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since June 19, 2001



Looking at anorexia nervosa from another perspective

The "victims" of anorexia nervosa receive an excessive amount of concern that is far out of proportion in relation to the scope of their problems, compared to other, far more prevalent, far more pressing and far more often deadly social issues.

Annual fatalities in the United States


Anorexia nervosa541
Suicides (1996 figures)31,0002
Fatalities in hospitals due to medical errors98,0003
  1. Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism?, (Quote).

  2. Centers for Disease Control (1996 Quotes and sources)

  3. Reader's Digest (1998 Quote and source)

Consider the numbers of visits during the past few days (Dec.1 - 4, 2003) to the pages in the set of pages dealing with anorexia nervosa at Fathers for Life. All of them but one have been accessible for a long time on the Net. The last page, anorexia9.htm, was added early in the morning of Dec.3, 2003.

Cured? mentions that anorexia nervosa is of far greater concern to the visitors of Fathers for Life than any other issue covered at the site. That should be expressed more clearly.

Anorexia nervosa kills people, mostly women, by far, almost exclusively; and feminists have, as explained in the other anorexia-nervosa pages of this set, exploited the tactics for manufacturing victims to the hilt with generating concerns about poor victims of anorexia nervosa.

There is even now a group of researchers that claims:

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder and is the most
lethal of all psychiatric illnesses. It is one of the most
common causes of death in young women...

Correctly, they should state that anorexia nervosa rarely kills anyone and that it is one of the lowest-ranking causes of death for women. 

The most common causes of death (1995 figures) for women and men aged 15 to 24 are:
Unintentional Injuries10,3133,529
Malignant Neoplasms1,009633
Heart Disease659380
Congenital Anomalies258194
Bronchitis Emphysema Asthma133113
Pneumonia & Influenza11988

Figures from Table 2, https://fathersforlife.org/US_population_figures_80-96.htm

(See also: The 1989 Montreal Massacre in the context of menís sacrifices, 2008 12 07, by Professor Jeffrey Asher.)

Anorexia nervosa, by causing 54 women of all ages per year to die from its consequences, ranks below any of the ten-highest ranking causes of death of women in the age group 15-24.  Nevertheless, the power of propaganda is great enough to give the relatively large group of researchers at the University of Pittsburg funding in the order of more than US$10 million in research funding from the US NIH.  They are pursuing the search for the holy grail of victimhood of women being rooted in biological causes.  With that amount of money they are sure to be able to find evidence that is acceptably politically correct to justify their paper chase. (See Putting anorexia nervosa into perspective)

Some feminist estimates of the annual number of deaths through anorexia nervosa run in the order of 150 thousand, but Christina Hoff Sommers debunked that outrageous lie. She identified in her book Who Stole Feminism? that a more correct estimate of the annual number of deaths attributed to anorexia nervosa runs in the order of no more than about fifty-four (54) per year in the United States.

That estimate appears to be based on a count of diagnosed causes of deaths. It could perhaps be argued that maybe the secondary consequences of anorexia nervosa, such as liver damage and other complications caused by systematic, excessive and prolonged, self-induced starving, are the ones identified in the final diagnoses and hide the underlying motivating cause, anorexia nervosa. All we know is that anorexia nervosa does not kill everyone who pursues it, and it most definitely doesn't kill in as short a time as do other more effective measures such as a rope, a knife, a fatal dose of poison or a bullet.

In a way, anorexia nervosa is as diverse in killing its aficionados over a large spread of time as is alcoholism. Some alcoholics die almost instantaneously or at least in the space of a few hours, when they imbibe a deadly amount of alcohol, and others live to a ripe old age. No doubt, some anorexics, too, die at a ripe old age; none ever die in the space of a few hours. It takes on average about forty days for anyone to die from not eating anything at all, but that never happens to anorexics. It would cut short the game they play with themselves and others. They like to stretch that game out for as long as possible, to prolong the pleasure they derive out of manufacturing concern for themselves as victims.

Most importantly, almost exclusively only women "contract" anorexia nervosa.

We know a woman who has been anorexic for decades. She is also, as many women are (far more often than men), addicted to gambling. That addiction is without any doubt a contributing factor to her anorexia. She often can't afford to buy enough food to maintain herself. However, she is still alive and appears, being in her fifties, to be able to live on for many more years, although her condition without any doubt causes her a lot of pain. She is still capable of walking (with the help of a walker), although she does it at a snail's pace and only haltingly. It is useless to invite her to a coffee shop for a cup of coffee, because the pain she experiences on account of her hip joints being unpadded prevents her from being able to sit on a cafeteria chair for more than five minutes. That is all she can bear.

