The Digital Debate

Does the Media Promote Eating Disorders?


Paris Hilton

Everyone knows that the media can be a great thing in our lives. When we need to know what is going on in our town or around the world, all we have to do is turn on the television to one of the news broadcasting stations and listen to the reporters that have been getting the information on the story. If we did not have the news and media no one would know what was going on and when they would hear about it through gossip everyone would have to go to the scene to see with their own eyes, and it would cause huge chaos. On the other hand, there are mixed reviews on how much the media negatively affects our lives and I am going to make them open for consideration for you.

The main problem I am going to mention in this article is about the media and if it is involved in promoting eating disorders in young men and women alike all around the world. The media is most known for its ability to connect the world so we know if something is happening within a very short time period with the news, but we also use it for the latest fashions and gossips of our favorite T.V starts or singers. We see magazines promoting diet tips for men and women on how to lose that unwanted weight, and for people who go on these diets that do not need to lose the weight, can seriously injure themselves. I am not talking about the normal everyday diet that people now go on because they want to be healthy, real eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia that can be life threatening, are becoming increasingly more prominent. They occur most in women from ages fifteen to twenty four, but they also occur in males to. I have provided a video that shows how American children now think about themselves and others. It is quite sad that one girl surveyed said that looks were not always the most important and the children around her out her down by calling her a liar and that she knew that was not true, so she changed her answer. That is just one example about how peer pressure can also affect the way we see ourselves or the way we think. People do not realize that many of these young boys and girls feel that they are forced into these eating disorders because they do not feel good enough when they look at other girls their age. Maybe they are not as pretty or as small as their best friend so the other always gets all of the attention, or maybe it has started because of children being cruel and bullying the classmate; calling them names and picking on them about the looks or weight. It is hard to face to truth sometime but little things like this have a big impact on the youth of society today, there are some cases we see now even on the news, where a young child has even went as far as committing suicide because they did not fit in with their peers and could not stand being different any longer.

Arguments For the media promoting eating disorders:

First off let’s start out with what an eating disorder actually is. There are three main types of these disorders, Anorexia, Bulimia, and compulsive overeating. The definition of an eating disorder is when someone obsessively thinks about food and their body weight. When someone has Anorexia they limit the amount they eat to an extremely small amount because they are scared of gaining weight. People with Bulimia are characterized by eating a very large amount of food in a short amount of time and then getting rid of it by either throwing it back up or using laxatives so that the nutrients are not absorbed into the body. Compulsive eating is one that is not as extreme as the other two; it is when someone tends to over eat most of the time.

There are many factors that can contribute to eating disorders including genetics, psychological factors, family issues, and social factors. With the media always portraying woman as being beautiful and skinny, girls now are thinking that if they are not skinny they cannot be beautiful. When a survey was done of elementary school children, around the fifth grade, they had much more negative views of the heavier people when asked to describe who they saw on the video. It has been shown that tow out of every one hundred people will develop and eating disorder at sometime in their lives. A study of college students showed that 91% of women that are in college are on some kind of diet because they are pushed to believe that to be successful in your life, and to gain respect and love you have to be the ideal attractiveness. If you surveyed 100 people, men and women alike, how many of them do you think would tell you that they wouldn’t change a single thing about their bodies? Did you think not very many? You’re exactly right.

The National Eating Disorder Association reported that in five years, the numbers of women who had an eating disorder from the ages ten to thirty nine more than tripled. This is because we are always around the media, from movies and television to magazines. We are always seeing attractive women who are very skinny which is leading to a very high rate of body dissatisfaction and low self esteem. On top of that almost every magazine that you find that pertains to women always has a section of a new ways to lose weight or “get the body that this celebrity has by doing these three simple things.” Studies found that they are also getting to the men’s magazines in the way that Playboy models over the years have decreased in ever measurement except for height, making them want a perfect women and pushes women to want to be like them so they can feel wanted also.


Arguments against the media promoting eating disorders:

A major factor in eating disorders is the fact that women tend to overestimate their body sizes. The main thought behind people blaming the media for the uproar of eating disorders is the fact that women are constantly seeing thin, beautiful women and compare themselves to the models, when I reality not many models actually look the way they are presented. Since they now have photo shop and slimming technologies, along with people constantly reapplying makeup and doing their hair, it is not a realistic way for women to want to look. The media does not necessarily make them feel like they have to be that thin, but it causes them to overestimate how big they are, or how many flaws they may have because everyone that they look up to is “flawless.” Most women look at magazines to try to figure out what the ideal weight is and that causes them to be determined that they need to lose that extra weight they may or may not have. The majority of females are very vulnerable when it comes to certain aspects; so many possibilities are possible for promoting eating disorders, from a traumatic event or the personality traits that they were born with.

Bulimis Nervosa

The role of life that women face today is a constant pressure. In today’s world women are always being portrayed as needing to be thin, attractive, and successful at work and intelligence. They also are still supposed to balance all of the characteristics that women had to have back in time, including the nurturing and maternal instincts of parenting, being generous, having an active social life, keeping the house clean, and having dinner on the table every night. When women are not able to perform all of these tasks they feel that they are not in control of their lives, and feel that they need to change the way the way that others see them to try to gain that control, while in reality they need to change how they see themselves and not the rest of the world. . If women would simply try not to care so much about what others thought about them it would completely change the way that they think about themselves. I have come to realize that most of the time it is the girls that are not over weight in any definition of the word, that feel that they are fat so no one is going to find themattractive. While the girls that are quite a bit over weight find themselves highly attractive because they do not care about what others think about them, all they pay attention to is how they feel about themselves.

So in the end we can see that the media does not actually cause eating disorders in women it just pushed women’s insecurities about themselves to the limits that may push them over the edge. Eating disorders can be genetic or can come for no reason that anyone but the person can figure out, like I said half of all people who are on a diet and think they need to lose weight are healthy but do not think they are because of what they are always seeing in their everyday lives. Girls, next time you think that you have to be thin to be beautiful look in the mirror and actually see yourself for who you are as a person and not what you think society wants you to see. For years the magazine companies have been threatened by this charge of helping to promote these disorders but they always stand there grounds by saying that just because the models in their magazines are skinny does not mean that the viewers have to be that size to be beautiful and that they cannot control how others minds will respond to their images. We just have to learn to say I love myself for who I am and I don’t need to change for anyone. It’s just like all our mothers have always told us, you can’t let someone else control your life, but this time you can’t let what you think out shine the reality.

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2012 by .
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