The Netflix Bone Completely Ignores How Diverse Eating Disorders Are





to the bone


“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

~ David Viscott

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

~ Anonymous


Dear Readers,


Please find below review for The Netflix Bone from Kenya. Trigger Warning: The movie is triggering for people battling Eating Disorders.


I am very grateful for this review. Thank You for shedding light on this timely movie and how it impacts Muslims battling Eating Disorders.



The Netflix Bone Completely Ignores How Diverse Eating Disorders Are


The Netflix’s To The Bone which premiered in January has triggered a lot of response which is divided among viewers who happen to have eating disorders. Many people with eating disorders feel that this trailer has completely ignored the dangers that could be caused by the extreme avoidance of food. They argue against the movie that, I has greatly used very light-tone towards food avoidance behaviours.  However there are some viewers who truly praise the movie for its showing the eating disorders. These viewers state that they have great hopes in the movie for its representation of the real anorexia and they think that it can impact differently on different people.

To The Bone is inspired by Marti Noxon who suffered from eating disorder, in fact the trailer’s star, Lily Collins also suffered from anorexia. The controversy about this trailer has been deemed to glamorise anorexia. This has triggered some painful reactions from people who once suffered from this condition. To The Bone has really ignored how diverse eating disorders are and the Muslims feel that they have been also been affected by the physical representation of the consequences of the eating disorders. It’s hauntingly real. offended by the physical representation of the consequences of the eating disorders.

The controversy about To The Bone

To The Bone has faced a lot of objections from the society. Some of the objections about this movie claims that it really glamorises anorexia and shows that this condition affects young western ladies. The representation of anorexia according To The Bone does fail to give an expansive understanding of what really eating disorders are in the society and how it is viewed in terms of cultural identity.

Also To The Bone has really failed to address stigmatisation that surrounds eating disorders in the society.  To The Bone claims to unleash all the truth about anorexia, however, that’s not what happens, as it fails to understand that anorexia can be viewed in many different ways and different experiences.

People with eating disorders can do very extreme behaviours just to avoid eating. This is clearly shown in To The Bone where Ellen does very extreme behaviours for food avoidance. The movie has faced some criticism because of this since many people believe that it is feeding those with eating disorders some negative information on how they can avoid eating and also disguise true weight.

Lily Collins who plays the main character seems to be very emaciated. Her frighteningly emaciated body is more frequently displayed all through the movie. People with anorexia have a positive view toward emaciation and they would really want to be emaciated and look like Ellen. Those who are healthy have a negative reaction toward emaciation, thus it is very different from what people with anorexia feel about it.

In fact, Ellen who happens to have had some history with anorexia had to lose weight as preparation to star in the movie. Losing weight can be very dangerous to people who suffered from anorexia before. This would impact negatively on the anorexia sufferers who have since recovered such they would tend to get back to the emaciated bodies that were in before recovery.

To The Bone does not address everything about eating disorders, some stereotypes about eating disorders have been left unaddressed. Al the people in the film that have eating disorders are very thin, however, in reality not all people with eating disorders are usually thin, and in fact many people with eating disorders are of average weight and above average. This representation has failed to depict that eating disorders can happen in many ways and in different people. People of above average weight can suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia or binge. Based on the movie these kind of people would actually tend not to seek treatment since they aren’t as thin as what is portrayed in Netflix’s To The Bone.  When people fail to recognise that they are suffering from an eating disorder they will definitely not seek any treatment.

To The Bone includes Kendra who is a woman of color with eating disorder, however, her role is very small. This tends to cement the misconception that eating disorder is a condition that only affects affluent and the young white women. Eating disorders in Muslims are very real, but the movie has not shown that. More often the Muslim dress code can make it difficult to identify that a woman has anorexia. To The Bone should have covered the diverse races so that people can really get to understand how this condition can be identified in different people. Under-recognizing anorexia in terms of race is a big misconception, which can deter people from seeking treatment.

This eating disorder movie has been perceived by many, especially those affected by eating disorder as a movie that is meant to instil fear and incite pity on the sufferers. However the inspiration behind To The Bone was to allow people to see the terrible reality about the most extreme eating disorders.

Ramadan and eating disorders

Ramadan is a month in which the Muslims devote themselves to the Islamic religion study, self-discipline and giving to others. During this time Muslims are expected to fast for about 15 hours each day through the month. This would negatively affect those suffering from the eating disorders or those who have extreme conditions of starving themselves. Self-discipline is very paramount during Ramadan, thus people should completely try to ignore their hunger. This would really affect the mental health of person suffering from anorexia and to a greater extent even fuel the anorexia.

What’s positive about To The Bone?

People in the society tend to have very little or no information about anorexia. Societies can have stigmatising attitudes toward those suffering from anorexia. When the society is engulfed with stigmatization attitude this can deter sufferers from seeking medical attention and can lead to can huge rifts and a deep sense of hurt and isolation. To The Bone is actually trying to educate people about the difficulties that sufferers of anorexia go through and to show the society that these people need to be empathised with.

This movie has also shown that recovery from anorexia is very possible. This could encourage the sufferers to seek treatment.

When someone is suffering from eating disorder, they usually experience very difficult times. These difficult times have been clearly shown in the Netflix’s To The Bone, and it has since roused the painful feelings on the people already suffering from the condition. The scenes can be hurting to those battling eating disorders and those who have recover from the condition. Also, for Muslims suffering from eating disorders, Ramadan can make the already difficult times even worst. Muslims, during this period have to go through drastic changes with their diets and times of food intake, these changes can greatly increase the eating disorder symptoms.

How scary and dangerous eating disorder anorexia is

Eating disorder is a very serious problem to the sufferers. When you decide to live with eating disorder anorexia you might find yourself contemplating to do harm to yourself. Sufferers can be faced with severe suicidal thoughts and might even want to commit the act. This is very wrong to Allah. Eating disorder can leave you with an extremely emaciated body and your body would shut down due to the lack of energy it requires to keep functioning. When your body shuts down, it can be very fatal to you and would eventually would lead to death.

Eating disorder, anorexia is associated with very extreme behaviours. Those who avoid food all the time would do anything just to avoid eating. These behaviours could be so devastating and they have been brought into reality by the Netflix’s To The Bone movie which shows Ellen hiding food under the bed and also other extreme food avoidance behaviours. Ellen actually goes to a point of ignoring the doctor’s prescription which only continues to worsen her health.

Eating disorder anorexia can be very difficult for families. The parents to the sufferers have to constantly show more love so that they can instil some hope into them. This can be a very difficult task for carers during the period of the illness, recovery and even after the recovery until a sufferer gets to a stable psychological state.


to the bone relatives

Anorexia can be treated. Any Muslim with anorexia condition should look for treatment, in fact those who don’t seek treatment can be said to be going against Allah’s will. Treatment for anorexia should always start by accepting the fact that you have the condition. Accepting that you have anorexia is actually admitting that your mind is troubled and you are very irrational and you would really want to have it get into the best state.

Practicing some art of meditation can help you become more aware about yourself and even want to change your mind by starting to feed with positive thoughts. This would help you to become rational and help your mind to adapt towards the positive side. When you are becoming more aware about your condition it is now very easy to embrace the treatment of anorexia, which is actually eating.


The Netflix’s To The Bone movie can be very helpful and hurting to those suffering from anorexia. This is simply because it has brought into reality all the devastating effects of anorexia. It can be hurting to those suffering but it can also be good to everyone as you get to understand the condition and even the need for treatment.



About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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