Anorexia and the Popular Media

Aarti By Aarti, 24th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

In a last decade or so, the cases of eating disorder has increased in young girls. Through this article, we can understand the effect of popular media in increasing eating disorders.

Why is Thin the new in?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by immoderate food restriction, inappropriate eating habits or rituals, obsession with having a thin figure, and an irrational fear of weight gain, as well as a distorted body self-perception. In a last decade, it has become very common in young girls. Girls as young as 8 or 9 years are getting hospitalized due to the condition. And seeing how the media today portrays the “perfect women” it sometimes gets difficult not to blame them for increasing cases of eating disorder in women.
In a last few decades, the perception of a beautiful woman has changed. Almost every model you see today is too skinny. Thin is the new in. Actresses and models, which by the young generation is considered the definition of beauty, starve themselves to look skinny. The images of child-like women have obviously contributed to an increased obsession to be thin, and we can't deny the media influence on eating disorders. Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and many other have battled with eating disorders themselves.
From a very early stage, society tells children that looks matter. With an increased population of children who spend a lot of time in front of television, there are more of them coming up with a superficial sense of who they are. Images on T.V. spend countless hours telling us to lose weight, be thin and beautiful, buy more stuff because people will like us and we'll be better people for it. Programming on the tube rarely depicts men and women with "average" body-types or crappy clothes, ingraining in the back of all our minds that this is the type of life we want. Overweight characters are typically portrayed as lazy, the one with no friends, or "the bad guy", while thin women and pumped-up men are the successful, popular, sexy and powerful ones. How can we tell our children that it's what's inside that counts, when the media continuously contradicts this message?

One of the other main reasons that can be attributed to increase of anorexia in young women is the difference between the reality and life portrayed in media. The huge part of population today suffers from obesity; when the media shows those thin women as attractive and better, more and more children want to be more like that. Super models in popular magazine keep getting thinner and thinner. The average woman model weighs up to 25% less than the typical woman and maintains a weight at about 15 to 20 percent below what is considered healthy for her age and height. Some models go through plastic surgery, some are "taped-up" to mould their bodies into more photogenic representations of themselves, and photos are airbrushed before going to print.
So, this image of women portrayed in the popular media is unobtainable. But like any normal teenagers girls want to look like their favourite celebrities, and hence, starve themselves to look like them. But as that weight in not humanly possible get, they end up in hospital.
Anorexia is a very dangerous mental disease. It not only interferes with your mental well-being but also with your physical health, as a person suffering from anorexia becomes anaemic, and if not properly treated can lead to very severe health conditions. We a part of society should encourage children and young girls to eat a healthy diet. Have proper family meals and should help young girls to understand that, being healthy is being beautiful.


Anorexia, Anorexia Nervosa, Beauty, Eating Disorder, Media, Women

Meet the author

author avatar Aarti
'Writing' for me has always been the expression soul. I keep my self updated with recent events and research. My areas of interest: engineering(civil), psychology, health, art, music and literature.

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