The Media and Body Image

Teens in the United States are obsessed with their bodies. A recent study showed that 85% of teenagers in the U.S. are unhappy with their bodies, and about twelve million teens (both male and female) have a diagnosable eating disorder. Why are teens so unhappy with their body image? Because of a corrupt media, hell bent on making money.

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So what exactly is an eating disorder? Well, it’s actually much more complex than one would think. An eating disorder is any pre-occupation with weight, and as you can see, it’s a wide spread problem. The two most common and most harmful eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is when a person starves themselves to the point of vomiting. They do this on a day to day basis and never see the results of their purging, they always view themselves as overweight and continue to purge until they are dead. Bulimia nervosa is over-eating to the point of purging. A person eats and eats until they vomit everything they ate back out, with the same results as the anorexics. These binge/purge cycles are never ending and never yield a positive result. Unfortunately, most lead to death along with other side effects.

According to several research groups, the media is to blame for every single occurrence of anorexia and bulimia nervosa. These studies also show that the media and society portray an image that only allows people to have a happy and health life if they fit this cultural ideal of thinness. The fact is that the media is impossible to avoid, and though it is capable of creating a positive influence on the society it perpetuates, it has not nor has it any plans to.

One side effect and also the root of eating disorders is depression. An eating disorder starts with low self-esteem, a negative image of the self. When a person views themselves as inadequate due to their body they have low self-esteem. This low self-esteem is then exacerbated by the societal image that the only way to be happy is to fit the ideal body image.

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