Manorexia? Meet Drunkorexia

The NYT identifies its latest phenomenon

The New York Times has a proud tradition of publishing stories about Trends You Didn’t Realize Were Trends Until the Times Let You Know They Were. Some women prefer to order steaks, rather than salads, when they’re on dates? TREND! Parents and children sometimes sleep in the same bed? TREND! Some suburban housewives learn pole-dancing? TREND!

Yesterday the Grey Lady cast her storied gaze on a trend of a More Serious Variety: drunkorexia. (No, not a typo: again, drunkorexia.) The “phenomenon” is exactly what the compound name implies: anorexics consuming alcohol—either “to calm down before eating or to ease the anxiety of having indulged in a meal.” Now, to be clear, “drunkorexia is not an official medical term,” the piece points out. “But it hints at a troubling phenomenon in addiction and eating disorders.”

It is troubling, certainly. Most everything about eating disorders—and addiction—is. But worth nearly 1,400 words in the Sunday Times (the Style section, but still)—and deserving of the implicit validation that comes from reference as a “phenomenon”? Doubtful. Perhaps the Times’s column space would be better filled tackling a more pervasive problem: trendinanity. It’s not an official term, but it hints at a troubling phenomenon in trend-spotting and…well, you know.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.