For me, I've never felt the media had any sort of causal correlation to my eating disorder. Did the media encourage it? Maybe. But not in the juvenile, simplistic way that seems to be the fashionable "answer" to eating disorders. The media didn't effect my self esteem.
Ooh, I thoroughly concur.
I like you for pointing this out!
I remember reading an article that stated girls develop eating disorders because they "try to copy skinny models". Expressed as plainly and simplistically as that. YES, DEFINITELY. We're mindless victims, so allured by the images of underweight strangers that we see in the media that we have little choice but to follow them like sheep.
you are oh-so correct in describing the assumption that seeing thin media image --> eating disorder
as juvenile. Ah it annoys me a bit. (This is in no way a criticism of your dissertation, jo
, because it is such a rife assumption and it is good of you to examine it critically and perhaps challenge it.)
Indeed, I am but one example of an 'eating disordered individual' (or to express it so as to emphasise my power and autonomy first and foremost, an 'individual with an eating disorder')... but for what it is worth, I can tell you that I for one have had (almost) no
exposure to the media-portrayed image of the ideal female body.
I never watch television. I do not read fashion magazines. Books are better.
It could be argued that the aforementioned image of the ideal female body is nevertheless present in advertisements and other sources, thus infiltrating my mind on a subconscious level... but for the most part, I have lived my life uninfluenced by media images and do not believe I am so impressionable as to take note of them to such an extent that it would impact upon my own thought processes enough to propagate an eating disorder.
However, 'thin media images' (though rarely, if ever, the primary cause of one's eating disorder) may act as a contributing or perpetuating factor in some cases.
- This may be a more prominent trend in 'pro-ana' (pro-anorexia) communities, where it is common to collect images of thin persons as 'thinspiration'.
- Not speaking from personal experience and instead making assumptions about the broader population... I imagine there would be some girls who are very taken with magazines and films and popular culture. Naturally, those who read fashion magazines as a recreational activity would be more greatly influenced by the images they contain. It is human nature (and a common trait amongst those with eating disorders) to compare and contrast your own characteristics (physical in this case) with those of others. And if you don't measure up, well... that takes a toll on the self esteem, gradually erodes it away if the individual is already vulnerable.
I recall a study that women reported a declining sense of self-worth upon looking at fashion magazines for mere minutes.
- A minor percentage of the eating disordered population may be directly involved in the modelling industry/the film industry/the theatre, the birthplace of these 'media images' if you like... the pressure to conform would of course be greater, and that accounts for why there are increased levels of E.D.s amongst those who participate in modelling or other activities where the ideal appearance is encouraged.
Just quickly (because I'm aware this is getting long and rambling, sorry
If anything, what I find vastly more
triggering in the media is not the thin images, but the incessant black-and-white 'health' promotion information. Carbs-are-the-enemy-don't-eat-fat-sugar-is-poison-avoid-artifical-foods-eat-more-veggies-lose-weight-omg-the-childhood-obesity-epidemic-is-coming-to-get-is(!!!)-blah-blah-blah.
If you'll excuse the generalisation, those with anorexia are commonly conscientious, disciplined, all too eager to improve themselves. The 'health' promotion propaganda (though admittedly important in a population increasingly plagued by lifestyle related illnesses) can be dangerous in our hands.
It can guilt trip us.
(sorry about the tangent).