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Media And Eating Disorder Essay

956 words - 4 pages

Anorexia: The Role of Media
Hillary Indako
University Of Nairobi

Eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than any other mental illness. As many as 20 percent of those who suffer from anorexia will die prematurely from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems. While there are many possible causes and triggers for these disorders, the media’s influence on body image cannot be overlooked. The media has been playing a central role on the growth of eating disorders such as anorexia. As adolescents we are convinced with images and messages that tend to further the idea that to be happy and successful we must be slim. Nowadays, It is nearly ...view middle of the document...

The effect of media on women’s body dissatisfaction, thin ideal internalization, and disordered eating appears to be stronger among young adults than children and adolescents. This may suggest that long-term exposure during childhood and adolescence lays the foundation for the negative effects of media during early adulthood. Pressure from mass media to be muscular also appears to be related to body dissatisfaction among men.  This effect may be smaller than among women but it is still significant. About 90 percent of women overestimate their body size. Research shows a correlation between the media’s unattainable standards of beauty and this rampant epidemic of body dysmorphia. One study showed that 69 percent of girls stated that magazine models influenced their idea of the perfect body shape. On television, half of the advertisements aimed at women speak about physical attractiveness. Study after study show that these ads are contributing toward a negative body image. Of women answering a People Magazine survey, 80 percent said that the images of women that they see on television and in movies make them feel insecure. This insecurity can easily lead to a distorted view of one’s body.It is hard to separate the influence of the media in the development of eating disorders. Various studies point to the correlation between low self-esteem in young girls and high scores on eating distress measures as they grow. It follows thus by logical reduction that influences on body image will affect self-esteem and promote the risk of developing an eating disorder as a person turns to the control of their body in order to feel acceptable. In this respect the media may contribute to low self-esteem by promoting slenderness as the pathway to gaining love, acceptance and respect while at the same time reflecting a trend in society to demonize fat.
Whilst the portrayal of "ideal"...

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