'Sexy anorexia' Halloween costume controversy
October 7th, 2011
07:26 AM ET

'Sexy anorexia' Halloween costume controversy

It’s hard to imagine a deadly disorder being translated into a Halloween costume, let alone a sexy Halloween costume. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more inappropriate than sexy Cookie Monster, a costume has come along that reaches a whole new level of just plain wrong.

Anna Rexia.

The Anna Rexia costume features a black bodysuit style dress with a glittery, silk-screened skeleton print, bone headband, heart name tag, measuring tape ribbon belt, and the most shocking accessory of all - a matching measuring tape choker! We're not sure if the costume manufacturer intended for the choker to be a pun.

Critics say the costume makes a joke out of a deadly eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Up to 10 million females and one million males in the U.S. suffer from diseases such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

CNN spoke to Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, about the controversy surrounding Anna Rexia. Grefe was disturbed to hear that some retailers had actually sold out of the costume, but she's relieved that some stores are not selling it anymore.

"I find it just appalling," said Grefe. "Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and to think that someone that understood an eating disorder would actually buy this costume is an outrage."

Grefe said that only someone with a "sick mind" would purchase the costume, likening it to dressing up as a war veteran missing arms and legs or someone afflicted with melanoma.

"To me they're all the same," said Grefe, who pointed out that anorexia, like melanoma, is not a choice. "Talk about the ultimate in poor taste. That costume represents a sick perspective on this illness."

While the costume is still being sold - albeit by scant few vendors - the manufacturer, Dreamgirl, discontinued it a couple of years ago. Anna Rexia was initially designed back in 2007 and Dreamgirl’s director of marketing, Alicia Brockwell, told CNN that the designer is no longer with the company.

“We understand that some people will not find the dark humor funny,” said Brockwell. “Or that they are sensitive to the topic it addresses. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and would never want to cause harm to anyone. Dreamgirl is a company run by women for women. Halloween is an eccentric and irreverent holiday for people to express themselves in a myriad of ways. While some people may not like a particular costume - it is a matter of taste and personal discretion.”

Grefe said that even if the costume was meant to be a joke, it is no laughing matter.

"There is absolutely nothing funny about anorexia," continued Grefe. "If you saw an 8-year-old kid on a feeding tube you'd be surprised. Anorexia is not a choice - at all. The wrong people go on a diet, they lose five pounds but they like it too much and they lose another five pounds and lose all sense of reality."

Grefe also pointed out the physical consequences of anorexia.

"Eating disorders are mental and the consequences are physical," she said, pointing out that related health issues can include early osteoporosis, kidney failure, digestive system ailments, renal disease, and more. "If you're not feeding yourself, you're not feeding your brain and your body - and your body needs the fuel."

Grefe also urges anyone with an eating disorder to dial the helpline at 800-931-2237 or visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org

Multiple costume retailers have pulled the costume from shelves and online stores amid complaints, but several vendors still carry Anna Rexia – one online description of Anna Rexia includes the phrase “You can never be too rich or too thin.”

Another online shop’s description reads, "If Anna Rexia doesn't want to put it in her mouth there is nothing you can say to change her mind. You can stop trying to sell her on the point that there aren't any carbs and it's all protein because Anna Rexia just doesn't want anything to do with it. Make no bones about it this girl is as disciplined as they can get. Anna Rexia costume is anything but bare bones! Costume includes headband, choker neckband, removable ‘Anna Rexia’ badge and ribbon tie belt. If you're starving for attention, this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world."

As Eve Vawter from XOJane.com puts it, "Yep, you too could have been a sexy girl with a disease with a super high mortality rate for Halloween."

What do you think of Anna Rexia? Let us know in the comments section below.

Post by:
Filed under: Mental Health • Mind and body • Nutrition

soundoff (1,058 Responses)
  1. rv slide out repair


    June 11, 2021 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Mattresses California


    June 11, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Upgrades Shop Near Me


    June 11, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mercedes Sprinter Chasis Repair

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should publish more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don't speak about these topics. To the next! All the best!!


    June 11, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dodge Sprinter Repair Service

    Good blog you have here.. Itís difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 11, 2021 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. horse trailer paint colors


    June 11, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. raleigh body shops

    Thanks for the information.


    June 12, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. auto body shop raleigh

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    June 12, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Relentless Collision

    I really like this post


    June 12, 2021 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. after school programs gamrbills

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    June 12, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. after school program near gambrills

    very nice! Ireally like your blog


    June 12, 2021 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. rv trailer repair near me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to revisit once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 12, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Flooring Riverside


    June 12, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Luxury Van Shop

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this site needs much more attention. Iíll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the info!


    June 12, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Freightline Sprinter Repair


    June 12, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sprinter Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 12, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. printing services near me


    June 12, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ups near me


    June 12, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. tire stores near me


    June 12, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. xfinity store near me

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.


    June 12, 2021 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. martial arts near me

    This website truly has all of the info I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 13, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. smiths near me

    I couldnít resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    June 13, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 7 eleven near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this amazing site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 13, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. att store near me


    June 13, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. hiring near me


    June 13, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. lakes near me


    June 13, 2021 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. sporting goods near me


    June 13, 2021 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. sears near me


    June 13, 2021 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rentals near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. red robin near me

    You've made some really good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 14, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. motels near me

    Hello! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I'll be coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 14, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. homegoods near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. neurologist near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 15, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Near My Location

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read through articles from other writers and use something from other web sites.


    June 15, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Orange County

    Hi! I could have sworn Iíve visited this website before but after going through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 15, 2021 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    I like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    June 15, 2021 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Santa Ana


    June 15, 2021 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair California


    June 15, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Nearby RV Repair

    Very good article. I am going through a few of these issues as well..


    June 15, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 16, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 16, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 16, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 16, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 16, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you book-marked to check out new stuff you postÖ


    June 16, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Orange County


    June 16, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. party city near me


    June 16, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. shoe store near me


    June 16, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Leave a Reply to Window Washing Service Barnum West, Denver, CO


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.