'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. autozone near me


    June 16, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. hiking near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. gun ranges near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. buffalo wild wings near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Places Near Me

    I really like looking through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    June 16, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repairs Nearby

    This is the perfect webpage for everyone who hopes to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that's been discussed for decades. Great stuff, just wonderful!


    June 17, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. indian restaurant near me


    June 17, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Around Me


    June 17, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Shop

    Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 17, 2021 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 17, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    Howdy! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Near Me

    Itís nearly impossible to find experienced people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 17, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ups near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mattress firm near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. car audio near me


    June 17, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. food near me open now

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 17, 2021 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. verizon wireless near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I donít know why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 17, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. mattress store near me


    June 17, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. hardware near me


    June 18, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. mechanics near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 18, 2021 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. minute clinic near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. covid rapid test near me

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly delighted I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    June 18, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. kitchen remodel showrooms


    June 18, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Orange County


    June 18, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair California


    June 18, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. home depot contractors

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


    June 18, 2021 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Orange County

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 18, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 18, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nearest RV Repair


    June 18, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. cell phone repair near me


    June 18, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. macys near me


    June 18, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair San Clemente California

    After exploring a handful of the articles on your blog, I truly appreciate your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website as well and tell me how you feel.


    June 18, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Around Me


    June 18, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 19, 2021 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair San Clemente California


    June 19, 2021 at 04:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 19, 2021 at 07:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair California


    June 19, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Seal Beach


    June 19, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. redbox near me

    Good write-up. I certainly love this website. Thanks!


    June 19, 2021 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. food near me open now


    June 19, 2021 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Seal Beach


    June 19, 2021 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 19, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Nearby


    June 19, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 19, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 19, 2021 at 20:58 | 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 neurologist near me


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.