Black Women and Eating Disorders

That wasn’t always the case. The cover of her new book, ‘Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat,’ tells it all. Jagged black scribbles cross out a childhood photo, which is set against the backdrop of a stark yellow cover. But the most striking image, also on the cover, is of two fingers-the index and middle fingers-both used to induce vomiting by sticking down the throat.

They symbolize bulimia, which is characterized by binge eating and purging either by throwing up, laxative abuse or over exercising. A compulsion, it is usually done to numb feelings of anxiety or pain, experts say.

“My childhood picture is crossed out because it’s about my self-loathing phase,” she says in a reflective voice in a telephone conversation from her home in Los Angeles. “The two fingers, well, they are about bulimia. It resonates for me.”

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