Monday, October 08, 2007

Title Me This


I know it's not true. But, if you've read my intro, you know that I really don't think we all have eating disorders, but some sort of disordered eating or body image concern. Not everyone. Maybe not you. But most of us. And that was the original point.

Plus, as I've mentioned before, the title was meant to be provocative. It's also kinda catchy, I think. It's the kind of title I'd pick up at Barnes & Noble because, apparently, I DO judge a book by it's cover.

But, some of your feedback has led me to believe it's not the best title. It could be off-putting, it reflects poorly on women, etc. A publisher I had hoped to work with originally said she loved the title. When she met with the rest of her staff, they ended up rejecting the project. One of the reasons she offered? The title. They felt that most women would not be willing to pick up the book, be seen with it, etc.

Recently, I've thought about: "EWHAED. . . or Something Like it." What are your thoughts? (on this or other possible titles)

Without using this title, how can I capture my premise, attract an audience, and still incite debate and contemplation?

Any other ideas?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read this blog occasionally, and have never liked the title. I can imagine that women with real, clinically-diagnosed eating disorders would find it insulting, but I could be wrong. And I guess it is still unclear exactly what will be in the book, so it's hard to suggest a title. Will it be a compilation of you posts? Will it include comments posted here? If those are the subject matter, I'd still try to use something a bit catchy that "regular" women can kind of relate to, maybe having in the title one of those catch-phrases we all recognize, like "skinny jeans', "size zero", those last 5 (or 10, or 20) pounds". Hopefully you'll get some more suggestions.

Fi Fo Fum said...

I disagree with anonymous' comment. I think it's a great title, maybe not conclusively true, and maybe somewhat controversial, but therefore something that would pique people's interest to PICK UP your book, and see for themselves what it's all about.
Don't consider using EWHAED; I think that would not cause ppl to look at your book twice.
When do you plan to get it published? Because I don't want this blog to end as soon as I've discovered it!!!!!

Nicole said...

Skewed. But I always liked the original title, personally.

Sara said...

I love the original title. I saw this blog listed on another blog and couldn't click on it fast enough... I've suffered from multiple eating disorders though, quite literally in the old textbook sense, so that may have had something to do with the appeal. The title makes me feel like I'm not as alone, especially since I'm currently working hard to finally squash the last of those evil disordered eating demons that still linger. I love it.

LG said...

How about "When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies"?

Oh right. That's already out there.

I've got no problems with the title! If someone looks up ED books on the Internet or a library search, your book would appear, which is a positive...

Alyssa said...

What if the title posed the question, "Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?"
Hmmmm. Not sure if that works. But I can imagine the morning news shows wanting an interview, and an answer.

Kristen said...

I don't have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulemia, but I do think that our culture puts an immense emphasis on women's bodies, which makes almost all of us examine our bodies, and since most of us do not have the size 0 runway model body, it can cause some negative self body image issues. ALL the woman I know and talk to have some kind of complaint about their bodies...and most are trying to do something about it. I, myself, am on a fitness quest to try to get back my pre-baby body, so what you write hits home for me. Maybe those who have suffered with ED would be offended by the title, but once they read what you are writing about, they should realize that there is nothing to be offended about. I think it is plainly obvious that the title is not a "fact" statement, and I knew right away that it was a bit of sarcasm...before reading your blog.
You can't please everyone, and those that are offended don't have to read YOUR blog. It's yours, do what you want with it :) Just my 2 cents.

cggirl said...

I did like the title, but when u asked for suggestions i immediately had the same thought as Alyssa - posing the question like that, rather than in statement form.
Also u could say something about the eating disordered culture... like "Life in an Eating Disordered Culture" tho i don't know if that makes sense to u.
I tend to like the question form as an alternative, tho it is a bit long but...

P.S. Don't forget, Jeniffer Weiner wrote a book called "Good in Bed" and originally some agent or editor or someone told her she should change it to "The Big Girl" or something like that. Thank goodness she didn't haha.
But ya i understand that u have to at least consider these issues, because i too judge a book by its cover. I never got why i shouldn't - how else am i supposed to know what's in it??!! haha.

cggirl said...

oops i meant "Jennifer".

