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Zara McDermott’s Disordered Eating documentary divides fans

Zara McDermott’s BBC Three documentary on Disordered Eating has divided viewers following its broadcast on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter to share their immediate thoughts, many fans were quick to slam the programme as ‘tone-deaf’ and ‘triggering,’ but others lauded the Love Island star for realising she was ‘part of the problem and wanting to fix it.’

In her documentary, Zara investigated the devastating impact of influencers’ social media posts on young people struggling with eating disorders, with the star herself learning that her own Instagram imageshad been ‘triggering.’

Opinions: Zara McDermott’s BBC Three documentary on Disordered Eating has divided viewers following its broadcast on Tuesday

For the documentary, Zara spoke to a number of young people who had suffered from eating disorders, reflecting on how social media can have a negative impact on their body image and mental health.

But the programme earned a mixed response from fans, with some praising her for highlighting such a hard-hitting issue, and even acknowledging that her own health and fitness content may have contributed to the problem.

However, others were quick to brand the programme ‘tone-deaf’, with some who had previously battled eating disorders, admitting it was a difficult watch.

Opinion: Taking to Twitter to share their immediate thoughts, many fans were quick to slam the programme as 'tone-deaf' but others lauded the Love Island star

Opinion: Taking to Twitter to share their immediate thoughts, many fans were quick to slam the programme as ‘tone-deaf’ but others lauded the Love Island star

One tweeted: ‘Just watched Zara McDermott’s documentary on Disordered Eating. The bravery and strength of the young people who shared their experiences was what stood out to me.

‘The contributions from professionals throughout was insightful too.’

Another added: ‘I really hope every influencer, or person with any sort of following watches Zara McDermott’s documentary on @bbcthree. Things need to change.’ 

A third tweeted: ‘Just watched a BBC documentary hosted Zara McDermott and it was heartbreaking to see so many young people, preteen in some cases, ashamed of their bodies.

‘All credit to Zars for acknowledging she could be part of the problem and wanting to fix that. Body shaming is disgusting.’

‘Wheewwww that Zara McDermott doc is heavy,’ one fan posted.

‘TW on eating disorders ofc. I can’t believe that ‘meanspo’ stuff exists. Cried a lot in that – reminder that social media isn’t real and influencers need to be super conscious of who their audience is.’

Important: Some praised her for highlighting such a hard-hitting issue, and even acknowledging that her own health and fitness content may have contributed to the problem

Important: Some praised her for highlighting such a hard-hitting issue, and even acknowledging that her own health and fitness content may have contributed to the problem

One fan also tweeted: ‘Overall I think the Zara McDermott documentary was well made and fair play to her for exploring how social media and influencers can exacerbate disordered eating.

‘I have definitely found certain influencers triggering in the past and opening the discussion is so important.’

However, one viewer tweeted: ‘Watching the Zara McDermott #DisorderedEating documentary and have some mixed feelings. 

‘It’s helpful to address the impact of social media but the whole conversation is around how triggering that content is whilst still showing that same content on the programme.’

Another posted: ‘Zara McDermott’s new documentary just makes me so sad. 

‘I’m sure it was well intentioned but it comes off as tone deaf, and uses an influencer who is commonly referenced in unhealthy body image goals online and needs far more change to the way she presents herself online.’

A viewer also shared: ‘Oh the gradual dumbing down of the population is startling. This Zara McDermott documentary makes me want to throw my sofa at the telly. She is so, so dense, not to mention completely tone deaf.’

Enraged: However, others were quick to brand the programme 'tone-deaf', with some who had previously battled eating disorders, admitting it was a difficult watch

Enraged: However, others were quick to brand the programme ‘tone-deaf’, with some who had previously battled eating disorders, admitting it was a difficult watch

In her BBC Three documentary, Zara looks at the shocking rise in Meanspo sites, where young people sign up to be told they are ‘fat’ to ‘inspire them’ to lose weight.

She revealed that within minutes of creating an account on TikTok, she was bombarded with posts promoting anorexia and ‘thinfluencers’.

Zara said she wants her new documentary to encourage social media platforms and other influencers to tackle the problem and not ‘perpetuate’ eating disorders.

Shocking: In her BBC Three documentary, Zara looks at the shocking rise in Meanspo sites, where young people sign up to be told they are 'fat' to 'inspire them to lose weight

Shocking: In her BBC Three documentary, Zara looks at the shocking rise in Meanspo sites, where young people sign up to be told they are ‘fat’ to ‘inspire them to lose weight

It come after she previously revealed she was left ‘devastated’ when eating disorder sufferers told her that her weight loss posts were ‘triggering’. 

The star said she had never worried about her body or counted calories until cruel trolls branded her a ‘fat whale’, leading to her losing weight.

She then documented her three-stone weight loss with pictures shared to Instagram in 2020, but was accused of triggering anorexia and eating disorders with her posts.

‘I was absolutely devastated to hear that,’ she told The Sun. 

Upset: It come after she previously revealed she was left 'devastated' when eating disorder sufferers told her that her weight loss posts were 'triggering'

Upset: It come after she previously revealed she was left ‘devastated’ when eating disorder sufferers told her that her weight loss posts were ‘triggering’

‘I didn’t know where to go from there, because I don’t want to hurt anyone and it’s so easy for anything you post to be perceived in the wrong way.

‘I didn’t know whether to walk away from social media entirely, but I think all I can do is learn and listen and do my best.’

Zara said it was speaking to teenage patients at the Schoen Clinic Newbridge in Birmingham during filming that changed her perspective on her social media posts.

The TV personality said one young person told her she was ‘beautiful’ before her weight loss and that her posts could be damaging to young women struggling with eating disorders.

She admitted it was ‘hard to hear’ and said she felt ‘really upset’ afterwards but said influencers have a ‘duty’ to be responsible with their content, saying she never wanted to make the same mistake again.

If you need help or support for an eating disorder, please call Beat on 0808 801 0677 or visit www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk. 

Upset: The former Love Island star (pictured in 2020) said she had never worried about her body until cruel trolls branded her a 'fat whale', leading to her losing weight

Upset: The former Love Island star (pictured in 2020) said she had never worried about her body until cruel trolls branded her a ‘fat whale’, leading to her losing weight 

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