View Full Version : Media causes eating disorders (article)
23rd February 2010, 13:47
One of the most offensive excuses made on behalf of the thin-supremacist media and fashion industry remains the lie that they do not cause eating disorders. This, despite a vast literature in peer-reviewed medical journals that proves that they do.
But it seems as if the medical community has finally grown exasperated with this fiction. Last year, Dr. Hega Dittmar and 40 other body-image researchers sent a report (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1662) to the British government indicating that the media DO cause eating disorders, and now the Royal College of Psychiatrists is following suit.
The pertinent points:
Media is fuelling eating disorders, say psychiatrists
Always seeing thin models can undermine self esteem
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling on the media to stop promoting unhealthy body images and "glamorising" eating disorders.
It says the media contributes to eating disorders, particularly among young people.
It...calls for a new ethical editorial code...
The Royal College of Psychiatrists criticises the media for using underweight models and airbrushing pictures to make models appear physically "perfect."
It calls for an end to the use of underweight models.
Dr Adrienne Key from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Eating Disorders Section said: "There is a growing body of research that shows the media plays a part in the development of eating disorder symptoms - particularly in adolescents and young people.
They also argue that articles which criticise the bodies of celebrities can make readers more dissatisfied with their own bodies.
Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson...said it was now "crystal clear that media does play a critical role in the development and maintenance of negative body image and eating disorders."
This now makes it very hard for fashion-industry apologists to try to slough off criticism with the claim that the underweight aesthetic doesn't cause eating disorders. It does. And hopefully, this new "editorial code" is the first step toward firm legislation that will end the promotion of anorexia, once and for all.
The only shortcoming is that even the wording of this article still accepts the myth that malnourished models appear "perfect." Nothing could be further from the truth. This still remains the most significant challenge -- to break the public free from the brainwashing that models with protruding bones are somehow "perfect," when in fact they appear grotesquely emaciated.
Winning in the political sphere is important, but winning in the aesthetic sphere is the most crucial fight, because that's where the hearts and minds of the populace reside. When the public realizes that plus-size models represent true perfection, then and only then will the pernicious effect of the androgynous modern standard finally be negated.
23rd April 2010, 06:55
The only surprising thing about the study that Meredith noted is that it could be a surprise to anyone. Not only is it blatantly obvious that the media fuels eating disorders, but in fact causing body dissatisfaction is a deliberate and conscious part of their mission.
I just came across this video of an Australian comic doing a devastating riff on womens magazines. His point? Dont buy them, because they are evil.
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He uses a few swear words, and there is one really unnecessary swipe at the Church, but other than that I think his points are true and devastating. They are funny but infuriating at the same time, because he is so right, and having one or two token plussize model editorials in a couple of magazines doesnt change the fact that the industry still promotes eating disorders - consciously and willingly.
26th May 2010, 17:55
I thought back to this topic today when I came across this brilliant photograph:
That says it all, doesn't it? The only "weight problem" that any women actually have is reading magazines that brainwash them into resenting their natural fullness. The way to dispel the "weight problem" is to trash the propaganda that's instilling these negative thoughts.
31st May 2010, 14:14
I truly think that women become slaves to these kind of magazines, even from a young age, and start to take their dieting and eating advice as gospel.
I have two sisters, one is 14 and the other 15, and they both worry about their weight, starve themselves, and think that they are f** (and they aren't even so much plus size). It is disturbing when girls at this age already worry about such things, all because of the media machine that brainwashes them into thinking that the thinner they are, the better. They see magazines with popular celebrities and right away think that they must conform to that ideal in order to be happy and feel good about themselves.
The biggest deception arises from the fact that these magazines appear happy and harmless. After all, they are all trying to help you get "the body of your dreams", no? People do not perceive the danger coming from them, nor can they recognize them as a bad thing.
It because of magazines like these that most of today's women cannot even stand the look of themselves without makeup. They have been led to hate their natural look.
1st June 2010, 03:11
So true! Even in South Africa, where women of colour have always had a very entrenched idea of the superior beauty of their "traditional build," the influence of the faddy standard of emaciation is encroaching: the amount of eating disorders under young girls of Zulu ancestry are on the rise and the only factor that can be held responsible is the media's trumpeting of "thin is in"! Furthermore, it's shocking to see how quickly the breakdown of these long-held ideals takes place.
1st June 2010, 03:28
Salaam and hello! My name is Karen, and I am a new member of this incredible forum. I have been reading through the forum posts and looking through the artwork and model galleries for some time now, and I am so appreciative of the hard work that the forum members have done to bring true beauty to light and to help women accept their own beauty.
This post is especially interesting. It is sad that it takes "studies" to wake people up. Some have denied the negative impact that these magazines have on people, and it is high time we stop blinding ourselves. What exactly is attractive about these images? Were men not proud at one time to have a round wife to show off, showing others that he was able to feed and care for his woman? Were women not happy to have a strong, muscular husband?
When we see images of Holocaust victims or starved children in Palestine, Ethiopia, etc., do we think "Oh, how couture!" or do we think "Those poor, suffering people"? I have never envied the emaciated victims featured in certain documentaries, nor have I wished to have a child who mirrors the children in ads for charity. What sane person would want to suffer and allow their children to suffer?
It is utterly disturbing that similar images are actually accepted as beautiful and desired. A starved model, with some makeup, a horrifying hair style, and a tacky outfit can make women fall into bouts of low self-esteem, even depression. Some women have died trying to achieve this unhealthy and, quite frankly, ugly, standard, and many others have come close to death. I wonder if the thin-supremacists ever feel guilty about the pain they have inflicted upon the masses of women who have had this unattainable standard shoved before their eyes on a daily basis.
