Size Is Not Beauty

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Maggie McDevitt
English 1551
Richard P Logan
5 December 2012
Size is Not Beauty

How does one define beauty? Billboards, posters and pictures of models that reflect what society defines as flawless surround us. We see tall, thin girls and tall, thin, muscular men. As we look at them, their beauty is only on the outside. Behind the majority of models’ poses are people who suffer greatly with their image. There needs to be a balance between health and beauty. The drastic measures that people take to be thin are astonishing. There is more beauty in confidence, health and happiness than what is in thinness and perfection. It is stated by the late actress, Audrey Hepburn, “We must realize that in order to be beautiful, we must be happy and healthy first.” Today’s society tells people that they must be thin to be beautiful. People naturally strive to be beautiful, but by definition, beauty is not classified as how skinny a person is, but how healthy he/she is. Unfortunately, many people believe in the negative unrealistic version of beauty. As a result, many people suffer from eating disorders.

People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and should not be judged or told they are flawed for not being sickly thin. Society should not glamorize beauty in size zero but should glamorize beauty in being healthy. The steps people take to be thin are morbid and outrageous and it is upsetting that society behaves this way. “I struggled badly with bulimia for 3 years before I realized what was happening to my body. My parents and brother really helped and guided me through my difficult times and if it weren’t for them I may not be here today.”(Caruso) People should not be told they are not beautiful because of their weight, or that they do not have the figure of a contemporary model. There is more to beauty than an outside physical appearance. Unfortunately, media tells people that beauty is primarily just that, physical appearance. People lose their inner-self in trying to make their physical appearance into what society tells them it should be. When people lose their inner-self to their physical appearance, eating disorders can emerge.

There are multiple types of eating disorders, each with their own unique characteristics that affect the human body both physically and mentally. One major type of eating disorders is anorexia nervosa. According to Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph. D, “anorexia nervosa is composed of three complex factors: refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, a strong fear of gaining weight, and a distorted self-body image.” Anorexia has two forms; restricting anorexia restricts food intake and calories, and the purging form of anorexia involves use of laxatives, diuretics and/or vomiting. Anorexia is a disease that consumes a person’s body emotionally and physically and can ultimately shut down a body. Anorexia is not just a struggle of weight and food, but it is more complex in the aspect of deeper issues within one’s personal feelings. Not only does anorexia affect a person’s weight, but it is also damaging to their skin, organs, muscles, heart, and nervous system. It can be, and often is, fatal. Anorexia victims feel as though they must be perfect and succeed in everything they do or they feel worthless. They have the mindset that no matter how thin they are, they still aren’t thin enough. In people with anorexia, the drive to be thin becomes an obsession that takes over their lives and can even end lives (Smith & Segal). According to an online article, “normal eating is not how much or what you eat, but your attitude towards food and eating.” Abnormal eating is having a negative, doubtful attitude behind eating habits and putting too much thought behind eating (“Eating Disorders”).

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person does not eat for an extended period of time, and then eats a lot of food and make themselves vomit. (“Eating Disorders”)....
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