Accepted Paper:

"To look right, to fit in": teenage anorexia, the spiral of silence, and graphic medicine  
Anu Mary Peter (National Institute of Technology)Raghavi Ravi Kasthuri (National Institute of Technology, Trichy)Senthil Babu M K (Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how the fear of isolation and rejection acts as a socio-cultural catalyst for the rise of teenage anorexia. Additionally, this paper also divulges how graphic medicine enables sufferers to make sense of their disintegrated socio-cultural world.

Paper long abstract:

Anorexia nervosa has gained critical attention as the deadliest psychiatric disorder in western society. Teenage anorexia in girls which is a subset of anorexia is a corollary of their fear of social condemnation which might happen if they fail to conform with putative cultural expectations of femininity. Accordingly, fear of isolation/rejection can be considered as strong socio-cultural catalysts for the rise of anorexia in teenagers. Although there are numerous studies which underscore the indisputable correlation between anorexia and fear of social acceptance, not many significant attempts have been made thus far to fathom anorexia using a socio-psychological theory. Interestingly, there are graphic medical memoirs that deploy the medium to explore the hitherto unmapped trajectories of subjective eating disorder experiences in the light of social seclusion fear. Considering anorexia as an ineffable condition of psychosomatic trauma, we need non-verbal media where the "unspeakable may be better communicated emotionally and viscerally" (Hirsch, 2004). Accordingly, comics which in itself is a disruptive medium aids them to process their emotions, recreate their identity and restore their fragmented selves. In this context, by drawing theoretical postulates from Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, this article examines the rise of anorexia in young girls using the spiral of silence theory, specifically by close reading Katie Green's graphic memoir, Lighter Than My Shadow (2013). Additionally, this paper also divulges how structural features of the medium of comics help in articulating traumatic experiences and how graphic medicine offers imaginative and innovative ways of expressing affective truths.

Panel Cre05
Making accounts count: imagination, creativity, and (in)coherence