Watch your words

By Louisa Irvin

It’s easy to imagine coming home from work or university, throwing down your backpack and settle in for a night in front of a screen for a night of Netflix bingeing. After a long day filled with exams or assessments, the last thing you want to do is watch something that leaves you feeling depressed and upset.

When the current movies, however, are focused on topics that effect people at their most vulnerable, it can be seen why so many professionals are concerned with the influence movies are having on our most at risk members of society.

Popular streaming service Netflix has recently come under fire for their movie choices. Image: Louisa Irvin

Following the backlash of recent controversial Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, it is not hard to see why new film, To The Bone, is raising some eyebrows.

Like 13 Reasons Why, which follows a story of teen depression and suicide, To The Bone tackles the hard to navigate field of body disorders, leaving specialists wondering just how beneficial movies like this are for people suffering from the conditions.

The film portrays British starlet Lily Collins, who in reality has battled with anorexia nervosa, as a patient in a new group home, who according to the official Netflix description is ‘on a harrowing, sometimes funny journey of self-discovery.”

One of Australia’s leading voices in supporting those suffering from issues surrounding body image, the Butterfly Foundation, has spoken out against the producers of the movie, and their apparent lack of concern for the audience. The Foundation has also released advice on the film, and how to have productive conversations around the issue.

CEO of the Butterfly Foundation, Christine Morgan, says it is important to be mindful when talking about sensitive issues such as body negativity.

“Eating disorders are unlike any other illnesses, the visual portrayal of them in media is more often triggering and harmful and a high degree of care needs to always be taken.”

Joanna Doley, a PhD candidate at Latrobe University in Melbourne and member of the ANZAED Social Media Committee, specialises in how to talk about eating disorders without causing harm.

After watching the film herself, she says the film needs to be aware of the glorification of harmful illnesses, such as anorexia nervosa.

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image concerns is encouraged to contact the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 or support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au