Wednesday's episode of The Real Housewives of New York started right where last week's episode left off, in the middle of yet another dinner party from hell, hosted by Dorinda Medley. Soon after Luann stormed off after the ladies were less than congratulatory about her impending marriage, a storm erupted between Jules Wainstein and Bethenny Frankel about Jules' eating disorder. She has been incredibly open, and Bethenny and Carole need to stop talking about Jules' eating disorder now.
Earlier in the season, we saw Jules open up to Bethenny about her eating disorder, and it seemed to draw the women closer to one another. While Jules has often felt that Bethenny's humor was condescending and mean-spirited, particularly to her, her confession seemed to create a way for the women to connect, and for a moment it looked like they were on their way to being friends. But Bethenny has not stopped being condescending ("I need a verb"), and she and Carole still often discuss Jules' eating disorder, to the point of staring at her as she eats, and hawkishly monitoring what she puts in her mouth. It's time for them to stop.
"I'm skinny, and you may not like that I'm skinny," Jules said at the dinner, "But I love my body."
It was refreshing to see Jules stand up to Bethenny and Carole, who many feel have been acting like mean girls this season. Jules went on to describe how recovering from an eating disorder is difficult and that she slips up, even going so far as to confess to one of her slip ups the week beforehand. Carole chimed in by saying that she doesn't know about eating disorders, but she does know about denial. That comment was totally out of line. There is a way to confront a friend about an eating disorder out of genuine concern, but accusing them of having one and of hiding it at a dinner party as said friend is trying her best to be as open and transparent about it as possible, when said friend is making herself completely vulnerable, is unkind.
Bethenny went on to say that she keeps her distance from Jules because Jules' eating disorder reminds her of her mother's eating disorder. At which point I honestly wanted to scream at her from through the TV. Jules' eating disorder is not about you, Bethenny. It is about Jules, so have the sensitivity to defer to her when you discuss it.
Women's bodies are under constant scrutiny by everyone, everywhere, and it is precisely this scrutiny that contributes to eating disorders like Jules'. To criticize a fellow woman's body and constantly gossip about her eating disorder only exacerbates the issue. While I think that Bethenny and Carole are generally good people and good friends (at least to each other), their treatment of Jules, and particularly her eating disorder, was wrong. And what's worse, they don't seem to realize their mistake.