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To think it's about time Joan Bakewell retires from public life if she is going to make such stupid comments

(59 Posts)
ReallyTired Sun 13-Mar-16 17:15:49

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35797158

The idea that anorexia is a sign of narcissism is ridiculous and damaging to anorexia victims. It's like saying that cancer patients deserve to die because they sun bathed or ate too many bacon sardies. No one chooses to be anorexic any more than they choose to have lung cancer.

The reason that anorexia is less common in places where there is less food is that there no social pressure to be thin or to diet. There are different pressures.

I know very little about anorexia. Anorexia suffers I have met are no more narisstic than anyone else. The few anorexia victims I have met have had OCD traits and are ultra perfectionists. However a sample of two is not enough to draw any conclusions especially as I am not a pychiaratist.

Anorexia is a desperate condition and one of the victims I knew died at 25 years old. The victim had everything to live for and her death was a terrible tradgy.

Maybe Joan Bakewell should stick to assessing hot housed kids and leave anorexia to the doctors.

SukeyTakeItOffAgain Sun 13-Mar-16 17:17:30

Though she phrased it clumsily I see what point she was making. It was her indictment of modern society rather than individuals.

WhataMessEh Sun 13-Mar-16 17:26:14

Crass comments - saying that young people are self regarding and relating that to the rise in anorexia is stupid, yanbu. It's the sort of thing that sufferers will read and will make them loathe themselves more - unhelpful tosh. The idea that her generation were close to the breadline and therefore morally better is drivel. If I were given to silly speculation outside of my knowledge base I might say teens are anorexic because the older generation have stolen most of the wealth and bankrupted the economy with their rolls Royce pensions...

ReallyTired Sun 13-Mar-16 17:29:59

Is there a risk that an anorexic with aspie tenancies might take those comments too literally? I wonder if a lot of anorexics are desperate to please those around them. Three is a lot of society pressure to be slim and unrealistic body images.

Blaming someone for their illness is never going to help them. They need good quality support.

I had severe postnatal depression and my thought processes were affected. The instrusive thoughts made it hard to function. Joan Bakewell need to understand there is a difference between being ill and a narrissist.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 13-Mar-16 17:30:22

I work with teenagers and my experience is that they are interesting, thoughtful, passionate and funny. And these are the theoretically 'challenging' ones I see.

My other experience is that people who come at them expecting and demanding 'respect', not engaging, telling rather than teaching get a VERY different experience to me.

Young people are brilliant. And definitively no more narcissistic than the Boomer generation. They are, however, subjected to a media world that is horribly objectifying and shallow. I wonder who owns the media... Youth right? Or a bunch of middle aged and old white men?

IThinkIMadeYouUpInsideMyHead Sun 13-Mar-16 17:48:11

I think the problem is that she was "speculating loosely about what might cause it". Broadcasters should not be speculating on the causes of medical conditions.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 13-Mar-16 17:53:09

Broadcasters should not be speculating on the causes of medical conditions. Or present random musings as news.

JolseBaby Sun 13-Mar-16 17:55:37

Where's her focus on the fact that the generation growing up now have worse prospects than her? NHS being eroded, house prices rising beyond reach, student loan debts, zero hours contracts, an ageing generation to support whilst juggling their own young families, cyber bullying, the 24/7 online presence where your mistakes are permanent and can follow you around for the rest of your life...

annandale Sun 13-Mar-16 18:03:01

Perhaps she would like to present evidence of her assertion that anorexia is unknown in societies of scarcity. Reading stories of nuns' lives in the past would suggest it's not true.

Even if that is true, isn't it possible that the abundance of this society, almost to the point of being expected to eat constantly, would have an impact on individuals who express despair and how they do that? The illnesses that a society fears say something about how it is currently functioning.

