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Anorexia History & Lore Thread

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#1 waify



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 05:45 PM




Hi, just got swallowed into a wikipedia k-hole and wanted to share. Feel free to add to this thread. I'm mostly posting it to save some of the quotes which are really triggering. 


*TW. Not promoting anything. Just some psych-educational/historical tidbits.

*The articles I found covered femme experiences of anorexia- not intentionally excluding any one else.


Fell into this hole by browsing books about fasting on amazon, and came across this creepy cover:




You can learn about her and a handful of other victorian girls like her in this wikipedia article:








From there, I learned that in addition to nervosa there's also Anorexia Mirabilis, (https://en.wikipedia...rexia_mirabilis) a "miraculous" lack of appetite. The most cited example of these "Holy Anorexics" is the medieval Saint Catherine of Siena "in whom fasting denoted female holiness or humility and underscored purity."




Some interesting quotes from that wiki:


anorexia mirabilis, rather than misdiagnosed anorexia, was a legitimate form of self-expression with motives set in contrast to the modern disease paradigm.

Don't get me started on hunger strikes as a form of political expression, especially feminism.




Many of these women claimed that they possessed at least some measure of spiritual enlightenment from their asceticism. They variously claimed to feel "inebriation" with the holy wine, "hunger" for God, and conversely, that they sat at the "delicious banquet of God".




This is a theory commonly seen in Christianity where indulging one’s animalistic desires are seen to lead to the mind becoming weaker and more prone to sin. 

So it could be argued that fasting is just a workout for your mind/willpower to keep it from becoming weak.


From one of the cited articles:

Another point to consider is the potential search for power; Catherine of Siena initially fasted as a teenager in protest against her proposed marriage to her sister’s widower. Women could gain power, freedom and respect from remaining virgins more so than they would have becoming wives. Catherine of Siena remained a virgin and was allowed to pursue her theology and interests in a convent, leading to her becoming the only female Doctor of the Church. A wife and mother would have had no time to do that! Fasting then was also another form of control, taking power back for the individual and as such it was similar to one of the underlying factors in AN today. 


They left out the part about how in modern society thin people have more social power (and how women, needing more power, would pursue that.)


 These sections have a certain spiritual flavour often depicting the thin emaciated individuals as angels and pure and full of light.  

I just liked the aesthetic language here.


Ok and this other cited article - with "witchcraft" in the title how could I not click?


Virginity, anorexia and witchcraft: the case of the small Ismenia


Enjoy these CREEPY tidbits from a "contemporary account of anorexia mirabilis" of a fifteen year old undamentalist Christian girl in Colombia whose family was believed to be under a curse (google mistranslated a bunch of the pronouns to male):



Alexis began to detail that "what you doctors call anorexia" had started four years ago, when Ismenia was about eleven years old. After a feverish episode that the lady described as being strained by a "dengue," the girl began to see a hooded character next to her bed - "a satanic, no doubt," pointed out the good lady, never cut in words-. Then, Alexis reported periodic visits of "goblins" to his room and his bed. These goblins, who at first played with Ismenia, soon became hostile, offering delicious food to the patient, which later became "disgusting things", "wormers" and "dull". Since then the food disgusted Ismenia. Gradually the child stopped consuming her food, eating only food bought out of the house - especially canned sausages, pack potatoes, and other packaged foods. Eventually he even abandoned these foods.


The clinical picture of Ismenia began in the year 2000, when it counted eleven years and six months of age, after the febrile episode of long duration already mentioned. Ismenia then stopped eating foods because they caused disgust and nausea, because they "smelled ugly" or had a "dull" smell. The family then consulted the otolaryngology and gastroenterology departments, which, after careful study, ruled out any anatomical-physiological anomalies that would explain their condition. During the same period, Ismenia increased water intake and physical activity; Since then she preferred larger clothes for her size, she looked pale, her skin was always cold and very dry.


