Dear ‘Emily in Paris’: Making Light of Eating Disorders Is No Joke – Newsweek
While Emily in Paris won’t quite reach the icon status of Ugly Betty or The Devil Wears Prada, it will once again probably be watched by millions across the world on Netflix—and quite rightly. Emily in Paris isn’t supposed to be a cinematic masterpiece, no matter what that controversial 2020 Golden Globe nomination may suggest. There is no doubt Emily in Paris is enjoyable. It’s a light-hearted, easy-watching drama about the life of 20-something-year-old American marketing executive Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins) set in très beautiful Paris.
Along the way, Emily in Paris treads the fine line between being set in the real world and taking place in complete fantasy land. Emily in Paris is more than aesthetically pleasing. It has high fashion, a talented (and attractive) cast, and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, audiences can switch off and escape to Paris for 30 minutes at a time, whenever you want. What’s not to like?
However, Emily in Paris is not without its faults. Audiences may be able to turn a blind eye to the many insults to French people and their culture, predictable storylines, and cringe-inducing moments but unfortunately, at times, Emily in Paris risks doing more harm than good. Here’s why.
The problem is, the Emily in Paris audience is mostly young impressionable women and girls. The show speaks directly to the fashion industry, the importance of aesthetics and the power social media holds over us. After Season 1 aired in October 2020, audiences swooned over the outfits of the show’s main stars and many flocked to Paris to get their Instagram pictures of Emily in Paris’s most lavish locations. The French Tourist Board even promotes an Emily in Paris location map.
In a show with such focus on aesthetics and social media (Emily Instagrams absolutely everything), Emily in Paris inevitably risks feeding into the pressures surrounding female body image. One particular storyline preaches the benefits of a fad diet: eating only leek soup or cold-press leek juice. This could trigger audience members who have been diagnosed with Eating Disorders (ED), or risk being a contributing factor towards disordered eating. So why does a scene perpetuating a dangerous way to lose weight feature in the show?
To recap, in the scene, Emily’s boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) suggests a good way to attract an American audience is for Savior’s new marketing campaign to focus on “magic leek soup”. In her words, “leeks are a diet food for French women. They boil them then drink the water. Their magic trick, their little secret”. Julien (Samuel Arnold) adds “It’s a common drink that helps shed kilos.”
Professor Glenn Waller, a clinician, and …….