On April 24, 2019, about fifty girls between 14 and 20 years old, coming from all over Italy, met in Florence. There was no Covid and the city was full of tourists. The group did not go unnoticed: in the hands of purple balloons, dressed in a white t-shirt with the inscription: The rebirth of butterflies. Festive and full of life, they walked around the city, from Piazza Duomo to the Cascine with a substantial lunch break in between at the Antico Vinaio.
He followed them, step by step, but with great discretion, the camera of Maruska Albertazzi, a Roman director. In that colorful group we meet Emma, Claudia, Nicole, Chiara, Michela, Rachele and their challenge to anorexia. From those stories and from the encounter in Florence as awareness and sharing, the documentary was born Hangry Butterflies, #larinascitadelle farfalle, that tomorrow will be broadcast on Rai 3 at 16.05 in preview (later available on RaiPlay) and which tells the phenomenon of eating disorders, from which 2.3 million adolescents suffer in Italy. Emma, Nicole, Claudia and many others have chosen to put their face on it and to tell about themselves, first in the community born on Instagram with #larinascitadellefarfalle that made them known, and then in front of a camera.
Hangry a neologism that comes from combining hungry – hungry – and angry – angry – and describes that feeling of nervousness, anger and disquiet that comes when we are hungry and cannot eat. Not because you don’t have access to food, but because you are afraid of that food. For years I too was an angry and hungry butterfly – says the director Albertazzi – but I didn’t want to call myself sick. For me there were other patients with anorexia: the skinny girls of advertising, the models like Kate Moss. And this is what happens in society: people call you sick, and they treat you, when you have reached the limit, but the disease comes much earlier.
I got sick when I was eight – Agnese recounts in the documentary – one day I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t move, I called my mother and said: now what do you do ?. The story of Agnese is not the only one: in fact, in recent years, the age in which the first symptoms appear has dropped, especially for girls, reaching even 8-10 years. In the documentary, Albertazzi also gives a voice to a little girl who says: I know that if I eat fattening, then I don’t eat.
Resuming the meeting in Florence, I wanted to show the girls in their phase of rebirth – explains the director – which always takes place after difficult paths, still in existence. In the Instagram community they help each other, they film each other while they eat something, take a picture of the food prepared and they force each other. Some of them are real healing influencers.
Like Emma, from Tuscany, 22, she is studying as a nurse and one of the organizers of the meeting in Florence. The first complexes were born in middle school, one day I got out of the shower and I hated myself. In high school I started a diet, I started doing a lot of sports, then eating what I thought was “safe foods”, which didn’t make me gain weight, I gave myself rules: eat at 6.30pm for example, and if I exceeded that time I didn’t eat anymore. Emma’s rebirth takes place with her hospitalization at the Villa Mare clinic in Lido di Camaiore, where she stays for six months. The hospitalization and social networks make her understand that she is not alone, and Instagram becomes for her, a way to challenge herself, every day, and every day overcome a small obstacle. I created the maxibon challenge: me and another girl from the community, we eat the same food at a distance, recovering. She is afraid of that food which can be ice cream, pizza, but also a plate of rice: together the fear vanishes. as if I were eating a piece of her fear and she of mine.
The stop at the Antico Vinaio, for example, in the Florentine meeting, was a bit of a collective challenge. We wanted to test ourselves and eat this huge stuffed flatbread – says Emma – but we had reassured everyone that anyone who wanted could bring lunch from home. The fact of being together convinced some of the girls to bite into the focaccia and finish it. But when does that get out of the disease? Anorexia is the tip of the iceberg – says Emma – and you need to be aware of being able to fall back into the most stressful periods of life, the important thing is to stop and ask for help. You are never serious enough to scream for help.
March 14, 2021 | 11:12