Media Influence on Eating Disorders

Topics: Body shape, Nutrition, Obesity Pages: 5 (1815 words) Published: April 24, 2006
With eating disorders on the rise today, the media plays an important role in affecting self-esteem, leading a large amount of young adults to develop eating disorders. Many adolescents see the overbearing thin celebrities and try to reach media's level of thinness and ideal body weight. "Sixty-nine of the girls reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of the perfect body shape" (Field). Not only is being thin associated with other positive characteristics such as, lovable, popular, beautiful, and sexy, but being overweight is connected with negative characteristics like fat, ugly, unpopular, and lazy. Therefore media is the distinct social pressure of operating to influence people to be thin and causing eating disorders. Media is a very important aspect of life in our culture. Around 95% of people own a television set and watch for around three to four hours per day (Herr). Each type of media has its own purpose, to entertain, persuade, and change. Media also influences how people view themselves. Media is in account for many interpretations and each is perceived differently by each individual. There are commercials that broadcast fast foods, which try to persuade us to buy the new and ‘fattening' food. However at the same time there is the media that tries to change us, by showing overbearing and thin people as an object of desire. Among the advertisements and television commercials one is suppose to conclude, to buy all the newest fast food items, yet stay extremely thin. It is almost impossible to eat the commercial shown foods, be healthy, and obtain this look, and women do not realize this. Therefore to obtain the certain look that is portrayed by the media, adolescents are developing eating disorders. Media leads to the rise of people developing eating disorders. From an early age everyone is bombarded with images that send people the message in order to be happy and successful we must be thin. Television and ads show women portray women to have a weight that is below normal and without any imperfections. Media; magazines, advertisements, and television shows encourage women to be thinner (Johnston). "Forty seven percent reported wanting to loose weight because of magazine pictures" (Field). Unless you commit yourself to a television free and secluded lifestyle, it is very difficult to avoid these advertisements and images, they are virtually everywhere. The amount of advertisements that cross the average American's path is 1,500 a day (Johnston). It is doubtful that a person will seclude themselves from all advertisements just so they will be sure not to develop an eating disorder. There is no other ideal body type other than what is shown in the media, this falsely poses the idea that beauty is only found on the cover of a magazine. Media is a major role as an influence of eating disorders, although it may not be the only cause. Many people develop eating disorders because they have a low self esteem (Thaler). Pressure to be thin can also come from family, friends, teachers, or coaches (Thaler). Low self esteem, family, and friends are causes identified of eating disorders, but these can trace back to blaming the media. One might have a low self esteem because he or she might compare themselves to the images they see in the media. One might feel not as important or desirable if they don't have the certain body image that media is portraying. The pressure to be thin from people in one's social life can also lead back to blame the media. The people around one in their personal life see the desirable body images in the media and think that everyone should fit in the particular image, and might encourage and pressure the subject to be thin. Numerous ideas are developed of the people through the media. Each year millions of teenagers in the United States are affected by eating disorders. Approximately 0.5% adolescents are diagnosed with anorexia and 3% with bulimia. The people who have eating disorders...
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