Commentary: Ke$ha among many Americans who struggle with eating disorders

January 4, 2014
Ke$ha performed at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Aug. 27. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

Ke$ha performed at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Aug. 27. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

After years in the spotlight, I’m finally convinced Ke$ha is a real human.

Kesha Rose Sebert, better known as “Ke$ha,” checked into a rehab center Friday to receive treatment for an eating disorder, and said in a statement she was taking time learn to love herself again.

The 26-year-old artist is hardly the first celeb to come out with an eating disorder, which are fairly common among the general population. However despite their prevalence, I was shocked by the reaction I saw online.

After hate-creeping in online comment sections, I was horrified to see what some people were saying and the general misconceptions about eating disorders. Eating disorders are very real and very harmful diseases — they aren’t glamorous or a “white girl problem.” They can affect anyone of any gender, body type or social standing. Telling someone with an eating disorder to “just eat” is about as effective as telling someone with the flu to “just stop being sick” or someone with depression to “be happy.” It doesn’t work like that.

And no, you definitely don’t wish you had one. It’s not a diet — it’s an uncontrollable and extremely dangerous behavior.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. at some point in their lives suffer with eating disorders. It isn’t just celebrities who suffer from eating disorders, it’s your best friend, your sister, the guy you sit next to in class and your neighbor. Often times, you might not even be aware someone close to you has one. Eating disorders aren’t talked about because they carry a social stigma and it’s a source of shame and embarrassment.

The No. 1 contributor to eating disorders is widely believed to be body dissatisfaction, because unfortunately many women feel pressure to be super skinny. All bodies are made differently, but all bodies aren’t walking down the red carpet in Hollywood or the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway. When images of skinny, airbrushed women are on the cover of every magazine and star in every movie, it’s hard not to look at them and say “I wish I looked like that.”

I can admit that I have struggled with my body image. When I look in the mirror, I can always find something I wish looked just a little different. I’ve yearned for a smaller stomach, thinner thighs, more-toned arms.

It’s been found that girls as young as six are concerned with their weight and in elementary school, about half are worried about becoming too fat, according to NEDA. That’s a heart-breaking statistic, why should any child need to worry about their weight?

On the exterior Ke$ha might be a woman who brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack and makes it rain with glitter, but she’s a real woman with a real problem faced by other real women and men. Eating disorders aren’t a joke — and Ke$ha opening up about hers is a brave sign of strength.

So Kesha Sebert, good luck in your recovery, I hope you can find peace.


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