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Halloween Costume Sparks Complaints and Controversy

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A Halloween costume that appears to poke fun at eating disorders is being sold by a few vendors in the US as an outfit to wear at Halloween functions and dances. The inappropriate costume named "Sexy Anna Rexia” makes a joke out of the serious eating disorder anorexia.

The costume itself features a skin tight black bodysuit style dress with a glittery skeleton print silk screened across the front. It also comes with a bone headband, a heart name tag, and a belt which resembles a measuring tape. The most bizarre accessory is a measuring tape choker, which is regarded by some to be an unfortunate statement on the devastating personal effects of eating disorders.

Many people consider the costume to be in extremely poor taste, and some stores and online vendors have voluntarily pulled it off the shelves. The original manufacturer, Dreamgirl, discontinued the outfit a couple of years ago. The designer of the costume is no longer with the company.

Dreamgirl’s director of marketing Alicia Brockwell describes Halloween as “an eccentric and irreverent holiday for people to express themselves in a myriad of ways”. She suggests that everyone is different and should use their own taste and personal discretion in choosing a costume for Halloween. She also adds that the costume was not intended to hurt anyone’s feelings.

The costume seems to bring out the worst in marketing techniques, with one online slogan stating “you can never be too rich or too thin” and another saying “...if you’re starving for attention, this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world”.

Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has expressed shock and revulsion that anyone would purchase a costume that pokes fun at eating disorders. She points out the serious consequences of anorexia, noting that up to 10 million females and 1 million males suffer from eating disorders in the US alone. Individuals do not have a choice whether to be anorexic or not, and the challenging mental disorder of anorexia interferes with all aspects of a person’s life. The effects of anorexia are devastating both physically and emotionally, and left untreated the illness can be fatal.

Source: CNN Health