What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary, although rated for mature audiences, should be required viewing for girls who've ever had a brush with an eating disorder (or who have friends who have). That said, you must watch with your kids. There's too much anguish and illness here to let them make sense of it alone. Fourteen may seem young, but waiting for a child to be of legal age could be too late. The film is a gripping, no-holds-barred 102 minutes of brutally honest footage about anorexia and bulemia and the psychological and physical consequences of both. The women portrayed are filled with mental anguish, there's talk of suicide, shots of purging, stomach tubes, and honest and intimate discussions (some laced with profanity). CAUTION: Tips on how to binge, purge, and avoid eating are discussed in the movie. While some people might feel that these tips will teach girls (or boys) how to be bulemic or anorexic, the truth is that motivated kids will find them out anyway, and it's important for families to know the warning signs to break past any denial they may have about their children's illness.
- Families can talk about the nature and toll of eating disorders. What starts them? What are the women feeling? Have your kids ever felt that way? Do they know people who have? Ask your kids if they know people who are already bingeing and purging or starving themselves. If they do, have they told anyone? If not, why? What role does shame play? Powerlessness? And how does the secret nature of the behavior affect the women in the movie? Can your kids make the connection between keeping secrets, covering for friends, and the nature of this hidden disease? Do your children understand the pressures to be thin in this society? Have they ever felt that they were too fat? What did they do about it? What about your own behavior? What are you modeling for your children? For more discussion points, go to the HBO site to download the Thin discussion guide.