Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 21, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Letter to the Editor: Mental illness should not be sensationalized

An article was recently published about me with the headline: “Ithaca College senior hopes to change the fashion industry.” While I do have desires to promote change in the fashion industry and make it a safer place for women who are underrepresented, this headline is misleading as my experience with the fashion industry is only mentioned towards the end of the story.

The article was posted on Facebook with the caption “Senior Gabby Jorio overcame her eating disorder at age 18 and is now headed to the fashion industry with plans for change.” I am happy that the Ithacan has given me a platform to raise awareness about a deadly mental disorder, but the caption on Facebook makes my anorexia the center of the story when it isn’t. It is problematic that a mental illness is being sensationalized in such a way and I am disappointed that my own struggles have been exploited to attract more readers. The way the story has been advertised perpetuates the idea that women are not celebrated for their accomplishments in their academics or their career, but are rather romanticized for their struggles with mental health. While the reporter does mention some of my academic achievements, none of them make the headline.

There are also so many factual errors in the story. My father does not work as a painter, I did not fall in love with art on a trip with him, and the photo I am holding in the article is not an old photo that represents any adversity I’ve faced in the fashion industry although it is captioned as such. It’s a photo my friend took of me for her senior thesis last month. I never communicated what the photo meant to me, it was just assumed. The caption is misleading and suggests the clear agenda for this story.

I suggest that the Ithacan is more careful when they report on such touchy subjects like this one. I just wanted to clarify that my eating disorder, although it is not something that is currently damaging my mental and physical health, is still something I struggle with. I am not superwoman, I think about my eating disorder every single day, and I’m still recovering. I am happy that this article has inspired some readers, but I hope that it hasn’t pressured some who are struggling with an eating disorder to overcome it quickly or pretend like it doesn’t affect them.