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Eating Disorders and the Media

Sep 15, 2008
It is proven now that media can influence the beginning of eating disorders in some people. This is evident especially in children and teens who can easily be lulled into the wrong image of what the human body is supposed to look like.

A very serious concern is that tiny little children as young as 8 year old are now contracting anorexia and the media are to blame. The images of thinness and unreal sexual images in the media do influence children's minds which in turn lead them into an eating disorder.

Early exposure to sexualized images encourage young women to see themselves as objects and value themselves for how they look rather then a whole person. Their values shift to the side where being beautiful and sexually attractive substitutes for being an individual with a strong sense of self. These inevitably lead young women to pursue thinness and artificial beauty that they see on the covers of magazines on TV and in the newspapers.

Very often girls have no understanding that what they're pursuing is only an unattainable image provided by the media to entertain their readers, attract buyers and sell the products they advertise or to send some other frivolous messages to the public.

So the beginnings of an eating disorder in young women can very often be connected to body dissatisfaction which is brought on by comparing their own body to the body images in the media.

For example, a recent survey revealed that 25% of Australian teenage girls would consider plastic surgery if they could and 2% already have had plastic surgery to change the way they look.

The other research was done on 4000 teenager girls' aged from 11 to 18 and found that more than 85% of them were unhappy with their body and would like to do or are already doing something about it.

The recent Botox survey revealed that women as young as 17 years old do Botox injection in order to prevent wrinkles. Breast implants have been done for women as young as 17-20 years old.

All the examples above shows that very many women nowadays think that fake women are much better than the real thing, based on the images that are portrayed in the media as being the norm.

To conclude, the media contributes a lot to developing body dissatisfaction and consequently eating disorders, by promoting fake unattainable images of women's bodies. To fight eating disorders it is important to educate the masses on the truth of how the media works to sell its advertising clients products.

Young women should be taught about balance and the truth of what is perceived to be beautiful and what real women are suppose to look like.

Even women like Marilyn Monroe who only a short time ago was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world, would now be classified as a Big Girl by the media.

Is it any wonder so many young women are falling victims to eating disorders?
About the Author
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker. To learn more about eating disorders treatments go to http://www.eatingdisorder-cure.com
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