Eating disorders are a reality for millions all over the world and although songs or movies can't eradicate them, they can start an honest conversation to break all the taboos and stigma around them.
Last year, Netflix released an original film that centered on the experience of a young woman dealing with anorexia. Although the intention of the director was to portray an honest perspective of her own experience fighting an eating disorder, To the Bone was criticized for doing the opposite. Activists and specialists working in the field claimed that the film not only glamorized a very serious subject but also gave vulnerable people with this disorder ideas on how to cheat their therapies instead of tools to work and get better.
Why mention this when we’re going to talk about a song? Well, in an interview Corina Corina (the creator of the song) gave to Bitch Media, she mentions something crucial when dealing with eating disorders in a media or platform that isn’t precisely therapy. For her, although awareness is really important to prevent more people falling into these destructive disorders, it’s even more crucial for this to be made by the right people who know how to lead these conversations. So what’s “Skinny” about and what is its purpose?
I believe that what makes this song different to what the film portrayed, is that this is telling her experience from within. She focuses on the emotional and mental struggle she was going from instead of an explicit list of the things she did to lose weight and naturally, this approach makes it more honest and relatable for people going through their own battles. She explains that, despite these disorders affecting lots of people, at the end of the day, it’s an individual disease and a personal journey. For that matter, the only one that can really talk about her own experience is herself. If she can help others by doing so it’s accomplished its healing purpose.
Corina Corina is a California alt-pop musician who has seen in her music the best platform to talk about issues that matter to her and she believes are important to deal with in a social way. As the daughter of two activists she’s always been part of social awareness and movements and her music is no exception. As she explains, she’s “been arrested for protesting, has donated to causes, volunteered, written to Congresspeople, etc., but I’ve found that my greatest offering (so far) has been in telling my truth about my experience, particularly with anorexia and depression.” So, besides sharing her own experience to shatter taboos around eating disorders, one of the main purposes with the song is to question and expose how damaging cultural and social beauty standards are and how it's become one of the main causes that lead to an eating disorder.
Corina Corina (who takes her name from a classic Blues song) decided to write the song after dealing with anorexia for 12 years in an attempt not only to show the human side of these disorders, but also to help to eliminate all the shame and taboos around them. She wanted to “paint a real depiction of how it feels to be trapped by such a catastrophic disease. That feeling of powerlessness was still deep inside me somewhere and through this song, I was able to let it speak.” In a way, through a very simple and straightforward song, she manages to send a clear message to the world of basically all that conveys being trapped in that reality. It isn’t only going through a psychological and physical challenge. It ends up being an addiction and the only way to overcome it is by knowing there’s something wrong with it.
To sum up, the song represented the way she chose to come out to the public regarding her disorder but at the same time as a healing mechanism in which she wanted to feel accepted not only by the public but more importantly, by herself. At the end of the day, one song is not going to make the difference with an issue that affects millions throughout the world, but by creating the right products with a clear message, can really make a change at least to start changing the perceptions we all have around eating disorders. In a way, I think “Skinny” is a great example of what can really start an honest and taboo free conversation out there.
For more on the subject, take a look at these:
Images from @getcorinacorina