The Movie Desperately Hungry Housewives Portrays the Struggles of Dieting and Anorexia

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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In the documentary, “Desperately Hungry Housewives,” four women grapple with varying severities of dietary problems. Through a first-person perspective, they share their daily life and treatment options. These women provide a credible insight into the experience of handling dietary disorders in Britain as modern housewives. Besides showing how they managed their disorders, they also revealed the effect of these disorders on their children and how their families perceive the women themselves. Despite a lack of statistical data in the film, the women did an exceptional job of portraying their experiences.

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In their journey, we witness their doctor visits, various treatments, and eating habits as they strive for recovery. The audience gets the chance to see the progress these resilient women make – for instance, one woman retains her license because she has maintained her weight healthily for an extended period. The challenges they encountered were immense and allowing a stranger with a camera into their homes to document their lives, including hard times, showed remarkable courage.

“Desperately Hungry Housewives” offers an emotional rollercoaster by exposing the audience to the highs and lows of living with a dietary disorder. Each of the four mothers explains how these disorders impact them and their families. One mother, Jane, voices the guilt and pain she endures because her children, two boys and a girl, have chosen to attend universities rather than live with her anorexia. She confesses, “…they’re angry with me, and because they feel like that, it makes me worse. I feel like I should be punished for being so wicked…” Despite her best efforts to understand her children, their resentment does not alleviate the emotions she experiences. This clip was added to invoke empathy from viewers towards Jane, emphasizing how devastatingly dietary disorders can disrupt family bonds.

On introducing another participant, Tracy, before-photos at her lowest points were included in the film. Each image highlights the stark reality: pronounced hip bones, rib cages, thigh gaps, and more. They were incorporated to shock viewers with the raw harshness of dietary disorders, revealing the stark reality of how unhealthy one could become. Anorexia is far more than just slimness. These experiences help the audience to grasp the distressing nature of a dietary disorder.

Unfortunately, the film offered little to no facts or figures. As such, it did not explicitly appeal to logic. Statistics would undoubtedly have been helpful to provide the audience with a backdrop. Even though the viewers can comprehend the topic to some extent, most probably lacked prior knowledge about dietary disorders. The most beneficial facts for the audience would be national and global averages on the ages at which people battle dietary disorders, and how few seek help. Additionally, less discussed is the mindset of individuals struggling with these and other mental health conditions.

Much like medications and self-damage, behaviors such as starving oneself or overeating and then vomiting, along with a plethora of other actions, are extremely addictive. One of the few insightful statements in this film was made by the narrator. She suggested that individuals with eating disorders often attempt to hide their eating habits and refrain from informing others about their food intake, thereby causing fewer people to suspect that something is amiss. The majority of society would rather remain blissfully ignorant and believe that no one struggles with eating disorders. It is a frightening reality that most people are unaware of the prevalence of eating disorders.

The women in this film bravely shared their stories amidst fear of rejection. They are strong, beautiful individuals who deserve the best. Hopefully, viewers will leave with a better understanding of eating disorders and their daily impact on people’s lives. Everyday housewives and many others grapple with the real and harrowing challenges that accompany eating disorders. Every person has their own tolerance level. While some may manage to skip a few meals, others cannot. Regardless of one’s tolerance level, seeking and accepting help is indeed a daunting task. The documentary “Desperately Hungry Housewives” can help those struggling with eating disorders to gain a different perspective. It features middle-aged women in Britain, but the audience could well be teenage boys in Australia. This documentary should be seen by everyone.

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The Movie Desperately Hungry Housewives Portrays the Struggles of Dieting and Anorexia. (2022, Aug 27). Retrieved from