The Exploitation By “To The Bone”

Before tonight’s zinger..which…I’m fired up tonight, so get ready….

Eating dis transparent_1000px

But first, I have some incredibly exciting news to share.

I just found out that BeautyBeyondBones was ranked in the Top 25 Eating Disorder Recovery Websites on the World Wide Web!


So thank you with all my heart for taking the time out of your busy lives to read my words.

OK…now onto tonight’s main event.

As you know, I was utterly disgusted at Netflix for their irresponsible and harmful depiction of teenage suicide in “13 Reasons Why.


You’d think they’d have learned their lesson after the backlash by the public, and several tragic copy-cat teenage suicides post-airing. But no.

In fact, they’ve done it again….

And this time…it’s about anorexia.

The movie is called To The Bone” and it is being released on July 14.

They just premiered the trailer.

I watched it.

I nearly threw up I was so repulsed.

*sigh* Where do I even begin.

Let me just start out by saying that I am 10 years strong into my recovery from a life threatening case of anorexia. I starved myself down to 78 pounds. Went to inpatient treatment. Relapsed. Exercised destructively. And osteopenia, infertility, and some serious other issues later, I am finally healthy – mind, body and spirit.

And even though I am 10 years strong, I was triggered by this trailer.

Seeing Lily Collins, the actress who plays the main character – a 20-year-old young woman with anorexia – in such a severely emaciated state made me absolutely shudder.

The hollowed out and gaunt face, the skeletal frame — it made my blood boil.


You see, the actress, Lily Collins, battled an eating disorder herself. And so for her to have to get down to that dangerously low weight, while in real life, she is in recovery herself, it pains me to think of the detrimental harm that did to her own personal recovery.

But seeing those images poses a tremendous risk for those girls (and boys) who are struggling with an eating disorder, or who are in recovery. It was just wayyy too realistic. Just too far.

It’s hard for a person who has never struggled with an eating disorder to understand what “triggering” really means to someone with/in recovery from ED.

And yeah, seeing her skeletal, emaciated frame is triggering, but it’s also other things too — like seeing her deny food. Depictions of purging or exercise. Depictions of obsession over food and calories. “Triggering” images and language make a person miss their eating disorder, point blank. Triggers make a person “flirt” with ED, and seriously jeopardize their recovery…best way to put it.


The whole trailer just romanticized anorexia. From the joking — yes, joking — about her ability to know every food item’s caloric amount, to her measuring the circumference of her arms with her thumb and middle finger, hell – to her “thigh gap,” or to the “glamour shots” of her sharp bones protruding from her back, to the handsome therapist in her inpatient treatment facility who takes the kids outside in the rain so that they “remember how to live.”

I’m sorry. But when I was so severely depleted, I couldn’t even go to bed with wet hair after a shower because of the calories I’d expend from the loss of heat in my head while I slept. Going out in the rain is not something that you are physically able to do as someone with anorexia – your body simply cannot regulate your body temperature and keep it warm. Had a therapist/doctor taken kids out in the rain…he would have lost his job. And his medical license.


To be fair, I haven’t seen the movie, but from the 2 minute trailer, I can tell you that I don’t want to.

To The Bone’s” recklessly irresponsible depiction of anorexia made me want to scream.

And what’s more is that in addition to Lily Collins, the writer and director also suffered from an eating disorder.


How dare they put out material that is going to trigger those who watch it.

“But we’re trying to start a conversation about an important topic…”

Bull. Shit.

I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.


I’m sick and tired of Hollywood glorifying issues that real people suffer from, just to push the envelope and be edgy, and cause a buzz for their movie.

Not cool.

You want to really help raise awareness and open up a dialogue about anorexia? Then how about you not romanticize it and joke about it on an *dramatic-comedy.*

Why don’t you ask someone who actually lived through the starvation, isolation, calorie obsession, tortuous exercise, broken relationships, shattered future, inpatient treatment — what she thinks about your enshrined depiction of a disease – a mental illness – that nearly killed her? Why don’t you ask me?

Because I’ll tell you: I’m not laughing.

I’m disgusted.


You’re “sincere” efforts to open a dialogue — are already having detrimental effect: Photos of a gaunt and skeletal Lily Collins from the trailer are already being passed around the internet as “thinspo,” – aka: “thin-spiration” — photos that mentally sick girls use to salivate over as they deny themselves food in order to starve down to nothing.

Way to go. Way to raise “awareness.”

Netflix, you should be ashamed of the despicable representation of mental illness here recently with 13 Reasons Why and To the Bone.


You should realize the power of influence, especially on young, impressionable teenage minds.

There is a responsibility that comes with platform, and you are promoting shows that propagate harmful and negligent material.

To the Bone” went way too far.

It is a desperate cry for “artistic attention” that romanticizes the nature of anorexia, while simultaneously negating the dangers of the disease, creating a seriously destructive narrative.

I want no part of that.



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432 thoughts on “The Exploitation By “To The Bone”

  1. God bless you for this post. Hollywood does glamourize everything that they shouldn’t . A public service announcement is one thing but stop it with glamourizing things such as anorexia and especially suicide . WHAT ARE WE THINKING!? God bless you for bringing light to this subject as well as what you’re going through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I understand perfectly what you are saying. This applies to many diseases and disabilities. For instance, autistic people are still portrayed like Rain Man or in constant meltdowns. It is a personal trigger, to me, to feel worthless and disgusting, making me wonder what others think when they talk to me. I looked for a “share” to tweet your post but did not see one. I am hoping you were able to get this message out on other types of social media. Stay strong! I’m trying also!


