Thoughts On Brittany Murphy, Death, & Anorexia

Rumour has it that Brittany Murphy is dead at 32 from cardiac arrest.

Heart attack, in case you didn’t know, is one of the most common demises after long battles with eating disorders. Why?

“When anorexia has become this severe, the heart is often damaged. Not only is there not enough body fat to keep internal organs like the heart protected, but anemia, which weakens the blood, and the poor circulation which results in a lower body temperature means that the heart is unable to pump and circulate blood as effectively as it might otherwise. The loss of muscle mass can also apply to the heart, meaning that the muscles of the heart can physically weaken, and an overall drop in blood pressure and pulse can contribute to slower breathing rates. Unfortunately, if not remedied, these risks can lead to death.”

Excerpt found here.

In this more recent photo, it’s obvious she’s too thin. Her head is bigger than her waist. That’s beauty? Really?

My eating problems have been, and will continue to be, the struggle of my life. I can’t imagine the emotional and spiritual pressurecooker a life in Hollywood would have been for someone as fucked up as I once was. I can’t imagine how emotionally fragile teens and young adults navigate the psychic timebomb that working in the film & beauty-focused industries must be.

Every time another death like this happens, it takes weeks to find the cause. By then, the emotional impact of that celebrity’s loss has evaporated, and the angst over the stupidity of how they died and how needless it was, that just evaporates too.

There is no reason for anyone to die like this, assuming she’s dead of anorexia, but I daresay I’m not reckless to jump to that conclusion.

There is no reason an industry should sanction the kind of pressure many starlets feel to do this to themselves.

There is no reason you as an audience can’t stop supporting this endless vacuum life of never-good-enough by continuing to purchase magazines that perpetuate too-thin-is-beautiful aesthetics.

It’s time that we jump to conclusions. It’s time we get angry that somehow we’ve institutionalized Wasting Away as some kind of beautiful virtue that all women should aspire for, or that we seem somehow justifying the ever-fattening of our society by pleading for “fat acceptance” and talking about “weight discrimination,” instead of tackling both these problems in the education system.

Eating disorders, whether eating ourselves to morbidly obese deaths or wasting away via starvation, kill the soul long before they kill the self.

Kate Moss is famous for having said that nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. Really? She hasn’t had my chicken pot pie, man.

Life is meant to be lived — food savoured, bodies worshipped, comfort enjoyed.

Despite my strong beliefs on these issues, I will lose 30 pounds by next August. But I’ll do it still having beers and burgers, cheese and wine, because those are parts of life I should value too, and without guilt. The thing is? Food isn’t just about eating, it’s about who you’re eating with.

Food is community. Via community, food becomes communication. It’s about soul and companionship, slowing down and focusing on one thing in a moment in a big world. Food has always been the cornerstone to our societies — any society — and their social structure.

Because food and the celebration of it is so integral to our world — look at the dread of Christmas weight, because we all associate the treats with the warmth & glory of the season — people with these afflictions are robbed of much of life’s joy.

When someone suffers an eating disorder, it becomes toxic to every level of their life. They have to lie to loved ones, live duplicitously.  It kills the soul, then the self.

The tragedy here isn’t just that Brittany Murphy is dead.

The tragedy is, we all helped.

If you support the magazines and the industries pushing these unrealistic and perverted ideals of what “beauty” consists of, you’re helping to perpetuate this endless cycle of thin-is-not-thin-enough.

I haven’t bought a single beauty magazine in 10 years, and I’ve never seen obvious hot-chick-vehicle movies, so I know I’m not a part of this endless cycle of stupid. Are you?

Who else do I blame?


The guys I talk to claim they like “real” women. Oh? Well, Hollywood’s marketing this to you. Where’s your outcry? Where’s your steadfast roar about how great cushion-for-the-pushin’ is? Where’s your willingness to say outloud that a little extra somethin’-somethin’ works for you? Where’s your insistence that a size 10 is a perfect 10?

Because I’m not hearing it.

Instead of all this bullshit “Aww, Brittany, we hardly knew ye” in-mourning-platitudes crap we’ll be hearing for the next week, let’s get real, all right?

Yeah, Brittany, we knew you had an eating disorder. We tried to shame and mock you for it, instead of help you. We didn’t point fingers at the industry that helped make you fitted for a size extra-thin coffin in your 32nd year. We didn’t say to ourselves “Well, she’s not alone, maybe there’s something needing fixing here.”

Because though we’ve said all that shit before it’s obvious we never meant it, because the magazines keep selling, we keep buying, and thin girls keep dying.

Wake the fuck up, world.

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