Anorexia and the Media




Anorexia and the Media
It is no wonder that many girls are anorexic: it is from the media. The media’s promotion of super-skinny models has lead many young girls to believe that they are nothing. This is not true, and yet the media promotes it. The image of being “thin and beautiful” pushes young women to diet, which, in their attempt to fit into the “mold” of the model, may lead to anorexia. Approximately one to three percent of women in the United States are anorexic (Cha 1). Clothing companies, such as Calvin Klein, are to blame for this growing epidemic.
Klein, whose models “[look] like runaway teenage junkies” (Goldberg 1), almost seems to promote anorexia. When Klein made an icon of Kate Moss, posters of her in Manhattan were “defaced with graffiti reading ‘feed me’” (Goldberg 2). A group called the Media Foundation made a parody of one of Klein’s commercials. In the commercial, “a naked woman heaves and groans. The camera pans around to reveal her vomiting into a toilet. A caption reads, ‘The beauty industry is a beast’” (Goldberg 2).
A few years ago, the beauty industry seemed to become less of a beast: the media started promoting larger attractive-looking models. But Klein did not consider this when he decided to promote “real people.” These not-so-flattering photos seem to mock big people, says Idrea Lippman, an owner of a plus-sized boutique in Los Angeles (Goldberg 1). These two photos, which feature a man and a woman, show the contrast of what larger people are wanting to see. The woman, who is wearing all black make-up and clothing, “slouches and grimaces” (Goldberg 1). The featured man, who is swinging his arms ridiculously around him, seems to be in the middle of a dance move. Lippman says that she’s never sure “if it’s intentional [the use of larger models] or for shock value” (Goldberg 2).
Even though larger models have worked their way into fashion shows and magazines, they have not made it into what really counts…the television shows that teens and young adult women watch nightly. These idealistic girls and their idealized carefree lives that women see on television can lower what might be their low self-esteem. They think, ‘if I looked like her, all my problems would be gone.’ The same is true for models. Many young girls believe that they will be considered perfect if they make it in the modeling business. One such twelve-year old seems to think that this is true:
My name is Candra Kay Johnson. I am 12 yrs. old. I have a friend that is beginning modeling. She has told me a lot and she said that I would be a great model!! I always look in the magazines and think it would be cool to start out by doing that.
(http://discserver.snap.com/discussion.cgi?id=65378&article=1088)
This is not necessarily true: thin women also have problems. They have pressure on themselves to remain thin. Once this pressure becomes too high for them to bear, the young girl becomes obsessed with her weight and begins to exercise vigorously in addition to her dieting. Many anorexic cases have come to exist because the young girl feels that she has no control over her life, except for her weight, which she tries to control through starvation.
The only way to cure this long-standing epidemic is to control the media. Impossible as it may seem, it can be done. After years of disrupting Weight Watchers meetings with “pro-fat guerrilla theater,” Lynn McAfee now directs the medical project of the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination in Philadelphia (Goldberg 2). Another way is to control the way the media portrays larger persons. In the Calvin Klein ad, the black-clad girl represents a devil-like figure; associating weight with sinfulness (Goldberg 3). This mocking of fat people needs to be transformed into beauty so that the steadfast media can see that larger persons are worthy of beauty as well. They just present themselves in a different manner than thin people do.
Although thin people seem to dominate society, the average size for a woman today is a size twelve. That puts the number of models on a smaller scale, and boosts the number of