That leaves the seventy-five percentages of teenagers who have unhealthy attitudes toward eating and their body image (2011). Mass media has promoted that “thin is beautiful,” -this is the ideal body type that girls should strive for -which many teenage girls respond negatively too. More than half of American teenage girls think that they are overweight when they really are not and this leads them to bad eating habits. Disordered eating is referring to the unhealthy eating habits and attitudes. Bulimia and anorexia are the two eating disorders.
The Media and Eating Disorders It is funny how so many girls and women today are led to believe that the only way to feel attractive and be beautiful is to have their bodies consist of nothing but skin and bones. Women are dieting more today then they have ever been before. They are striving for an unattainable body figure that is portrayed by the media as being the ideal standard for today's women. It gets worse. Not only are women dieting unlike ever before, but they will ruthlessly harm their bodies in order to achieve these inaccessible standards.
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychiatric disorder characterized by an unrealistic fear or weight gain, self-starvation, and conspicuous distortion of body image. The individual is obsessed with becoming increasingly thinner and limits food intake to the point of their health is highly at risk. (Gillard, 18). Any eating disorder does not only affect women, there are rare cases that do show that men as well, do suffer from anorexia. Although there is no exact reason that causes this eating disorder, there are a lot of influences that cause young women to fall under anorexia.
Fashion models are becoming skinnier, while the average American woman is becoming plumper, and yet the malnourished supermodels with waists that you could wrap a child’s arm around are the prime examples of true beauty – according to today’s society via the media. Media, with the tiny models, the slender celebrities, and the idea that skinny is sexy is practically, yet sometimes unintentionally, creating eating disorders in the lives of young, insecure girls that cannot fully comprehend what they are doing to their selves. Social media along with the fashion and film industries are just a few outlets inadvertently encouraging eating disorders. Clacking their six-inch heels down the runway, always having their photograph taken, and appearing to live the elite and glamorous lifestyle are the models of the fashion industry. When super skinny women are chosen to model high fashion designs on the runway and in magazines, adolescents are given the message that this is the ideal body type that they must strive to attain.
Advertisers create images that dictate cultural trends indicative of the time. The dominating image of the painfully thin woman in advertising remains the ideal for the American women. The grim truth is that attaining the slender body of today is not realistic for most women. Their bodies are not naturally shaped like those of twelve-year old boys. Eating disorders are on the rise, and the relationship women have with food is becoming an increasingly dangerous one.
Three percent of Americans doesn’t seem like that many, but when you look at it with people who have eating disorders it’s shocking. Ever since the thoughts on being thin came around young women couldn’t get enough on the idea. Pulling the horrifying parts of eating disorders out and making them look trendy and glamorous. Something that could’ve been an inspiration to lose weight and be healthy plummeted and made thinness seem like the necessity. The lovely motivation to be healthy turned into a ton of young girls starving themselves and dying just to be skinny (Zoltan).
In fact a select few of obese African American women may feel more attractive about their bodies than women of other races may. The African American culture appears to be more accepting of obesity than other cultures in society. On the other hand, African American women experience great social pressure in respect to body size and receive painful accounts of ridicule (Averett & Sanders, 1996). Obese African American women have also been linked to the lower socioeconomic status in regards having the means to purchase nutritional foods for a proper diet. The stigma attached to obesity causes African American women to feel shame and guilt of self-blame (Crocker, Cornwell, & Major, 1993).
An eating disorder is defined as “an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating” by the National Institution of Mental Health. In the past few years, many celebrities have come out as suffering from an eating disorder, one of the more recent to be the pop star Kesha. One of the eating disorders that Kesha suffers from is anorexia nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is defined by the American Psychological Association as having “ a distorted body image that causes them to see themselves as overweight even when they're dangerously thin.” People who suffer from anorexia will usually avoid eating or eat very little and can even have social anxiety about eating in front of others. Genetics, a culture focused around an ideal body type, being criticized for your weight, perfectionism and self-hate can all become a risk for anorexia.
This is what society says is acceptable. It has been proven that these images of perfect women do affect the normal women who wish to look like that. Shaw and Stein found that, “Women exposed to pictures of thin models experienced more depression, stress, guilt, shame, insecurity, and body dissatisfaction than women exposed to photos of average sized women or control photos” (“Media’s” n. pag.). Now, thanks to the unrealistic expectations put on women to maintain the perfect shape, eating disorders are on the rise.
Hormone changes result from the low weight and low levels of body fat. In young women menstruation stops. Anorexia nervosa can be very severe illness, including a risk of death from starvation (Encarta Encyclopedia, Internet). Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which preoccupation with dieting and thinness leads to excessive weight loss. The individual may not acknowledge that weight loss or restricted eating is a problem (www.anorexia.com, Internet).