Maria said...

I've suffered from "clinically diagnosed" Anorexia Nervosa/Athletica for six years, and I'm not offended.

I think the title makes an inherently true statement. Whether or not a woman acts on her disordered thoughts is one thing, but I think the "I want to be thinner" (or something along those lines) thoughts exists in every woman at some point or another.

Just my two cents, though. I say go with the title that really expresses your goals and mission statement.

Miss Janey said...

The title IS provocative, and Miss Janey understands your intention. But as someone who is being treated for an ED, Miss J has issues with it, always has & will. It diminishes the very real struggle of those afflicted with EDs. Miss J enjoys this blog, and also Alyssa's suggestion of "Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?". Same sentiment, really, without the unnecessary exaggeration.

Lindsay R. said...

The title of your blog is THE REASON I started reading it. You have a point and you make it passionately and with conviction so why would you want to change it? Can you keep fighting those editor people?

Kell Brigan said...

Thanks for addressing this. Personally, I've felt a bit squichy about the title -- we've got so many forces implying (or saying outright) that being female equals being diseased that it never sat well with me. And, in some groups, being a fully functional woman (i.e. not afraid to go outdoors wearing shorts or whatever) is unacceptable behavior. If you love yourself for real, without exceptions, and actually walk the talk, you're put down for showing off, or being bitchy, or being too pushy, etc.

On the other hand, it is catchy. I like "Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?" since it retains some of that catchiness, but is more accurate. Or, perhaps something like "Good Girls Don't Eat" or "Eating Normally Isn't Ladylike." Good luck. This is a tricky one.

Charlynn said...

I really like Alyssa's suggestion. It's still provocative and keeps the original idea while twisting it around a little.

Beth said...

I have an ed (bulimia), but don't find the title personally insulting. However, most women wouldn't want to be seen with an ed book, I agree. How about "Every Woman has a Body Image Disorder" or "Every Woman has Body Image Issues"? The disorder catches attention, or the "issues" might be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested to see Joy Nash's new Fat Rant video - "Confessions of a Compulsive", which takes on the idea that fat women necessarily have some kind of binge or compulsive eating problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8dm5VpYGH4

Sasha said...

I personally don't like the "disorder" part but that is probably because I think our relationship with food is what we were taught and there is nothing disordered about it.

Title suggestions? Really depend on the direction of the book. An analysis of the problem? That is probably the right title. Analysis with an attempt to escape the problem? Something like "Stop Fighting With Your Food."

Sharon said...

Put a question mark after your original title.

Greta & Gurdy said...

Interesting issue. I am someone who suffered and recovered from an ED (bulimia) and I like the title. I never once thought you were implying that every woman has a clinically diagnosed ED or even that they have one that is undiagnosed. Not in the clinical sense. I totally get your premise that most women have body issues- whether it’s how they feel about themselves, thinking about what they are going to eat all the time, etc, etc. I guess I understand why it might put some people off but I like it.

disordered girl said...

I think some of the comments show why, for a broad audience, it can present problems (though I like and was the reason I started reading!). The majority of people *still* see eating disorders as the 80 lb anorexic on Entertainment Tonight, or someone with extreme bulimia. We are talking about any unhealthy relationship with food and weight as a "disorder." Making it a question more than a statement is a good idea, and opens the door for part of the opening of the book to define what you mean by "eating disorder."

Anonymous said...

I started reading this because I found the title provocative, though I feel that I am pretty healthy in that area. Disordered eating and ideas is the norm for sure...I think those publishers were projecting on to other women, I think publishers think differently from most women though.

beautiful1107 said...

I started reading the blog because I read the interview rom ivillage. I have never really liked the title because in a way it makes it seem like it's ok to have a problem because everyone does so it to me implyes that we aren't alone but I think it limits your scope. I feel the blog is about impowering women to take back control of or body image from the media and society. So i thought Impowering women to take back control of their image ans some how emphise take back and their. I can't wait to read the book.

