The diseases of Hunger.

Essay by venom1High School, 10th grade October 2003

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Diseases that affect humans are many times categorized into either a male disease or a female disease. In other words, the public views the disease as being usually carried by males or by females. Anorexia and bulimia are almost always classified as a disease that affects mostly females. These diseases may also be classified into different categories depending on what their cause is thought to be. Maggie Helwig, author of the short story "Hunger," believes that "anorexia and bulimia are particularly feminine statements about consumption and consumerism." Helwig provides numerous pieces of evidence for her claim, as one can see in the following explanation of this support.

Helwig begins by saying that the consumer society has "gone so far we can even buy into hunger." She goes on to say that this is not the reason behind anorexia and bulimia. No girl starves herself nearly to death to be attractive.

Instead, Helwig suggests that it is "the nightmare of consumerism acted out in women's bodies." Aside from religious purposes and mental illness, Helwig states that the reasons behind contemporary anorexia and bulimia are "of fairly recent origin." The public was astonished to learn of anorexia as a serious problem in the 1960s and later of bulimia. Helwig also discusses thoughts that many had about these illnesses at the time. People thought that they were simply a fad, when really they were drastically more serious.

Helwig's second attempt at proving her claim, discusses the theory that these disorders were part of adolescent rebellion. She states that many believed anorexia should be blamed on over-controlling mothers. This brings Helwig to argue the following point. "Can it be an accident that this happened almost precisely to coincide with the growth of the consumer society... that had become very nearly uncontrollable," Helwig...