View Full Version : Music videos cause eating disorders (study)

M. Lopez
3rd June 2007, 01:54
As if it wasn't already patently obvious that modern society is causing eating disorders in young women, here's another study that confirms it.

British researchers have determined that watching modern music videos, which invariably show anorexically-thin female performers, ruins the body image of girls who view them.

The full article is here, complete with an account of the methodology:


and here is the majority of the text:

Ubiquitous pop videos may harm girls' self-image

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Thursday May 31, 2007
The Guardian

Music videos are driving a wave of dissatisfaction among adolescent girls by promoting ultra-thin role models as the epitome of beauty, psychologists warn today.

Watching pop videos featuring thin, scantily clad women for just 10 minutes was enough to drive down girls' satisfaction with their body shape, according to a study which appears in the journal Body Image.

Researchers fear the damage inflicted on the self-image of girls as they prepare to leave schools and sixth form colleges is widespread, given the near ubiquity of music videos on television and on big screens in clothes shops, cafes and bars.

Viewing figures for MTV have swelled to 342m worldwide, according the channel, and a survey in 1998 found that 12- to 19-year-olds were the most frequent viewers, watching on average for 6.4 hours a week.

But Helga Dittmar, a psychologist at Sussex University and leader of the latest study, said adolescents were likely to spend far more time watching music videos than the survey suggested. "Public places such as stores, bars and clubs increasingly display music videos on large TV screens, making them an inescapable, almost omnipresent form of media," she said.

...While the researchers found minor changes in mood and self-esteem among all the girls, the most dramatic changes were in the way girls viewed their bodies after watching the pop videos. On average, these girls were nearly 10% less satisfied with their bodies.

"There's a lot of evidence that body dissatisfaction is a strong predictor of eating disorders, so if something causes or heightens that feeling, it is a cause for concern," said Dr Dittmar.
If only the performers in these videos had naturally full figures, instead of being forced by the music industry to diminish themselves into an unnaturally emaciated shape, this crisis would not exist.

It's the same problem that blights the rest of the mass media - but all the more acute because music videos are so prevalent, as the researcher in the above article points out.

4th June 2007, 14:04
I totally understand that logic. When girls look at skinny girls all the time, they will feel insecure and feeling ugly. When they start to look at plus-size girls, the same girls might stop dieting! I've seen it happen the last months, and the power of beauty is enormous. If girls are shown beautiful curvy women, they will feel beautiful themselves. I will wear a bikini this summer and that is due to plus-size models like Kelsey and Kailee.

To educate people about anorexia and the warped ideal of today is a good thing, but showing really beautiful full-figured women has a far better impact on young girls.

Today I flaunt my curves, both the forbidden and the accepted. I would not like to be without them. Ever!

5th June 2007, 16:15
<br>It's wonderful to hear of a new paper from Dr. Helga Dittmar, who has been responsible for some of the finest research ever conducted in the field of female body image.

Regular readers of this forum will remember a thread from 2006 that covered the findings of her groundbreaking <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=711" target="_blank">first</a> inquiry, which determined that images of underweight models ruin the self-esteem of young women, while images of plus-size models improve it, and that <i><strong>beauty</strong>, rather than thinness,</i> is what is required for marketing products successfully.

They will also recall our discussion concerning Dr. Dittmar's <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=850" target="_blank">second</a> inquiry, which concluded that marketing professionals respond to images of full-figured models in a very different manner than do members of the general public.

This latest study is a fine compliment to those papers, and, based on the article's outline, is just as significant.<p><strong><center>* * *</center></strong><p>It is hardly surprising to find that images of androgynously-thin performers in music videos have a detrimental effect on body image. And the sad thing is that this is all so unnecessary. There is absolutely no reason, aesthetic or musical, why female singers or performers need to exhibit an emaciated shape to appear in music videos, especially considering the harmful effects that this has on society.

The association of beautiful song and beautiful singers with a well-fed figure has been a staple of Western cultural history for centuries. (Witness the phenomenon of the opulently-proportioned opera diva, a tradition that survived well into the 20th century.) And if the music videos that dominate our culture today featured plus-size goddesses instead of waifs, many young women would have a much greater appreciation of their own naturally curvy appearance.

For a shining example of what the music videos of more size-celebratory culture would be like, we are pleased to share two classical-music videos starring full-figured Irish chanteuse Chloe Agnew, from her solo DVD. We <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=821" target="_blank">discussed</a> this DVD late last year, and now, several excerpts from this disc have been made available on YouTube.

