Dr. Marcella Raimondo discusses how people's experiences with eating disorders can vary and why POC representation is so important for treatment and recovery.
Upload Date: Feb 23, 2021
Dr. Marcella Raimondo discusses how people's experiences with eating disorders can vary and why POC representation is so important for treatment and recovery. Dr. Raimondo also shares her own journey with ED recovery and why she became a psychologist that specializes in social justice and eating disorders.
and you are one of the few providers of color that I see working in the eating disorder space. And so I just want to get a sense from you. There's this idea that eating disorders don't really affect us in the, you know, poc community that it's really affluent, thin, kind of white girls, white women. But I'm curious, like from the research that you have come across. Is that the case like, What? Have you seen that kind of contradicts that narrative? MM. That has just been this disappointment. Like the vast error how like the magnitude of this stereotype and and what it does for not just folks of color but any marginalized person. Folks with disabilities are trans population, non binary, queer older populations. It just creates this really vicious cycle of who gets an eating disorder from that. The research continues to perpetuate that, because the research is done in a certain way, like focusing English college campuses who can access these research studies and then treatment continues to get focused that way of it's expensive. You have to take time off from your life and assuming you are privileged enough to take time off from work time off from school and various folks who have not been able to meet that that that kind of protocol than being dismissed discounted. You don't really have a needing disorder. You're not motivated enough and and and hearing my colleagues to talk about, I went Teoh a college. You know, I I went to a counseling center and I was told I need help. I'm binging and purging and being looked at like Well, you're fat Lati necks colored skin and just kind of like you're not meeting my paradigm. So I'm really confused. I'm like, Well, what confusion this person is telling you their behaviors. And so we have ah so much lived experience that folks telling their story about I have the meetings when these folks in marginalized bodies and that lived experience not being enough. And yet our our field continues to operate in a in a very white way. White dominant white supremacist, very capitalist for for folks and marginalized bodies. When they have any disorder, they could start to question it. Like, Do I really have e mean? I'm not? I'm not the skinny white girl. I've seen so many folks because I'm not a skinny white girl. So do I really have an eating disorder? Or my eating disorder is different and like you're not different and I will say, like just personally, like my own recovery from an eating disorder as a teen and looking at, like the dialogues that went on in my head around food and my body. My mother is an immigrant from Peru and her dealing with with racism and trying to assimilate with anti fatness. And so the messages she gave me about my body and her concerns when I was going through through puberty. I mean, we all know when when you go through puberty and firm or CIS gender girls like that, that that emphasis on your body puberty is often a time where you accumulate fat. That's what your body does. And I got frustrated or just confused and frustrated cause I'm a 14 15 year old girl. I'm not. I I did not have the construct of how to bring in social justice how to bring in racism, how that interweaves and symbolizes into my own in eating disorder. I just got mixed messages that made me very angry because in our culture and many cultures. Food is the source of celebration, and and food is also respect. And so when you're not eating food, you are not respecting your culture and being told, you need to eat food, Marcella and you're getting too big Bond. So when you're 14 15, like, how do you make sense of a message like that? You don't you get angry and you're like, Well, then I'm just not gonna eat And and that's what my eating disorder was about. And then it wasn't until I read Becky Thompson the hunger so wide and so deep Women of color and queer women with eating disorders in 1994 that I began to see stories and testimonials of women talking about their weakness, order and intercepting it with racism, immigration, their families, culture being gay. And it was then I was reading these stories like, Oh, my God, like these mixed messages are making sense. I it was really it was like, beyond illuminating. It was like it was like the first time I felt so validated my eating disorder, um, and my struggles and because you asked the question of like, what is our research and statistics tell us about who gets the need and disorder, and they are very much pointing out that people of color get eating disorders. Folks with disabilities get eating. Disorders are trans and non binary communities have the highest prevalence of eating disorders. So we are seeing prevalence. That is saying a whole different story about who gets an eating disorder. Yeah, and it's a call to our field of saying we're gonna have to make some radical shit and how we do everything.