A little while back, I fell into some sort of Wikipedia k-hole about famous men with eating disorders (what? fashion blogging makes you do weird shit sometimes). I discovered that Russel Brand struggled with bulimia, for example, just as Kafka starved himself. I saw more than a few comments from people indicating the great John Lennon also had an eating disorder, but it wasn’t as widely reported. Lennon, it was said, packaged his obsessive eating habits as a kind of hippie-dippie asceticism and deprivation toward enlightenment, so no one ever called the systematic fasting what it was: anorexia.
Interestingly, today Gawker reports that a new book called BackStage Pass VIP is saying Lennon also suffered from bulimia:
Lennon was confused about his obsession with food. Lennon was surrounded by talented musicians, but many had drinking and drug problems – so it was hard for them to see Lennon’s purging behavior as extraordinary. One must also realize that at that time the public and the media were unaware of bulimia as an addiction and health risk – which made it all the more frightening for John Lennon. He literally had no point-of-reference on what he was experiencing.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, more than a million men and boys struggle with an eating disorder and that number is growing. It’s a wonder to think that may famous men, beyond Lennon, may have battled a terrible disease like bulimia and did so in secret, whether for fear of the stigmatizing “feminine disorder” or for honest ignorance that it could happen to them.
Then again, this could all be the kind of press-baiting secret revealing we expect from books with names like BackStage Pass VIP.