Eating Disorders And Media It almost everywhere you look. Pictures running rapid on magazine covers, advertisements, billboards: everywhere. Standing in the line at the grocery store, flipping through a magazine, or just glancing at the advertisements on television. It is quite evident by looking at the emaciated pictures of young women and surprisingly men too, what the media considers as the “ideal” figure. This perception society has created, plays a major part in our countries obsession with thinness and extreme dieting. America’s obsession with health and diets and the fashion industry and television exhibiting waif thin models as “sexy and voluptuous”, gives a distorted notion sending many young women the wrong idea about body image.
In today’s society these eating problems, such as anorexia and bulimia, are becoming all too common. Yet, the question still remains, what are the causes and factors contributing to this destructive behavior, and what kind of impact is the media contributing to these problems? Although there are only a few quantitative studies on the issue of eating disorders and the link between the diseases and the media: the research that has been done is quite informative and interesting. Hopefully though, in time more research will fill in some of the links to the enigma of eating disorders. The fashion industry, television, and society’s norms have all promoted not only a distorted perspective of what a “beautiful” person is defined as, but influenced many to deception therefore leaving many with an eating disorder. Looking at the television one can easily notice all of the ads and diet commercials claiming to have to newest and hottest diet. With these ads and societies norms, many are led to believe once the weight is lost, we they will be happy. Surely everyone has noticed the magazines while standing in line at the grocery store. Most of them claim to also have the latest and best diet.
What happened to last months diet claims? Without a doubt, dieting has become a insane obsession in North America. Billions of dollars are spent trying to look the way society tells us we need to look. People go to extremes from starving themselves to paying for various cosmetic surgeries. It is very unusual to find actors and actresses in Hollywood overweight-because that is not accepted in today’s society. Many actresses and actors that seen on television have endured countless hours of strenuous exercise and have deprives themselves of nutrition in order to maintain a thin figure.
Television is obviously a big influence on many teens. Thousands of girls are starving themselves this very moment trying to attain what the fashion industry considers the “ideal” figure. The average model/actress weighs 23% less than the average women (Bulk 46) yet what society is telling us is that this is normal. When I was watching the Grammy’s a few weeks ago I was disgusted when I saw some of the celebrities. Most of them looked like they had not eaten in months-seriously.
I do not know what is so glamorous about this look, but it seems to have caught on, and many are jeopardizing their health trying to achieve this look. So who is to blame for our countries obsession with thinness? Fashion industries, Hollywood ?? Think again, the American public is the one keeping them in business. The public is the one buying the magazines, purchasing the diet foods, and also guilty of paying big bucks for the various cosmetic surgeries. It is a known fact that eating disorders are on the rise, and the statistics are even scarier(McMurray 30). From a very young age we are lead to believe that the only way to be accepted and fit in, is to be thin. Along with this we are also lead to believe that those who are thin are more successful and happier.
It is no wonder that many colleges and universities around the country are reporting an increased prevalence of eating disorders among many female students. One out of four people between the ages of 12-21 have some sort of disordered eating, whether it be anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive over eating (Couture 47). Researchers feel though, that the prevalence of eating disorders among female college students is not a necessarily a new phenomenon, but is now receiving more attention due to not only the media’s, but Hollywood’s fixation about weight and slenderness being associated with being attractive. Obesity is not very attractive nor health conscience either, but the weight of a person is not relative to how they should be judged. During the 40’s 50’s and 60’s curviness was considered desirable. The norms set during that those time periods were infact very different to those say of the 90’s and today.
Marilyn Monroe for example, is probably considered one of the biggest sex symbols in American history, even though she wore a size 12 at one time in her career(Arndt) . Models and actresses today at most wear half that size. Colleen Kay Hutchin, Miss America in 1952 weighed 143 pounds during her time as Miss America(Caballero 21). Caballero, who is the head of the Miss America pageants is aware and concerned of the trend in extremely thin contestants and winners. Caballero states, ” Our concern is not so much the physical health but the mental health of the girls watching..because Miss America is held up as a role model.” Caballero fears that excessively thin winners will contribute to the social pressure to be skinny that sends some adolescents into eating disorders. Society has forgotten what comes from within is what is really important.
It is unfortunate that in today’s society, people have forgotten what is inside a person that counts, not what is on the outside. The American society needs to start loving and accepting each other, not for what they may look like. Yet, every time you walk into a store you are surrounded by images of emaciated models wearing the latest fashions. Does this really affect the young women and men ? I think it does, because even I find myself wondering if I was skinnier or prettier would I be guaranteed all the “happiness” and attention that all of the models, and actors and actresses are believed to have. I asked my little sister this question thinking that since she is in middle school, a time when youths are greatly affected and influenced by their appearance, and was surprised from her reply.
Actually, I was shocked by her answer. My sister informed me of one of her friends who already takes diet pills!! Diet pills in eighth grade seems so unreal to me. She also said that many girls do not eat lunch because they are afraid they are going to get fat. This was very disturbing news, because I know from personal experience how eating disorders can not only control, but ruin your life. This disease that affects many young women as well as men, is complex psychiatric and psychological condition that can be deadly.
Although the exact causes leading to eati …