Modern Western Culture

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Modern western culture arguably fails to meet the most fundamental requirements of any culture: to provide a sense of belonging and purpose, a sense of self-worth and meaning, and a moral framework to guide youth. Countries like New Zealand and Australia are categorized as “new” western nations, young countries without a long, shared cultural heritage or strong sense of identity (Eckersley. R 2008). I believe the contribution of western societies has created a worsening precedent, one that in particular, is harmful among our youth. I have chosen to discuss the entrenched issue of eating disorders, and the rapid growth of the number of youth suffering from the condition, those of which predominantly young females. I will explore the cultural shift in western countries towards a preference for slimmer bodies and the correlation it has with young females aspiring to an idealized body in which is seen as worthy of social and cultural acceptance. Bodies that are mostly unattainable or severly unhealthy to pursue, introduced via mass media which influence values, norms and which physical standars to pursue. I will also highlight the three major risk factors that have been theoritically associated with disordered eating; psychological, familial and socio cultural. All of which are conceptially disparate (Cantor & Harrison 2006).

Young females are forced to feel that there is a stigma attached to body weight and that being thin has great importance on the ability for them to sucseed in all aspects of their lives. Particulary in middle to high socioeconomic classes, young women attempt to immitate and mimic the standard of the beauty presented to them via fashion media. “A negative view of one’s body, coupled with the view that a thin body is crucial to one’s present and future is a recipe for depression.” (McCarthy 1990). The worsening precedent I make reference to is in relation to dieting and the impact in which is has on young girls. The contribution society...
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