NEDA Walk in a Bikini: Seattle NEDA Walk Spectacle (2013)

Before you read this post, I would like you to remember that this occurred in 2013 and it was an isolated incident. I have spent the better part of the last year in contact and working with NEDA on making this year’s Seattle Walk and all walks better. Our Walk in Seattle this year will be awesome!

———-

Yesterday I participated in this year’s Seattle National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walk.  This year’s Walk was different from previous Walks and, sadly, mostly in not very good ways.  The Walk this year featured a group called Vulure Couture.

Vulure is a bathing suit company that specializes in bathing suits for small-chested women.  The entire group showed up in their line of bikinis, which  ranged from fashionable to scantly and sexy.  To add to the awkwardness, their documentary photographers and videographers were also present to capture the day.  This company had recently completed or is in the process of completing a documentary about two women wearing bikinis for 30-days for Eating Disorder awareness.

The Vulure group and a local nutrition counseling office group partnering with them made the Walk a spectacle and a condoned one at that.  The Walk coordinator on the board of NEDA mentioned the company and the swim line as if it were an advertisement.  This is not far-fetched though seeing how all three had been partnering together prior to the Walk even appearing on a radio talk show.  Each seemed to have an advertisement and an agenda and this Walk was their stage.  They even held up the entire Walk start time to be able to do it.

The overall feelings within myself and amongst my group and family was awkward and upsetting.  The Walk is relatively ‘safe’ environment where there are not triggers around.  Walk coordinators usually make sure the atmosphere allows for this type of environment as well as those people who attend this type of event.  We are all pretty well-aware that at eating disorder gatherings certain behaviors, clothing, talk, etc. should be avoided.  These two groups apparently did not receive the memo nor did the NEDA board member.  The bikini attire, especially the scantly, sexy nature of the bikinis was triggering and a spectacle.  At this type of event it is completely inappropriate.  Many of the Walk participants are still struggling with either behaviors and/or body image and to be bombarded at what should be a safer event is unacceptable.  This is not the time or the place to be promoting your company/business, swimsuits, or bodies.

I hope that there are others that were at the Seattle NEDA Walk that speak up if they felt the same.

Regardless of this happening at the Seattle Walk this year, I had a really good time.  The Walk is not about commercial crap, bodies, triggers, who raises the most (though my competitive demon would say otherwise..), the entertainment, etc.  The Walk is about coming together for a cause, raising awareness, and raising funds.  It is spending time with those you love and that love you for the morning or afternoon and enjoying their company.  Sometimes you have not seen these people in such a long time!  That is what it is about.  Everything else, whatever.  We do not even have to literally walk.

4 thoughts on “NEDA Walk in a Bikini: Seattle NEDA Walk Spectacle (2013)

  1. That is SUCH a shame. It seems as though they forgot about the prime objective when they were creating their marketing plan and partnered with the antithesis of good branding for the cause. I'm sorry that you and the other participants had to endure that, but maybe that means you organize your own event next year! That'd be exciting! Great post! Thanks Kristin Lizabeth (BingeBehavior.com)

  2. Thanks Lizabeth! I have already been thinking about possibly trying to coordinate the walk next year or maybe some other really awesome event to raise awareness.

    It was truly a shame about this year. I hope that through speaking up about it things can be different for the future and for other NEDA events.

  3. Oh wow, when you first tweeted about the bikinis at the walk I thought there were previous patients in modest suits (if a bikini could ever be modest) as a portrayal of body positivity. But this is infinitely worse – advertising at a charity walk, and about bathing suits no less. Usually food is donated and there's good patient exposure to variety but no pressure or endorsement.
    And considering that the swim suits are made for “small-chested” women almost condones an underweight status and detracts from the overall purpose of the walk.
    I would definitely get in contact with NEDA, as it seems rather strange to me that it was ever allowed. Many organizations have external sponsors, but the company sounds like it had no previous connections with eating disorders. The whole thing is just so bizarre…
    Thanks for posting about this!
    ~kw

  4. I received an e-mail from NEDA national walk coordinator yesterday. I e-mailed her back not only about the bikini brigade but also about the Zumba performance. I was curious to know where the idea to have a Zumba instructor preform at a NEDA walk came from. I also requested contact info for the regional coordinator so I can submit ideas for next year. I'll let you know what comes of this!

    -Kristy

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