The Effect Of Media Images Essay

This essay has a total of 859 words and 4 pages.

The Effect Of Media Images

It was fashionable to be fat throughout most of history. Obesity was attractive because it
was considered to be a sign of wealth. Those who could obtain enough food to keep
themselves and their family well fed were people with money. In the past century, however,
food has been abundant in most of the developed nations, and thinness has become
fashionable. Eating disorders have increased significantly over the past thirty years.

The two most common eating disorders include anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia
nervosa is a disease in which women become very self-conscious about their weight and have
an intense fear of becoming fat. They go to such extremes as starving themselves in order
to keep thin, and some use additional methods such as vomiting, taking excessive amounts
of laxatives, or exercising profusely. Bulimia nervosa on the other hand is an eating
disorder in which the patient eats large amounts of food in a short period of time, also
known as binge eating. Another symptom of bulimia is ridding oneself of food through
vomiting, using laxatives, or over-exercising, commonly known as purging. Women with
anorexia nervosa or bulimia often experience fatigue and decreased energy, headaches,
personality changes, and abdominal pain. If an eating disorder is left untreated, it can
lead to serious health damage, even death. These eating disorders are usually brought on
because a girl is unsatisfied with her own body image. Oftentimes she feels out of
control, and restricting her intake of food is one way to regain control. The patient has
a sense of power over food, and this makes her feel more secure about everything else
going on in her life. Many times, girls with low self-esteem are the victims of eating
disorders because they often seek approval from their peers. By being thinner, they
believe that they will become more desirable. Studies have shown that the majority of
women with eating disorders are adolescents.

What makes a young woman associate thinness with beauty? Many are now beginning to believe
that the media has much to do with how women view themselves. Young women see thin models
and actresses in magazines, advertisements, and television shows. The media have portrayed
the successful and beautiful protagonists as thin. They have promoted the image of
thinness through popular programming.. Thinness has thus become associated with self
control and success. The average American woman's body weight has increased over the past
thirty years, yet the models that represent American women have become increasingly
thinner. The media's portrayal of happy, successful women being extremely thin makes a
huge impact on women's perception of beauty. When girls begin to compare themselves to the
famous and thin women they see on television, or in magazines, they equate thinness with
beauty, and many strive to become beautiful.

An increase in the number of diet and health articles and advertisements had also risen
along with the number of eating disorders. Articles on weight loss can be found in almost
every issue of women's magazines, and new "miracle" diet books are constantly being
published. Many of these diets are unhealthy, and some are even dangerous. Weight loss
advertisements are found in almost every type of media, and women are constantly obssessed
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