Media's influence on eating disorders.

Essay by alanvaleUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2007

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Modern trends within the media are unmistakably apparent with regards to standards of body image and sexuality. Whether one is flipping through a magazine while in line at a local grocery store or surfing television channels on any local network, the message is the same-"thin is in." Advertisements, whether by print or multimedia, are becoming more and more saturated with images of ultra-thin, tall and young individuals. As a result, through the heavy influence of the media, many within society have come to regard these images the standard for the "ideal body type." It is this fascination with this body ideal that leads many to speculate and debate whether a true relationship exists between the current increase of eating disorders and the ultra-thin body image portrayed in the media. Many believe that the media's constant depiction of this "ultra-thin" body type is the most influential force in the development of eating disorders, while those in the media and advertisement world argue to the contrary.

Regardless of the ongoing debate regarding the true relationship between the media and eating disorders, research has made one thing evident-the unrealistic body image presented by the media plays a key part in our society's obsession with thinness and excessive dieting. This fixation is perpetuated by the media's corrupt perception and portrayal of skin and bones as sexy and hot. I believe it is not mere coincidence that eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia are becoming increasingly common and almost trendy. When studying the relationship between the media and Eating Disorders, there are three factors that must be examined: The clear definition of Eating Disorders, in particular anorexia and bulimia; low self-esteem as the core contributing element to these disorders and the influence that the media has upon the development self-esteem.

The Definition and...