Eating Disorders. Is the Media at Fault?

Topics: Anorexia nervosa, Eating disorders, Nutrition Pages: 7 (3013 words) Published: April 12, 2007
For many years Hollywood has been the center of attention. The movie stars a famous and attractive, what's not to like? It now seems as though we are looking too closely to these physical appearances and not knowing about what is going on in their life. The media seems to make everyone out to be skinny and perfect which is what people thrive for. The truth is they don't tell us the hard parts about their life and that the reason they may be so small is because of an eating disorder, which is evidently caused by the media and the yearning to fit in. Of course if it adds enough drama to their story they will tell us about the occasional eating disorders of these celebrities but we never know the true struggles they face just to be famous. I think many of the problems that people face in the society today has to do with the media and they way they portray these people who are too skinny to be beautiful. For many years the media has been targeted as having some cause on the increased amounts of eating disorders that are occurring in the US. With weight being a big issue in America it's not hard to see how people are pressured to lose weight and be "skinny". One of the main eating disorders in the youth is anorexia nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder when the person has a distorted body image of themselves and usually thinks they are fat when they are a very low unhealthy weight. The Teen health website describes anorexics as "people who are so afraid of becoming fat that they starve themselves. Even when they are really skinny, they continue to ‘diet' because they still think that they are fat. This can mean that they are obsessed by thoughts of food and have a constant fight to convince themselves that they are not hungry." Many people don't take anorexia seriously and do not realize that not only is it a physical disorder because the person does not eat but it is also a mental disorder because their vision of themselves is altered to think that they are fat. Many of the people with anorexia do not see what they are doing to themselves as a disorder. They think it is a lifestyle that they have chosen and are not willing to end. With more and more evidence pointing to the media it's hard to deny that the media is involved with the rising rates of eating disorders. There is no specific form of media that affects anorexia. There are magazines, music videos, movies, websites and television shows that influence this need to be skinny. The first media that I think is the most important is magazines. So many young people look at the people on the pages of the magazines and see that the majority of woman in them are skinny. In an article by Bernie DeGroat he discusses a survey with a group of 232 female students at a Midwestern university which took place in 1994. "Harrison found that about 15 percent of the women met criteria for disordered eating. The study, which appeared recently in the Journal of Communication, shows that magazine reading and television viewing, especially exposure to thinness-depicting and thinness-promoting media, significantly predict symptoms of women's eating disorders, Harrison says. According to the study, women who frequently read fitness magazines for reasons other than interest in fitness and dieting display greater signs of disordered eating than women who rarely read them at all. Further, reading fashion magazines in particular is significantly related to a woman's drive for thinness and her dissatisfaction with her body, although magazine reading, in general, has little effect on body dissatisfaction." This survey shows how great the impact from magazines is on eating disorders. Surveys found on a website created by five girls who attend Hofstra University states that "25 years ago the average model weighed 8% less than the average American woman, today's model weighs 23% below the national average." This shows that the models have changed...
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