that it's mere existence is a good enough reason to obscure this particular article.)

If the article is out there in the world, it's a breach of ethics to misstate it's content. It's prolly better to just have the link, than risk someone saying "hey, why are you hiding this from your media page?" - which looks worse in many ways. The links on the media page are most recent first, eventually it will fall down the list. I also think that the bulk of the other resources give such a different message, that in context, this particular article makes the author look badly - like she did not do her due diligence, or worse, decided to ignore good information, in favor of the story she had already decided she wanted to write.

And look here! The company that sponsors LiveScience is Purch "Purch is a rapidly growing, constantly evolving digital content and services company that helps millions of people make smarter purchases. We bring together 350 employees from around the globe who share a commitment to serve our customers with integrity, collaborate to deliver better results, and shape the future of digital publishing" [emphasis mine] http://purch.com/about/. That media company does not exist to inform, it exists to sell content that attracts customers, in order to attract clients. Alina Bradford, the author, is likely just a freelancer looking to make ends meet. But if there is complaint to be made about the article content, either Ms. Bradford, the article comments section, or Purch, are appropriate targets, I would think.

Iamthemom - good idea. I did the same. Hopefully they will notice that that particularly bad article is not in line with the program's stated goals.

At the very least, a disclaimer that UCSD is not responsible for the linked content, could help clarify the difference between the quality of information in many of the information links, versus elsewhere on the site.