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Has Society The Right To Call Itself Ane In Relation With Reference To Its Role In Anorexia And Bulimia Nervosa

2371 words - 10 pages

In the United States alone as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are putting their life’s at risk because of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa (National eating disorder association, 2005). In addition many individuals struggle with body satisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, with 80% of American women dissatisfied with their appearance (National eating disorder association, 2005). This is a staggering percentage of a female population and demands us to delve into the increasingly conversed debate on the prevalence of anorexia and bulimia nervosa in modern society. The eating disorders of anorexia nervosa and bulimia are ...view middle of the document...

For the purpose of this essay i aim to critically analyse society’s role in assisting the formulation of anorexia and bulimia nervosa in individuals and whether or not mediums within western culture such as the mass media encourage or influence the development of these life threatening disorders.

Eating disorders are unique in that they represent the only type of psychopathology in which an environmental variable or cultural factor appears to be a major contributor in determining the prevalence of the condition (Mitchell & Eckert, 1987). Advertising, the mass media and consumer culture vastly portray body perfect standards that are both artificial and biologically inappropriate. Media images that illustrate emaciated, digitally enhanced and air brushed models are linked to body dissatisfaction among young girls and women and sometimes causes them to tale- spin into the world of eating disorders (National eating disorders association, 2005). From an early age children are taught by society that their looks matter. With an increased viewing population in the form of children, T.V advertisements convey subtle images that have seen a generation increasingly conjure a superficial sense of who they are with little or no appreciation for internal qualities. T.V programmes portray overweight people as lazy, the villain or the butt of the joke, the loser. Rarely do we see thin women and pumped up men as these negative characters, rather they tend to symbolise the successful and popular characters, imprinting in the minds of young people an ideal image of the type of life we can lead if we look this particular way. There has also been recent evidence of the harmful effects of unrealistically sized dolls such as Barbie and muscular action man figures which represent role models for children (National eating disorders association, 2005). The detrimental effect of exposure to ultra thin ideals start taking hold from a very young age, with girls aged 5 and a half to 7 and a half reporting a decreasing body esteem and a greater desire for a thinner body after exposure to images of thin dolls (Barbie) compared to girls who saw images of dolls with a healthy body size (Emme) or no dolls (National eating disorder association, 2005). As body image is highly significant for physical and mental health (Mitchell &Eckert, 1987), body dissatisfaction at this early age affects the general well being of the individual where the experience of negative thoughts and feelings about a person`s body is a controlling and consistent sign of a whole collection of unhealthy body-related behaviours. These include unhealthy eating regimes such as starving, binging and extreme exercise which lead to clinical eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia (Mc Laughlin, 2009). In turn idealised media images that increase the level of this body dissatisfaction have a serious impact on the well being of an individual. It is important to note that eating disorders arise from a variety...

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