Pop superstar Taylor Swift’s documentary, Miss Americana, premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 23rd. In the documentary, Swift stunned fans when she spoke out about her past struggles with an eating disorder.
Swift, 30, spoke with Variety about her bold decision to include her past eating disorder experiences in her new documentary.
She shared, “I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable talking about body image [in Miss Americana]… but the way that Lana (Wilson, the documentary’s director) tells the story, it really makes sense.”
In a voiceover in the documentary, the Lover songstress elaborated on her battle against her eating disorder. She revealed that “it’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day.” Swift also candidly spoke out about moments when seeing pictures of her stomach or hearing strangers say that she looked “pregnant” would trigger her. She said that she would, “…just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”
But despite Swift’s ultra-public presence, she’s certainly not alone in her struggles with body image and eating disorders.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), at least 30 million Americans of all ages and genders battle eating disorders. 65 percent of women engage in disordered eating behaviors. And nearly a third of those living with eating disorders are male. However, over 70 percent of those who battle eating disorders don’t seek treatment. This is largely due to the stigma and misconceptions surrounding eating disorders.
Swift’s powerful candor about her eating disorder behaviors and body image struggles will resonate with others facing similar struggles. It could also encourage disordered eaters to seek help with their eating disorder behaviors. A slew of celebrities, from Demi Lovato to Kesha, have opened up about their eating disorder struggles in recent years. But every time yet another celebrity speaks out about their battles with eating disorders, they reignite our motivation. They teach us to treat our bodies with kindness, seek help, and actively work towards recovery.
Many people with eating disorders will see themselves in Swift’s struggles. Her focus on reward and punishment, her black-and-white thinking, the praise she received for upholding society’s arbitrary beauty standards, and of course, her struggle to speak out about the challenges of living with an eating disorder are relatable. Taylor Swift’s brave decision to open up about her past eating disorder could show disordered eaters that they are seen. And of course, she could also encourage them to speak openly about their disorders without shame. Taylor Swift’s revelation will prompt us to courageously seek the help we need to live fulfilling, recovered lives.
Previously published on The Mighty.
Featured Photo via Netflix Miss Americana