Here is "Vivaldi's 'Rain'," a lovely song that is set to the Largo movement of the "Winter" concerto, from Vivaldi's <i>Four Seasons</i>:<br><center><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZEf5JqUrSvk"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZEf5JqUrSvk" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></center><p>The wardrobe styling is gorgeous, with Chloe dressed in a fitted pink blouse that allows viewers to see that she is unmistakably curvaceous--and also, that she is far more gorgeous than any of the skeletons that parade around in today's "rock" videos.

One YouTube contributor posted the following comment as a response to Chloe's Vivaldi clip, and we agree with every word:<p><blockquote><i>This is the perfect anti-modern video. With her fair skin and curvy figure, beautiful Chloe is the ideal antidote to today's tanorexic celebs. She has genuine vocal talent, unlike today's studio-created lip-synchers. Chloe's wardrobe is feminine and pretty, rather than trashy. The setting is lush and natural, instead of an ugly urban environment. The music is classical and melodic, rather than contemporary rubbish. This exemplifies what a noble culture could look like...</i></blockquote></p>Dr. Dittmar's study proves that a music industry which produced videos such as this, instead of four-minute promotions of female starvation, would not only be more aesthetically agreeable, but would also contribute to the health of society, instead of impairing it.<p><center>* * *</center><p>Incidentally, Chloe's DVD has just been released in North America. Here is a second video from the collection, titled "Sigma," the first verses of which Chloe sings in Gaelic:<br><center><object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/wBzeR0uFHaY"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/wBzeR0uFHaY" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></center><p>Admirers of timeless beauty should be sure to pick up a copy of this gorgeous disc for themselves. The beauty of the singer, the music, and (as the above examples show) the landscapes, is in perfect harmony. It is an hour-long escape to a better world than our own.

- <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000PUB4FA/thejudgmenofpari">Click here for Chloe's "Walking in the Air" DVD</a>

13th June 2007, 18:00
<br>Here is an extra-special treat for Chloe Agnew fans. ABCWommels.nl, the Dutch video company that filmed Miss Agnew's solo DVD, has posted on its Web site a slideshow of the making of this video project.

The pictures are simply enchanting, reconfirming that Chloe is as beautiful as any plus-size model, and easily one of the most gorgeous women in the world.

This headshot in particular is one of the prettiest that we have ever seen of our Celtic goddess.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ca/dvdmaking01.jpg"></center><p>The slideshow presents several behind-the-scenes glimpses of the filming of "Vivaldi's 'Rain'," the most enchanting video on the DVD. A ray of sunlight straight from Heaven falls on Chloe in this picture, as she twirls her skirt in the midst of an idyllic Irish brook--looking every bit like an angel come to visit the Earth.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ca/dvdmaking02.jpg"></center><p>And in this image, which shows Miss Agnew sitting on a rock in the middle of an Irish waterway, with her golden tresses falling over her shoulders in a waterfall of gold, Chloe seems like a present-day Lorelei, capturing the heart of any man who chances to gaze upon her beauty.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ca/dvdmaking04.jpg"></center><p>You can view the slideshow at the link posted below. It offers a good indication of the stunning imagery that make Chloe's classical-music videos so magical. An ideal merging of breathtaking visuals and wondrous music, the DVD is a <i>Gesamtkunstwerk</i> of visual and auditory wonder; a suggestion of what our culture might look like, if modernism hadn't suppressed beauty for the last century, and an ideal expression of the popular art that a healthy culture could produce.

- <a href="http://www.acbwommels.nl/Eng-html/slideshow_chloe.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the slideshow</a>

14th June 2007, 21:59
To educate people about anorexia and the warped ideal of today is a good thing, but showing really beautiful full-figured women has a far better impact on young girls.

This point can't be emphasized enough. There are many organizations that warn and try to help women who are dealing with eating disorders. They stress the dangers of these disorders - which is commendable - but, in my opinion, they do not go far enough. Too many people who do see the danger of eating disorders still put down the truly curvaceous female form.

The androgynous ideal must be counter-acted and resisted by promoting curvaceous women in modeling, tv, film and fashion. It's not enough to stress the negative - there must be a positive goal as well. A shift in thinking about what women shouldn't look like to what women should look like is what needs to take place.