P.S. sorry for any bad spelling

MB said...

I've always said every woman has issues with her body whether she is a size 2 or 22+. I like the title and would buy the book but I can understand if some people would be put off by it.

I don't like *EWHAED* for a title and probably wouldn't pick it up if I saw it on the bookstore shelf. I don't think you have to use the same title for the book. We'll all know how to find you.

The title could be fun or clinical or a little of both.

I'm sure the book will be a huge success no matter what the title.

Congrats!

Leslie said...

I'm with sara - when I first saw the name of your blog, I was absolutely drawn to it. I understood you weren't saying "every single woman on earth is anorexic," but rather were alluding to the pervasiveness of eating and body image issues. I think it's a fantastic title and not only would buy it in a second, but would place in prominently (ie top shelf in my cobbled-together library) to garner attention.

Anonymous said...

I love the title and it's what drew me to this blog. I also think it is true, not in the actual clinical sense, of course, but in the way that food and eating is portrayed daily in the media. If you are thin, you are "encouraging eating disorders in young people", if you are heavy, you are "contributing to the obesity epidemic" and no matter what size you are anything and everything you eat is bad/unhealthy/immoral/causing global warning, depending on which magazine you pick up or TV channel you are watching. There's no way any woman in this country can feel undisordered in her eating; unless it's a soybean, there is something wrong with every food choice you make.

Anonymous said...

America has an Eating Disorder


though I started reading this blog bc I found the title, and then loved the idea that you put forth to explain it. I am not offended by the title, and I do have an ED (got out of IP six months today - yay me!) that i'm working to get rid of.

Tim S. said...

How about, "Being A Woman In An Eating Disordered World"? I share your interest in this area, and I think your blog is great. I've passed it along to a number of people I know. Best of luck.

Tim
http://www.strugglingwithfood.com

ps. I can get a book if you use my title, right? ;)

drstaceyny said...

Wow--thanks for all your feedback. See, I still feel torn. . . . I like the idea of posing it as a question (thanks, Alyssa, Sharon, etc.) and also like and have thought abt commenting on the culture instead (thanks, cggirl, kell, tim). And, yes, Tim, you can have a free copy if I ever get this published. I really appreciate your perspective. And, to the last anon, congrats and good luck to you. . .

drstaceyny said...

Oh, and I wouldn't use EWHAED--I was just being lazy! ; )

Tim S. said...

It is interesting the nuance of a word or placement of a punctuation. I think in a broader context, the title can acknowledge that an ED isn't specific to women, but that they are a largely effected group, which is why you are looking into it further.

Tim S. said...

ps. Framing it that way may appeal to the publisher because you can hit a broader audience. Publishers are all about the target audience. :D

Femaleclaws said...

Actually, I suddenly thought 'EATING THIS ORDER' might be a good word play on Eating Disorder, though the meaning might be taken in different ways: Like how narrow "ideals" are "orders" that are hugrilly gobbled up by young unsuspecting girls and boys - thus the book is looking at how our society "eats" those "orders".

A little lame, maybe, but heh. I thought it was good.

Marinn said...

Weighing in on this late. First, the title is what attracted me (and strongly at that) to the site in the first place.
Second, none of the other suggested titles have the power that the original title has. A question is a completely different thing from a declarative statement.
Also, I really don't understand how saying that every woman has an eating disorder somehow negates the experiences of women with DIAGNOSED eating disorders. It's not an exclusive club or something; there are different levels of disorder. Also, there are plenty of women who are not diagnosed with ED's whose eating is, nonetheless, disordered. It's about how we THINK about food, how we relate to it -- and women tend to be fixated on food.
I can't urge you strongly enough to keep your original title. It's striking, declarative and authoratative.

Emily said...

I know I am super late to the party so to speak and I am not even sure if you are still shopping around for titles but your blog got me thinking and I would like to offer up something to the effect of:

"Dis-Orderly Conduct: Women, Food, and the Thin Ideal" or you know, some other catchy tag-line following disorderly conduct.