The Vox Box

SATURDAY, SEPT. 13, 2008, 3:48 P.M.

Breaking the Stereotype

Male, African-American, elderly, religious, and middle-aged people all battle anorexia, too. In America today, there are ten million women and one million men battling anorexia and bulimia. Are these anorexics less likely to seek treatment?

Newsweek's online article on the subject said:

...Experts say the "white girl" stereotype discourages men and minorities from coming forward. One study, by Wesleyan psychologist Ruth Striegel-Moore, found that black girls who do suffer from eating disorders are less likely to seek treatment. "I know stories of African-American women who've gone in to see a physician, with all the symptoms of an eating disorder, and the doctor says, 'That's a white girl's disease'," says Cynthia Bulik, an eating-disorder specialist at the University of North Carolina. "That persisting stigma can make people uncomfortable."

Even those who are not pressured into being thin by family, friends, and girl/boyfriends find themselves tricked by the media. Cultural upbringing, hiding a pregnancy, and suffering for God are rare yet very real reasons for abstaining from regular eating habits.

Its sufferers describe anorexia as a religion; one anorexic called the disease "something to believe in."

How can this "white girl" stereotype be broken for those desperately needing help? Why is anorexia so popular as a political cause? How can America become an anorexia-free country?

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In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

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