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 Post subject: Reality TV shows in ED residential facilities
PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:29 am 
orange goddess

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. ... oprah.html

This was written by Shelly who some of you may have seen in the documentary Thin about a treatment facility in Florida

"Time to get serious.

The producers of The Biggest Loser, A&E, E!, and the Oprah Network are all casting, producing, and airing shows on the treatment of eating disorders within the next year. They will be filming inside eating disorder treatment centers.

This is dangerous.

Yes, I was in THIN. So how is it different? THIN was a documentary. THIN did not join the ranks of trashy reality TV shows. I know THIN brought awareness to the dangers of eating disorders. But, I am not naive. I know that it triggered others who weren't ready to watch it. I get it. It is hard to watch.

While THIN was being filmed, we met as group and discussed our feelings related to being filmed. We had the option to stop at any time. Also, before THIN premiered, Lauren flew out to my home and we watched it together and talked about my feelings regarding the film. At any time, and even now after six years, I have the option to call her discuss anything feeling or issue that might come up. There was a trust that was built and maintained throughout filming.

Will these men or women have the chance to say stop filming me if they want? Probably not. They are receiving free treatment in exchange for being filmed. If they say, "I don't want to be filmed anymore," will they be kicked out? Gawd, I hope not. Oprah had the brilliant idea to have people vote on who gets to receive treatment. WTF? Idiotic and ridiculous.

Why cant there be a reality show about recovery? Because Recovery is boring. A recovered person joins the majority of normal people who have to eat 3 meals a day, pay the bills, and walk the dog. Even the show Intervention, who cuts off the hour with the participant leaving for treatment doesn't show or elaborate on the his/her recovery. We eagerly wait to read the caption at the end of the show, hoping that the person is still sober. Reality TV is about drama. It is what sells, it is what people watch. And yes, I am guilty.

I am working on getting these shows stopped with other eating disorder activists, especially Heather from MamaVision and We Are The Real Deal. FB is exploding with people who are pissed, worried, and very much opposed to these shows. I have drafted a letter to send to the networks. I have also drafted a letter to send to every eating disorder treatment center in the U.S.

I am posting the letter I will be sending to treatment centers. If you feel the urge to advocate against these shows please join us on FB.!/group.php?gi ... 403&ref=ts

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider casting, producing, and airing your show about the treatment of eating disorders. While there is a great need to bring awareness to addictions, including eating disorders, there other ways to make this happen without a reality TV show.

Filming inside treatment centers is detrimental to the therapeutic milieu and is distracting to all those involved in the recovery process. Women and men who struggle with addictions should be allowed to enter the safety of a treatment center to work on their issues without being filmed. These willing participants are sick and vulnerable at a time when they desperately need treatment and support. They don’t need to have a camera on them 24/7 when they are trying to overcome a life-threatening illness. For some, this may be the biggest fight of their life. They have a hard enough time trusting themselves and the recovery process without having to worrying about trusting the television crew to not make them look bad or exploit them. Why interfere with their treatment? Is it worth risking someone’s life for the sake of entertainment, ratings, money, and recognition of your center? This is not entertainment. This is a serious disease that kills one out of seven individuals who struggle with it. Please allow these individuals, many who have severe mental health issues and trauma issues, to work on their issues in private, without worry about the world watching.

Not only is this dangerous for the participants, but is also dangerous to viewers, especially those who struggle with eating disorders. A reality TV show will only reinforce that an eating disorder will get a person attention. There will be women, men, and girls as young as eight years old who will watch the show, get triggered, and stay sick because maybe they too can be on TV. Or they will watch (and probably rewatch) these shows, concentrating on the thinness of it’s participants in an effort and a desire to stay sick. They want to be just as sick, or even sicker, than the participants in these shows. The Pro- Ana community will use these shows as thinspiration and competition. It is real. It happens. And people die.

Sure, the show might provide information to viewers who have no idea what it is like to struggle with an eating disorder, but if done incorrectly it will only increase the shame and stigma associated with the disease. If done incorrectly, it will only leave viewers more confused; scratching their head and wondering why these people won’t eat. Let’s educate the public in a different way. Let’s not use a drama filled reality TV show that exploits its participants. Yes, it will sell. Yes, people will probably watch, but it will not accomplish awareness in the way we need it to happen. Let’s work to make sure it happens the right way.

Thanks you for your time. "

Thoughts? I can definitely see her point and I think the concept of a reality TV show and some of the suggestions as to who gets treatment is pretty sick.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:09 pm 
orange is a state of mind
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I think it sounds a terrible idea. However, I can see people putting themselves up for it, not because they believe they are ok to handle it as part of their recovery, but because they cannot afford treatment. And yes, it probably will make them feel obligated to continue regardless.
I suspect they will dramatise and edit it in such a way as to make it very offputting for others considering residential too, in order to make it "good tv".
I think it's very irresponsible and shows no consideration for anything but viewing figures. The people involved -both in the show and watching with ED's- aren't being given any thought at all.

"Action is the antidote to despair." - Joan Baez

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:17 pm 
getting under the peel
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In general, I think the idea is bad. BUT, I will say this, I watched the first episode of What's Eating You? on E! and it was brilliantly executed. It got down to true causes of each of the girls disorders, it made sure to show that progress in recovery takes effort, and a lot of time, and doesn't glamorize anything at all. numbers are not mentioned at all, except for once I think, but it's talking about muscle mass and how a normal female has 18 to something percent muscle and the girl being measured was like...8, and it was showing how she was slowly becoming aware of her disorder and yeah. idk. it was just...refreshing to see the good and the bad, not just one or the other.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:03 pm 
I can't help but think at least people are going to get treatment who otherwise might never get the chance......
Sadly TV shows are not charities, they will want to get something out of it and also sadly charities don't have enough money or support to give out as much treatment as is needed.
It all depends how it turns out. If it ended up doing more damage than good then yes it's awful but if people actually get the proper treatment they desperately need that they wouldn't otherwise then perhaps it's a price worth paying...

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:41 pm 
orange goddess
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terrible idea. Whatever happened to confidentiality. I think it would break a lot of laws.

Recovery is about progress not perfection
I'm thankful for a heart that beats air in my lungs to breathe legs to walk love in my heart
1 2 3 my ED is after me 4 5 6, My ED is playing tricks on me 7 8 9 I've made a good decision my ED has been defeated..

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:30 pm 
power lies within
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remixgurl88 wrote:
terrible idea. Whatever happened to confidentiality. I think it would break a lot of laws.

No, obviously the participants on the show would waive many of their privacy rights.

It is sad that this is something many people will be tempted to turn to, because they cannot afford this quality of treatment.

On the other hand, I saw Greenfield's THIN, and I thought it was rather brilliantly and respectfully executed.

bubbles to the chandelier

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