That was the time, remember, of the satanic visits at the foot of the girl's bed, to offer him offerings of tasty and fine foods that then inexplicably became decomposed debris. "Mama," says Alexis, who was telling him his daughter, "they showed me some filthy things last night; Elves in my bed showed me many dishes of food with the richest things to eat, chickens, meats, rich food. When I was going to try bite, Mommy, those foods would turn into gusaneras and suddenly everything smelled dull. Everything around me smelled dull. Therefore, explains the mother, her daughter dawned without desires to feed. Everything reminded him of the repellent smell and vision.


Best ED bedtime story ever?


In closing let me leave you with this quote from Saint Catherine of Siena, who is clearly ana af:




Pls add to this thread and share any FUN FACTS you may know.

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ongoing thread analyzing every episode of supersize vs superskinny

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#2 moth-wings


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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:00 PM

fuck yes i love this 

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    CW: 95 lbs

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#3 fragilex



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:03 PM

I love this history stuff so much omg
Isn't there a user named Catherine of Siena on here? I've seen her around
I always found the idea of fasting interesting
Like we read a book called Siddhartha in school
And it talked about how ascetics fasted
I've always liked the ideas behind fasting
Also I think tbh people have always fasted for control/punishment
It's interesting af
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#4 skinnyynymph



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:06 PM

This is my kind of thing
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i'm a girl. i'm weird.


#5 honestea



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:07 PM

don't know how much of a fun fact this is, but my grandmother's women's rights group fasted for 100 days during the 1900s for gender equality.

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it's a shame the bad habits are the hardest ones to break. 

height: 5'4.5

CW: 100.4



adventures in honestea

#6 chickpeayogi


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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:56 PM


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#7 daiyashreds



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 09:12 PM

Omfg Wikipedia k-holes....happens to me every time

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#8 Anne-Marie-Darrow



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 09:34 PM

This is so great omg I love it!!

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#9 Guest_Jezzy_*

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 11:49 PM

No anorexia history post is complete without this phenomenal tome: I recommend everyone buy and read it!
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#10 karkat



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Posted 06 July 2017 - 12:00 AM

the secret to truly achieving CHIM is not eating 


#11 waify



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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:18 PM

Stumbled upon this morsel of history in another thread and have to link to it, so interesting.


Also, the first male-centric one in this thread




If you want any information on what happens to both your body and mind when you start having deficits larger than 1000 calories, check out the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.  The men were normal BMI, ate 1800 calories per day, walked over 1.5 miles to and from work at a factory, and then stood for 8 hours doing factory work.  Nothing much more beyond that - nothing extreme or intentional. 

But they lost significant amounts of weight, became obsessed with food and weight loss, hoarded food, recipes, and pictures of food, and started self-injuring.  It is actually really interesting if you delve deeply into it - at the root of it, you could make the argument that cyclical b/p patterns after restricting are a biological, evolutionary reaction to our bodies trying to keep us from starving (and thus dying).



The Wikipedia article

Oddly enough, a Refinery29 article about it





5'11" • BMI 18 • HW: 136 • LW: 117 • SW: 128 • CW: 128 • GW: 115

ongoing thread analyzing every episode of supersize vs superskinny

anorexia history & lore thread

#12 puffin


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:43 PM

this is one of the most original threads i have seen on this website in a long time

thank you

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i always seem to come back to this hellsite

#13 shh.


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:50 PM

This is so interesting. I'm curious as to how many people actually did this because of their religion vs. because of their disorder.

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an bp /vegan / my bad art

#14 marathron


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:56 PM

don't know how much of a fun fact this is, but my grandmother's women's rights group fasted for 100 days during the 1900s for gender equality.

I'm out of likes, but I LOVE this so much!! What a wonderful ancestor to be able to invoke!!

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My accountability is over at EDC, please visit!



Getting Out of the Thick of It (conquering long binge cycle):

My old accountability/2nd intermezzo:

First intermezzo:

Please visit my old new accountability: https://www.myproana...oing-back-down/

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#15 Growerofweeds


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:01 PM

Awesome! Love this thread. I've always been fascinated by the history of anorexia. Great links, thanks :)
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recovery hell

#16 Marjaneh


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:28 PM

Interesting thread! Thanks for the info and the links!
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