Here is the article I’m referring to in this post. This poor girl was forced to gain weight and receive counseling for something that she did not ever have. Yale University would not listen to her and just assumed she had an eating disorder because she was skinny. Shame on them. First of all, they were the university’s medical center, and if they are anything like my university’s center, they don’t have your medical records from your primary care doctor and therefore know absolutely nothing about you and your family’s history. Had they known that they might not have made that call to threaten her with suspension unless she gained weight. Since they did not know that, they had no reason or right to do that.
Look, I get it, ok? Eating disorders are a big deal and catching them early is really important. Mine was caught early enough that I got to avoid the hospital experience. And I know that it wasn’t until my mom brought up her concerns at my visit that the doctor even thought about saying something. I had been underweight until I was 12, and then was in the normal range until I was about 16, so they probably didn’t think anything of it until my mom said something. So that’s good that they were trying to be proactive, but you cannot force “recovery” on someone who does not need to recover. I don’t know much about Frances Chan, but I’m assuming she is one of those people who can live a very healthy and normal life at a weight that would be considered dangerous for other people. Besides, reading this essay written by Frances Chan herself only makes it sound like they were exacerbating the problem, not solving it. When I started recovering I read so many people’s stories and blogs online, and every now and then found some stories where they were kicked out of college because they couldn’t gain the weight fast enough; because they were honestly and truly trying their hardest but recovery is a mother-fucking bitch and it’s hard as fuck! But since they couldn’t gain the weight fast enough they were kicked out. Putting more stress on people in this situation only makes it harder and worse, not better. Threatening people with being robbed of the one thing that society and family rams down children’s throats since the moment they are born is not incentive, it’s stressful.
They also use BMI scales to determine whether or not a student has an eating disorder. Guess what? BMI scales were invented by insurance companies to help determine how much they can charge people (I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s very believable considering BMI scales really don’t measure anything useful). “BMI was explicitly cited by Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis.” 1 If any university is going to try and diagnose eating disorders they need to be a heck of a lot more educated on the matter. Not everyone skinny has an eating disorder. Not everyone in a normal weight range does not. Good for them for trying but this was the wrong way to go about it. Like I said, they need to be a lot more educated before they can pull something like this. They need to know the student’s medical history. They need to know just what eating disorders are and how to diagnose them.
Eating disorders are serious and the way that Yale has handled them makes does not sound like they think they are.