Eating Disorders and the Media Influences
Eating disorders, any range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, have been around since the 1870s and are increasingly taking over the world today. These two types of eating disorders are taking over predominantly. What is causing this outbreak? The media is affecting the societies because most people they see on television, magazines, and the fashion industry are below average weight.
What was once called a “Model Disease” is now a trending disease. Not only does eating disorders affect adults and teens but also small children. It is evident that the media plays a major, important role in eating disorders. Weak minded people concerned with their image are more influence than the normal person. The society is now all about the “ideal” image. Who comes up with the idea that being abnormally small is the “ideal” image? Only sick minded people would even think that. True enough being skinny does not determine your health or happiness.
The influence of the media cannot be refuted. What is the problem with eating disorders? They're just so photogenic! There are the young women or – even better – girls; the celebrities and fashion magazines that are, of course, the cause of eating disorders; female body shape and, thrillingly, the food that is eaten or, in this case, not eaten to obtain that shape. From an early age the society has been bombarded with images and messages that reinforce the idea that to be happy and successful we must be thin. It is nearly impossible to open a newspaper or magazine, listen to the radio, shop at a mall or turn on a TV without being confronted with the message that to be fat is to be undesirable. The most devastating thing is that it is finding itself to reach the minds of children. When adolescents feel as though their body image, such as their hips or weight, does not match up to those of supermodel and actors, they feel strongly flawed.
The media constantly sends out images and messages promoting an almost unattainable, unrealistic image of beauty that has been consistently linked to eating disordered and body dissatisfaction predominantly among women, but has even gone as far as to influence males. American men and women strive to obtain the perfect body, or the “thin ideal,” that the media presents as normal. Eating disorders do not stem from a desire to be slim: they are an expression of unhappiness. The way a woman's body is equated with her human value in the media can, to someone who is subconsciously looking for a way to articulate their unhappiness, feel like the perfect solution. Throughout the years the image has gone from a voluptuous and curvaceous body to a slimmer and leaner body.
While it may be true that eating disorders affects the entire society, it is undeniable that teens are more influenced by those around them in the media. Why are teens more influential? They are always surrounded by peer pressure, low self-esteem, and of course the media. Teens watch the media more than anyone because they are trying to keep up with the latest trends. The advertisements sell images of thins, beautiful women, along with the image is a message from the advertising company telling girls to lose weight, or increase their breast size. Television commercials can send a message that if they lost weight or apply beauty products they too will find love or be happy once again. If they are not up to par than one may be left out or feel insecure about them.
Researchers, from Harvard Medical School, show that in Fiji in some areas that only 8% of household own televisions while in other areas 85% of homes owned them since 1995. (How Social Networks Spread). In the article How Social Networks Spread Eating Disorders, they compared the rates of eating disorders they discovered that those exposed to television were 60% more likely to display abnormal eating...
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