  3. My first experience with romanticized illness was “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” romanticizing mental illness. I was an impressionable middle school kid. That started a lifetime love/hate relationship with manic depression.


  4. I don’t watching things that I know will be triggering. I do my very best to avoid anything that will cause me to take a dive in anyway. It’s interesting though. I was hoping this movie would remind me what starvation does and make me go oh my gosh don’t do that to yourself ever again. I did watch the beginning. Because i dont find it to be triggering for me. But the stepmother in the movie WAS triggering. She just reminded me of every person who ever blew me off, acted as if they knew why i did what i did. The mother was worse to me than anything. So that was enough of that show. Then i looked up the actress and how much she lost for that role. That alone is enough to boycott this movie. A girl with an eating disorder promoting a movie about an eating disorder who then starves herself. It is sickening. At least in the movie , well one of the twilight movies it was all done by animation and the main character did not actually lose that weight. That part of THAT movie bothered me.
    Well anyway, I was hoping to be wrong and to watch some of it and be more inspired to keep on putting nutrients in my body. But that just didn’t happen so I am now watching highway to heaven. A much better choice on Netflix in my opinion


    1. Hi Bethany, thanks for sharing this. yeah, what was demanded of Lily Collins is nothing short of horrendous. Sickening is right. Yes!! thank you! i had the SAME reaction of the twilight movie. I was so disturbed, even though i knew it was make up, it made me really angry. ugh. thanks for you point of view!! big hugs xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I fast forwarded to the end. I wanted to see if it got better or changed only to find that her mother wanted to bottle feed her like she was a baby. I have no words. I just don’t understand. How this spreads any sort of awareness I am at a loss. Now how others contribute to the complexity of recovery I would say that showed in some screwed up ways. I want to see healthy people in healthy relationships at least trying to love each other, have compassion, etc, and I seek those shows out. I really didn’t want to judge this show by it’s trailer and all of the comments others have written on facebook but holy cow. On every single level this show was disturbing…the total of 15 min i watched of the beginning and end. In the twilight movie i actually felt like I was going to throw up and i haven’t had that type of reaction before. It was just very upsetting to me. I think because it was unexpected. I don’t really like to be caught off guard.
        Ok, i see you have a gagillion comments on here so many have voiced their thoughts as well. Best wishes and II hope you have a beautiful night.


  5. Watched it! Thought is was actually pretty good and not at all glamourizing ED. Actually it covers that right off the bat. The comical parts are not as funny as played out by the trailer. In fact it gave hope… if they can find laughter even in themselves they are showing a will to live. It was not overly dramatic nor dramatically over-acted. I was not comfortable watching it but then that means the movie made its point for me. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. Once again I think it’s better to use Hollywood to bring such a topic into light if it’s the easiest way. I think the internet alone brings out thinspo anyway. That is not going to go away. If you can use Hollywood to get people talking it is better than nothing. And lets face it, Netflix isn’t Academy material anyway. True I don’t personally understand what it is like to go through ED though I have had my share of mental health issues. I don’t let Movies like that bother me, though. I’m not saying you should watch it. If the trailer was too much for you then you know what is best for you – totally your right! But I also think it’s not fair to critisize a movie before giving it a chance.


  6. I agree with you. Though I watched it. It was triggering, it wasn’t helpful for me. Partially it made me ‘miss’ the way things used to be – and often dip back in to or dangerously close to.
    I think what they are trying to do is show that there is a life after your disorder but you have to want to change, as they show her reach breaking point before going back.
    Its damaging though, although she is very very thin I thought she was beautiful (and I was jealous that I don’t think I every looked ‘that good’) and that is why it can be highly damaging to anyone in recovery, or even anyone just slipping down that path.

    [maybe ignore this paragraph]

    There are ‘tips’ within the film, they go out to dinner and she chews and spits with some story to the server about chemo making her feel sick, then the 2 laughed about being terrible people making that up. With this I understand they were trying to say you can do ‘normal’ things but it made me feel very uncomfortable. Other things like running home when nobody is looking and stashing a ‘purge bag’ under the bed if you’re being watched, and it shows her exercising late at night on the bed to avoid bruises.


    All in all, I watched it because I wanted to see how they’d done it and whether it actually would be ‘helpful’ to people struggling or in recovery – to which I feel it definitely isn’t. There are comments about her being close to death all the way through and she is supposed to have an epiphany at the end for everything to be ok but I think it’ll do more harm than good. Even in so much as actually those with bulimia weren’t necessarily shown ‘as serious’ so if you were to watch it theoretically you could think that bulimia was the lesser of the evils so you wouldn’t have to worry…

    I don’t know though, that was just my opinion.


  7. Hey hun! Great post. I’d just like to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster award. Of course, this it totally optional but I’d love it if you could participate. Just visit this link if you’re interested: (You’ll just have to scroll up. Sorry this is so long!) x

    (Thank god you said this.)


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