Her addictions must have been unbearable for her husband, especially in view of the circumstance that he was a good chef. His wife found "his constant complaining" about her dieting and gambling objectionable. She kicked him out.

US suicides are now in the order of 31,000 per year ó 25,000 of them by men and boys. Many suicides, too, are for various reasons not properly diagnosed as such. It is probably fairly accurate to estimate that presently for every death by anorexia nervosa there are about 574 suicide deaths in the United States.

The total visits to the US-Suicides pages at Fathers for Life numbered 116 during the Dec. 1 to 4 interval. If we measure the level of concern for anorexia nervosa in terms of deaths relative to comparable levels of concern for suicides, going by the number of visits to the respective pages at Fathers for Life, then the level of concern for the average anorexia nervosa "victim" is 4,460 times greater than that for the average suicide victim.
   Even if we, justifiably, surmise that the low level of concern for suicide victims is due to 80 percent of them being men and boys, that still leaves 20 percent or about 6,000 female suicide victims that receive far less concern on average than women do that chose the anorexic lifestyle rather than suicide.

Is it possible that our society so much more eagerly admires anorexic women than to feel pity for suicidal women?  Perhaps the disproportionately low level of social concern for suicidal women is a consequence of the fact that it is difficult for feminists to raise concern for suicidal women without exposing the fact that the anti-male social bias drives men and boys four times more likely than women and girls to commit suicide.  Anorexia nervosa is a much more expedient tool for manufacturing concern.  Nobody questions that anorexia nervosa is an almost exclusive female affliction, virtually as exclusively female as having a uterus is; and having a uterus proved itself a very useful tool for manufacturing concern over the ages.

The disparate levels of concern are a good sign of an enormous social bias. Society is a far cry from having equitable levels of concern for serious social issues. Obviously we have our social priorities mixed up.

Looking at that from another perspective, if we truly are objective about victims, then how come we hear so much about female victims of men's violence and virtually nothing about the victims of our health care systems? A royal commission is being launched in Canada to determine the reasons for the large number of patients that die in Canadian hospitals due to medical maltreatment. 

It was announced quite a while ago that the wish to have the commission exists, but apparently the flesh is weak.  The commission has not yet begun to do any work to investigate the causes for the estimated annual 30,000 Canadian fatalities amongst victims of maltreatment and neglect in Canadian hospitals. Extrapolating from figures in other countries, the Reader's Digest states that,

Each year, an estimated 10,000 patients die in Canadian hospitals as a result of staff errors, while a further 20,000 die from "nonpreventable adverse events," such as hospital infections and unexpected drug complications. Some research indicates that another 20,000, give or take, may die of unforeseen or preventable causes while under care outside hospitals.
   These staggering figures are extrapolated from data collected in the United States, Britain and Australia, but are widely accepted as reasonable approximations. In 1999 the U.S. Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 Americans a year die in hospital due to medical errors, and another million are injured. A 2000 study found that adverse events cause patient harm in ten percent of hospital admissions in Britain, amounting to 850,000 times a year.

Tragedy of Errors, Reader's Digest, Canadian Edition
Dec. 2003, p. 76
Originally published Dec.30, 2002 in MacLean's

It is puzzling. Why must we focus all of our concerns on, and devote so much public funding to, female victims of domestic violence (in Canada, 55-60 female and about 15 male spousal murder victims out of a total of about 550 murder victims per year); why be concerned about the insignificant number of women wishing to be victims that possibly but very unlikely contract serious harm from their addiction to starvation diets amidst plenty?

One could be led to believe that, arguably, the disproportionate levels of concern manufactured for anorexic women and for the non-existent "epidemic" of male violence are red herrings to divert people's attention away from far more serious problems affecting all of us.  If so, they are government-sponsored and -funded red herrings.  In terms of provincial and federal funding alone, those herrings have a voracious appetite and consume hundreds of millions of our tax dollars each year.  Funding for the study and prevention of suicides is next to non-existing.

It is time that we hold our noses to the grind stone and work on solving problems of a far more pressing nature than that of anorexia nervosa and other concerns manufactured by feminists.  That will save a lot of money being spent on treating patients that enjoy their treatment so much that they keep coming for it for years in a row.

1.) Original source: CLAIRE LEWIS DIDN'T HAVE TO DIE, by Danylo Hawaleshka, MacLean's, Dec. 30, 2002
Danylo Hawaleshka can be reached at dhawaleshka@macleans.ca.

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Posted 2003 12 05
2003 12 06 (added publishing details for original source of quote from Reader's Digest)