Eating Disorders and the Media

May 19, 2011
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Jane stares in the mirror. She feels disgusted with herself. People from the outside looking at her do not see her pain that she deals with, but inside she has a dark secret. As Jane looks in the mirror she stares at her arms and stomach. The words that pop into her head are “pig” and “fatty”. Weighing only eighty-nine pounds standing five feet five inches she is slowly losing her life. Bones sticking out, ribs almost breaking through her skin, Jane does not see that. All she sees is the invisible fat that she is determined to get rid of. She will skip breakfast, lunch and dinner. No more eating until she is beautiful and perfect like the girls she sees on TV. In Hollywood world everyone is perfect; no one bigger or with flaws is accepted. Eating disorders are becoming an epidemic and the media is to blame.

Have you ever felt the pressure to be like the people you see on TV? The young, the beautiful and the skinny are what we see on TV. Many young teens feel the pressure of the media and make deadly choices to become what Hollywood considers perfect. Studies estimate that over eight million people in America have an eating disorder and that number is always growing. Today in America everyone has an idea of what the perfect women looks like. Anyone different is degraded, teased and taunted or cast out by society. Women constantly diet and exercise to become the perfect person. Some women, mainly teens, take dieting to the extreme by starving themselves or throwing up everything that they eat. According to the Renfrew Center the number one cause of death among girls ages fifteen to twenty-four is anorexia.

Anorexia is the most common ongoing illness among young teens. Anorexics have been found in every race, culture and age-group throughout America and the media is to blame. Most teens with eating disorders want to be like the characters they see on TV, but programming on television rarely depicts men and women with “average” body types, ingraining in all our minds that this is the life and look we want. The pressure to fit in can be a big factor in eating disorders. On many teen shows and movies there are cliques that show the popular crowd and the “nerds”. The popular crowds are always skinny, rich and pretty and the nerds are usually ugly or fat. TV shows only show that anyone different is looked down upon; bigger people are degraded and teased. No one wants to be the outcast and teens with eating disorders think that this is the only way to be perfect and be accepted.

There are even celebrities and models who admit to feeling the pressure to be skinny and perfect. Modeling agencies have been reported to actively pursue anorexic models. The average women model weighs up to twenty-five perfect less than the typical women. Models go through many plastic surgeries to mold their bodies to what modeling agencies and the media wants to see. According to top models have admitted that media pressure and the hype that associates beauty with thinness has forced them into having eating disorders. Despite the deaths of models in Milan, Italy and Barcelona, Spain, suffering from anorexia, the council of Fashion Designers of America refuses to take responsibility for policing its models eating disorders. Fashion is a business and the fashion industry is more concerned with making garments they perceive as beautiful than the models wearing them and their well-being.

Eating disorders are becoming an epidemic because of the media pressuring teens and models to be “perfect” and skinny. To end this epidemic America needs to take a stand against the media and start accepting all different shapes and sizes. Who is the media to judge what is and is not beautiful? Like Joel Yager said “Every society has a way of torturing its women, whether by binding their feet or sticking them into whalebone corsets. What contemporary America has come up with is designer jeans.”

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reenay_95 said...
Jul. 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm
The media can be a huge part of someone's self-esteem. Almost everyone wishes they could look like the people on TV and in the magazines. However, sometimes self-esteem issues can be sparked by sources other than the media. My mom called me fat when I was eight, and it's haunted me ever since. But the media is still a huge part of these issues people have today.
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