How the media affects body image and the influence it has on eating disorders. While magazines covers, articles, and commercials promote healthy living and exercising, they also use images of thin models, who are obviously anorexic that allows children and young adults to subconsciously view skinny as beautiful and healthy. An HOBO documentary, Thin, by Lauren Greenfield and the article Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorders written by Tumbler famous flogger, who goes by the name, Legislate Out Loud both show and state how the media can have a detrimental effect on people with body image that leads to eating disorders.
In Thin, the plot focuses on the clients and staff at the Renew Center, a clinic for women battling eating disorders in Florida (Cutler & Greenfield 2006). The film follows four main characters, Brittany, Shelley, Alias, and Poly. All four women suffer from anorexia nervous and bulimia. Brittany, only fifteen, has spent over seven years battling overeating, anorexia, and bulimia. Shelley is a twenty five year old nurse who has battled anorexia since she was eighteen. Alias is a thirty-year-old patient she has been hospitalized several times for the severe side effects of bulimia in the past three months.
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Poly is twenty- nine years old, and has spent half of her life in and out of treatment, for her anorexia. The Renew Center supplies the patients with nutritionists, psychotherapists, medical staff, art therapists, and more to help them through their recovery. Majority of the women here eating disorder began when they decided that the images in the media was the “perfect’ body image and they wanted to fulfill their desire to have the body that they see in the Gaines and on TV.
Psychologist and art therapist Liz McKenna argues, “Media plays a huge influence in leading women to have negative body image and ultimately develop eating disorders”. (The Image Trap). In the article Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorder, Miss Loretta Burrows, a school nurse stated ‘”models are supposed to have the perfect body, but really they look unhealthy and sickly.
At a young age, girls are exposed to this and get the wrong impression about what is right’ In Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorder Legislate Out Loud, ells the readers how the age of which kids start to develop eating disorders are increasing, the media is not showing any signs of changing its approach in their advertisements. Legislate Out Loud states ” 46 percent of nine to 1 1 year olds diet and 42 percent of first to third graders want to be thinner. ” Ninety percent of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Center for Mental Health Services, offices Of the IIS Department of Health and Human Services. In Thin, 1 5-year-old Brittany has had an eating disorder since she was 8 years-old and in the past year dropped from 185-97 pounds. When she arrived at Renew Center she had a low heart rate hair loss and liver damage, besides Brittany slowly losing all of her health, she continues to not eat, because she believes “Eating will make her fat again and fat people are ugly (14:12- 14:20).
Britain’s belief that fat people are ugly comes from images and advertisements that have slogans like “Thin is in” and magazine covers that 90% of the time advertises losing weight. In Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorder Legislate Out Loud interviews a girl who is a junior in high school. She said, “The media makes teenage girls think they have to be stick thin. They don’t show ‘normal’ girls. The media is everywhere, too. These ideas are in the shows we watch, commercials, ads, and in the celebrities we look up to… Celebrities also play a huge part in the way children, especially girls see body image. Today, many celebrities themselves battle with eating disorder because of the pressure the industry puts on them and their appearance. Little girls look up to these celebrities and when they see their favorite celebrity losing weight and still being on the cover of magazines they see this as being successful and beautiful. Lily Allen Wrote a song and made a music video “It’s Hard Out Here” which was an actual mockery towards the objectification of women in the music video.
She shows how the media causes anorexia and other eating disorders in her lyrics, especially when she says You’re not a size six, and you’re not good looking Well, you better be rich, or be real good at cooking You should probably lose some weight Cause we can’t see your bones You should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own (1:51- 2:05) The line that says, “You should probably lose some weight cause we can’t see your bones” (1155-1158) tells girls that if they aren’t skinny enough where their bones are visible under their skin then they should lose weight.
This sends an unhealthy message to girls that they need to be borderline anorexic in order to be accepted in society. According to Legislate Out Loud, in the media “The average woman is 5’4″ and weighs about 140 pounds while the average model is 5’1 1” and weighs bout 11 7 pounds. Most fashion models are also thinner than 98 percent of American women. (Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorders). In Thin, all of the clients were under 1 1 7 pounds and all believed that they were too big.
This mindset, again is the result of media indirectly telling females that the size of the model, actress or celebrity that they see, should be the size they should be. The media glorifying slenderness and weight loss would have no effect unless the idea is being bought by the consumers, who are mainly females. The evidence that women are buying onto these ideas are “In one survey, the number one wish of girls aged 11-17 who were given three magic wishes for anything they wanted was “to lose weight and keep it off'(Kilojoules, 1994).
In another survey, middle-aged women were asked what they would most like to change about their lives, and more than half of them said “their weight” (Kilojoules, 1 994) (Eating Disorders and the Role of the Media). The audience the media is trying to reach to is teenagers and kids, this is because adults are harder to persuade. Trying to become like their idols, teenagers can develop many eating crosiers such as anorexia. They fail to realize how drastic it can be to look like these women. According to tenderheartedness’s. Mom, anorexia is about self-starvation, becoming so obsessed with losing weight and dieting thou ignore your body hunger signals. Anorexia is not the only disorder that focuses on loss of weight. Another common eating disorder is Bulimia Nervous. A person with bulimia eats a lot of food in a short amount of time (binging) and then tries to prevent weight gain by getting rid of the food (purging). Purging might be done by: Making yourself throw up or taking sedatives (pills or liquids that speed up the movement of food through your body and lead to a bowel movement) (Women’s Health. Gob) .
Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield stated that she wanted to make this movie because body image is something almost every woman questions. She states: think it’s something that’s crossed every woman’s mind about whether they have the right body, whether they need to be thinner. I think that one of the reasons I was interested in doing this film, is this extreme pathology, and yet it’s something that mainstream women, and mainstream men, think, can relate o because it’s related to something that’s so prevalent in our culture, which is the obsession to have the perfect body, which, in our culture, is defined as thin. (2008) Eating disorders theorist and feminist scholars have long indicted fashion magazines, movies, television, and advertising for their advocacy of disordered eating (Levine and Somoza, 1998). According to the school nurse who commented in the Legislate Out Loud article Media Influences Affect Teenagers Resulting In Eating Disorders, in her opinion, the media shows these images, however, they do not give the appropriate information about owe much you should really weigh, depending on your height and age.
Therefore, children are under the impression that there is no limit to the amount of weight they lose, as long as they lose weight.