“My friends have suffered through ‘typical’ eating disorders; bulimia, anorexia, etc. But even more of them abused things from laxatives to cocaine, consumed raw lettuce for meals (or skipped them all together), and replaced nutritious foods with vitamins to avoid the calories. These aren’t necessarily textbook definitions of an eating disorder, but they are eating disorders nonetheless.
Worse, I know students whose moms have done this to them against their will. Who, when they ate were punished and who will likely forever associate food with shame and guilt. I know other moms who saw these students get rewarded with lead roles and have tried to convince their daughters to do the same. I know students who came to these conclusions and took action on their own. This is literally child abuse that is overlooked for the sake of the art and the career they think will follow.
I am tired of watching my friends work so hard and sacrifice everything only to end up burnt out, quitting for health reasons, or living in a constant state of fear just because of these ridiculous standards the ballet community is setting. It makes me so deeply sad to watch so many people fall apart before my eyes for something that should make them happy. I, too, faced an eating disorder and other mental health challenges that prompted me to quit dance and do not want to see these patterns continue a moment longer.”