I pray that the increase in positive plus-size media will help more women see that healthy, happy people have meat on their bones and have no need to starve themselves and endanger their lives to achieve an unattainable, unattractive standard.
28th December 2010, 00:47
Even in South Africa, where women of colour have always had a very entrenched idea of the superior beauty of their "traditional build," the influence of the faddy standard of emaciation is encroaching: the amount of eating disorders under young girls of Zulu ancestry are on the rise and the only factor that can be held responsible is the media's trumpeting of "thin is in"! Furthermore, it's shocking to see how quickly the breakdown of these long-held ideals takes place.
Thank you for informing us of this deeply regrettable situation, Suzanne. It ties in directly with an observation that we made in a recent <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2022" target="_blank">post</a> about how the rootless modern media is locked in combat with the beauty ideals of so many of the world's most venerable cultures, as part of an effort to overwrite the values of those cultures and replace them with politically approved postmodern mores. (An assault on timeless aesthetic values invariably presages an assault on timeless values in general.)
Your comment that "women of colour have always had a very entrenched idea of the superior beauty of their <strong>traditional</strong> build," is extremely significant, especially your use of the word "traditional," because it is tradition itself that the modern media attacks most virulently, just as a cancer aggressively targets the healthiest cells of an organism.
South Africa is at least fortunate in that the "superior beauty" of the fuller female figure <i>is</I> so deeply "entrenched," and that the modern media is easily recognized as a foreign intrusion. In the West, the cultures of the Old World have an equally time-honoured legacy of preferring well-fed womanhood (as the <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/pinacotheca/galleries.htm" target="_blank">history</a> of Western art prior to the 20th century demonstrates). However, the modern media was spawned in our midst. It is a parasite that first proliferated among us before spreading elsewhere, which makes it hard for European cultures to identify it and reject it as something alien and destructive.
Perhaps the greatest weapon that a nation like South Africa has in resisting the internationalist media's influence is a reassertion of its indigenous "long-held ideals," a reaffirmation of the "superior beauty" of the "traditional build" as one component of an overall effort to revive traditional cultural ideals in general.
For us in the West, doing so is rather more difficult, but just as urgently necessary. When South Africans see a beautiful full-figured woman, they identify her as an expression of their culture and heritage. When we in the West see the beauty of a plus-size model, we too should be able to recognize this as something that is ours, an embodiment of our own ideals, something that is much more familiar and innate to us than a <i>Vogue</I> androgyne ever could be.
A gorgeous plus-size model like Shannon Marie (or Kelsey Olson, or Lillian Russell) personifies the kind of beauty that the Irish, or Prussians, or Saxons, or Classical Greeks can intuitively recognize as their own. From the soft fullness of her figure to her fair complexion, she possesses the look that is natural for Nordic or Celtic or Slavonic women to possess, albeit in its most dazzling form.
A woman of European ancestry can look upon such a model and admire her beauty without feeling the need to starve herself, or to disfigure her natural facial shape or body type with surgical barbarity, to match her appearance. Rather the opposite--the model's traditional beauty will make the female viewer feel empowered in her own look. Her appearance would show the viewer that it is natural for an Irish girl to have rounded limbs; natural for a German girl to have a robust, curvy waist; natural for a Polish girl to have full, rounded facial features; etc. True, the viewer will envy the model's flawless complexion, gorgeous hair, angelic face, and so forth, but she can also recognize aspects of herself in the model, just as a South African girl can look upon a "traditionally built" model of her home nation and find her own physicality validated.
The modern media pushes an unnatural aesthetic that is hostile to all traditional notions of beauty and inimical to femininity. It makes women feel alienated from their own culture, because their appearance doesn't tally with what they see in magazines or movies. But it is media culture itself that is the alien element. Plus-size women are organically linked to their ethnic heritage, which has predisposed them toward full-figured beauty--which, as Suzanne so boldly suggests, is indisputably <i>"superior"</I> to the media's standard.
It is time for women in the West (just as in South Africa) to reject the media's aesthetic values as a foreign expression that has nothing to do with their own physiques, nothing to do with their Old World heritage or their historic beauty traditions, of which their well-fed bodies are such glorious expressions. Women should see in true plus-size models an alternative vision of beauty that is relatable, that is comfortable, that is familiar, that is their own. This is the beauty they should aspire to, and be inspired by.
Shannon Marie personifying what Suzanne so eloquently calls "the superior beauty of the traditional build," in a celebrated Fashion Bug ad for <i>Mode</i> magazine:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/shannon/sh44b.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/sh/modelling.htm" target="_blank">A reminiscence of Shannon Marie</a>
29th December 2010, 09:14
A gorgeous plus-size model like Shannon Marie (or Kelsey Olson, or Lillian Russell) personifies the kind of beauty that the Irish, or Prussians, or Saxons, or Classical Greeks can intuitively recognize as their own. It is natural for an Irish girl to have rounded limbs; natural for a German girl to have a robust, curvy waist; natural for a Polish girl to have full, rounded facial features; etc.
It is time for women in the West (just as in South Africa) to reject the media's aesthetic values as a foreign expression that has nothing to do with their own physiques, nothing to do with their Old World heritage or their historic beauty traditions, of which their well-fed bodies are such glorious expressions.
The hostile and foreign aesthetic values that the media and fashion push upon women are truly a global and multicultural problem. Women of Hispanic heritage are also naturally and traditionally full-figured. Women in the Hispanic culture love food, love cooking, and revel in our sumptuous bodies. But unfortunately, most of the Latin American/Hispanic celebrities of the day have conformed to the thinner-is-better mentality.
This is why I am so thrilled with plus-size goddess Rosie Mercado. She is truly more representative of what real Latina beauty is. I am grateful to this site, because it boldly champions the full-figured ideal.
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