Namechangenell Sun 13-Mar-16 18:07:52

YABU unreasonable to compare anorexia with cancer. I don't agree with her comments but you lost me when you compared the two.

theycallmemellojello Sun 13-Mar-16 18:12:53

She was certainly not saying that anorexia sufferers deserve to die. She didn't phrase it very well, but it's true that mental health conditions do vary from culture to culture, and it's not exactly controversial to suggest that social pressures on and unrealistic expectations about (especially) women's bodies influence the incidence of anorexia.

Phineyj Sun 13-Mar-16 18:17:41

I thought they were irresponsible comments as they might put sufferers off accessing support. Anorexia has a high mortality rate and those who recover have to eat and be around food for the rest of their lives.

I'm sure it did exist in the past - I don't think humans have changed all that much. Probably just didn't have a name.

Thymeout Sun 13-Mar-16 18:39:07

I agree with pps that she is not blaming anorexics for their condition, but wondering if there is a connection with living in a narcissistic society, with its emphasis on physical appearance and self-display. Btw, I don't think she's referring to narcissism, the personality disorder, but an obsession with 'looking good'.

Anecdotally, it does seem that anorexia was much less common when JB grew up. Also self-harming. I don't remember any cases when I was at school.

peaceoftheaction Sun 13-Mar-16 18:47:15

I don't recall self harm when I was at school (80s) but there was glue sniffing, which is just self harm in a different form that was the thing at the time. I think anorexia has always been around. JB is showing her ignorance of the condition. YANBU

ClopySow Sun 13-Mar-16 18:59:32

I think she was clumsy. But she's not blaming the individual or belittling the condition. She's blaming our culture.

ReallyTired Sun 13-Mar-16 19:34:34

Anorexia has existed various shapes and forms through out the world. For example in Japan Buddists monks used to practice self mummification.

www.atlasobscura.com/places/sokushinbutsu-dainichi-temple

In the 13th century there were women who starved themselves for relgious reasons in England. Supposely Mary Quenn of Scots was an anorexic. Or is possible she was skinny because she had so much illness and stress?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_anorexia_nervosa

I think that the reasons behind anorexia are really complex and maybe different for different people. I am not qualififed to say why anorexia happens.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 13-Mar-16 19:43:20

Is it only me who finds the op's post really ageist? I think Joan Bakewell was wrong in what she said about anorexia as reported in the Sunday Times today. But people are wrong about all kinds of stuff without it being 'time they retire'. And fwiw no, it's not time she retires, she has a lot to contribute in all kinds of areas not least those she actually knows something about (ageism being one, ironically).

grannytomine Sun 13-Mar-16 19:58:57

She wasn't saying anorexics are narcissistic she was saying society is and that pressure is making young people anorexic.

maydancer Sun 13-Mar-16 20:06:58

..and she said it an interview, she did not present it as 'news'

Floisme Sun 13-Mar-16 20:07:12

She's not even close to being a baby boomer either. She's in her 80s. I'm sure her life is very comfortable now but I don't believe she had a priviliged upbringing. She grew up in wartime and post-war Stockport - rather her than me.

She's also one of a dwindling number of people who remember life before the NHS or the post war welfare state.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 13-Mar-16 20:09:49

Bizarrely for someone who's apparently intelligent she seems to have confused her not knowing about a subject with the idea that there needs to be more research and debate about it.

It would have taken about 2 seconds on google to have got a slightly better grasp of the topic.

PennyDropt Sun 13-Mar-16 20:12:52

She was saying a narcissistic society not narcissistic teens.

And that society was contributing to the rise in anorexia.

Seems feasible.

No one can comment on anything nowadays - just let them have their say, criticize them if you disagree.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 13-Mar-16 20:18:41

I am alarmed by anorexia among young people, which arises presumably because they are preoccupied with being beautiful and healthy and thin.

She looks remarkably close to talking about narcissistic teens here. That isn't the only point in the interview either.

RockUnit Sun 13-Mar-16 20:56:07

There's a thread in Chat about this, here

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 14-Mar-16 02:45:00

..and she said it an interview, she did not present it as 'news' However click on the link and BBC News is the top of the page.

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