If you are on Twitter, you may have noticed the name Kenneth Tong in the trending topics recently. The former reality show contestant has taken to his Twitter account to promote “managed anorexia” with a string of offensive tweets. The profile summary for MrKennethTong states: “Proudly endorsing managed anorexia. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”
The tweets from that account, encouraging anorexia and stating the value of a girl or woman is tied directly to her body size, have caused something of a furor. Here are some examples:
“Inner beauty is a myth. You are just fat. You are unloved. People look at you & are pleasant cause they feel sorry for you.”
“Managed anorexia is not life threatening, it gives living another chance after you messed it up eating too much.”
“Inner beauty is as convincing of an argument and idea as @JustinBieber dating a fat girl. We all know she’ll be skinny and size zero.”
“Thankful for this global opportunity to help girls all over the world know that to be skinny is to be perfect & to be fat is unacceptable.”
Tweets with similar messages have been published for several days, along with mentions of a supposed “Size Zero Pill.”
According to MrKennethTong: “I do no promote anorexia. I promote managed anorexia. I created the latter term. I defined the latter, I assure you there is a difference.” Mr. Tong, a former Big Brother contestant in the United Kingdom, does not have any medical or health credentials. Clearly, there is no such medically recognized term as “managed anorexia.” Anorexia is not something individuals can manage on their own, which is why it is a psychiatric illness. Also, there aren’t any therapies guaranteed to manage or cure Anorexia Nervosa, which afflicts mainly young women, starting typically at about ages fourteen to seventeen. Between five and twenty percent of patients diagnosed with anorexia die.
A profile of Anorexia Nervosa from the University of Maryland lists some of the other consequences of the disease:
- Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure; the risk for heart failure rises as heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower
- Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure
- Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness
- Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common
Heart disease is the most common cause of death for people suffering from severe anorexia. One of the other causes is suicide, because depression can be present in people who are suffering from anorexia, and starving oneself can contribute to depression.
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health states the average cost of anorexia inpatient treatment in a hospital or clinic for one month can be $30,000 and typically this expense is not covered by health insurance. The total cost of treatment including therapy and monitoring from medical personnel can be over $100,000.
Celebrities have begun voicing their disgust on Twitter. A tweet was sent from MrKennethTong to the pop star Rihanna and she responded with the following: “This is exactly why girls are doing everything to destroy their bodies!!! Girls are dying all over the world because of ignorant individuals like this @MrKennethTong.” (Source: Softpedia.com)
The tweets coming MrKennethTong have been directed mostly at females, although they could just as easily be directed at males as well. It should be noted males also suffer from eating disorders, though generally in much lower numbers than females. The exclusive focus on females, calling them fat and unattractive, suggests some kind of hostility, or discriminatory attitude towards women, in addition to the campaign of dangerous misinformation.
Image Credit: Shorelander / Wikimedia Commons